Lilac: attractively perfumed
From pure white to deep purple
The lilac is a shrub with sweetly perfumed flower sprays, with varying strengths of perfume depending on the variety. The colour palette of the lilac ranges from pure white to soft pink and lilac. There are also two-coloured lilacs. The elegant flowers are a beautiful reminder of spring, in bouquets combined with tulips or other perfumed flowers (Genista, Matthiola and Viburnum).
The lilac (Syringa vulgaris) originally comes from Southern Europe and is part of the olive family (Oleaceae). It isn’t clear where the Latin name Syringa comes from, but no problem; there are plenty of other stories to tell about the lilac…for example about the special growing methods.
Special growing method
Growing lilacs has been traditionally concentrated around Aalsmeer. The fertile soil is perfect for growing lilacs and the growers have developed a special method to grow them. In the autumn they take the shrubs out of the field where they have been near the water. They are then taken by boat to the greenhouse. The temperature in the greenhouse is then turned up high, bringing the buds to flower. After the harvest the plants go back to the fields and the next year they are only pruned. A year later they take the same trip!
Lilac care tips
Lilacs are available from November to May. Buy your lilacs with fully grown flower sprays, the buds must already show their colour. Cut a minimum of two centimetres from the end of the stem to encourage the intake of water and add cut flower food (especially for shrubs) to the vase. The vase, ideally a glass one, must be really clean. Keep an eye on the water level as lilacs use a lot of water.