Special Lilacs

Lilacs are among the most popular shrubs in North Dakota.  Nothing in the landscape can match their blooms for fragrance. 

These shrubs thrive in our state. 

By Tom Kalb

NDSU Extension


Lilacs are hardy and will grow in almost any well-drained soil.  When you plant a lilac, it will be enjoyed for generations. 

At the NDSU Spring Fever Garden Forums in 2017, three cultivars of lilac were highlighted for their special qualities: 

‘Pabin’ Korean lilac is a standout performer.  It blooms as a young plant and will bloom profusely every spring.  The blooms themselves are light purple and extremely fragrant.  ‘Palibin’ resists mildew disease and is one of the easiest to grow lilacs.  The shrub is compact, growing about 5 feet high and 6 feet wide.  It is also available as a grafted, small tree. 

Lilacs bloom for a fee weeks.  Wouldn’t it be great if there was a lilac that bloomed for months?  Get to know the Bloomerang lilacs.  They bloom in spring and then again from midsummer through fall.  The original Bloomerang grow 5 feet tall and has light purple blooms.  Pink Perfume Bloomerang grow a foot shorter and resists mildew.

‘Prairie Petite’ is perfect for a small yard.  The slow growing plant only reaches 4 feet tall.  It bears spikes of rosy pink flowers—great for cutting. 

Plant your lilac in a well-drained, sunny spot that gets good air movement.  Place it where you can enjoy its fragrance.  Lilacs can be used as a hedge, in mass plantings or as a specimen plant.  They can serve as background plants in perennial and cutting gardens. 

Dates to Remember

April 5-6   Dakota Garden Expo, Bismarck Convention Center

Submitted by: Duaine Marxen

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