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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Boomerang Lilac for the Desert. Yay or Nay?

Q. We love lilacs. My wife saw a new breed of lilac called ‘Boomerang’, a dark purple Syringa. What can you tell us about it? Can we plant it and can it survive? 

A. These 2 links to my blog might help.

            I do not know this lilac and I have never grown it in the Mojave Desert. All I can do is look at its description, the type of lilac it is and make some educated guesses. You can read about this lilac on the Monrovia Nursery website

            It has been touted as a dwarf, “re-Bloomer” which means it continually produces flowers all through the growing season and stays small which fits nicely into smaller residential landscapes.
            Reblooming lilacs are not new. But most of us think of lilacs that bloom only once for a couple of weeks and then it’s just a green bush the rest of the year until winter. Calling it “reblooming” is good for marketing.

Talk about Town

 Internet discussion groups say that the word re-Bloomer applied to this lilac is not very accurate. It does stay small, but people who have grown it say it’s more of a season-long “trickle of blooms” rather than reblooming over and over.
            I would not recommend planting this lilac in our hot, desert environment. First, it is not a Persian lilac, the type of lilac best suited for our hot desert climate. The breeding of “Boomerang” occurred in Canada and was intended for cold climates.
            If you decide to go ahead with this plant as your own personal experiment, locate it on the east or northeast side of the home in a place that protects it from afternoon and late afternoon sun. Let me know how it does.
            Amend the soil with compost at the time of planting and apply a surface mulch of woodchips to the soil that will continue to improve it, keep soil temperatures cooler and prevent the soil from drying too quickly.


  1. I bought a Lavender Lady lilac sometime in February. I'm originally from South Jersey and it seems as though everyone had lilac growing in the yard. They bloomed most of the year and the scent was amazing. It's one of the SJ plants/bush/trees that I really miss. You could add forsythia, dogwood and magnolia trees, crocuses just to name a few.

    So when I went to Star Nursery I was happy to find this particular lilac. I was told that it's the closest I'll be able to find to my Jersey lilacs. It was blooming when I got it but of course that stopped upon planting. It's survived the summer and if it lives through winter then I'll have hope it "took." I was advised to cover it up for those very cold winter nights.

    So Bob, can I have hope for a lilac bush just loaded with those beautiful fragrant flowers or scratch it off to yet another bush that doesn't do well in our desert?

    1. Lavender Lady and Angel White are two of the so-called Descanso low-chill hybrids that do not need the winter chilling requirement that many lilacs need. It will work in southern climates. Don't use it in a "rock" landscape. Put it where it can get some additions of organics and wood chip mulch.