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Unread 05-14-2009, 10:48 AM
 
Location: 78747
3,203 posts, read 2,292,049 times
Reputation: 915
hell yeah they bloom. We have them out back, they take direct sunlight even! No wilting, they are either native or adaptive, so the climate and precip won't be a problem. You cut them back each year, and by May they will be almost 3 feet tall.

Description: They look like Bluebonnets, but light purple colored and on steroids.
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Unread 05-14-2009, 08:17 PM
 
274 posts, read 376,721 times
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a week straight of 100+ degrees will kill a lot of things. Gardening here is extremely difficult due to the heat and bad soil in some areas, you almost have to research. A quick seach says that most Lilacs will only live up to zone 7, though I've seen some that say zone 8. I'd go with the previous suggestion of the Texas Mountain Laurel. Its got the purple bloom and smells like grape. Not real grapes, more like grape bubblegum, and I mean that in a good way. Its got to be most amazing smelling plant I've every come across. Its also native, so it doesn't require watering after its established.
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Unread 05-14-2009, 08:49 PM
Status: "Welcome Spring ~" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: Jollyville
2,553 posts, read 4,850,742 times
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I grew up in Virginia and we had a lilac bush in our yard. I didn't think they grew in Central Texas because of the alkalinity of our soil. We do have Wisteria and Texas Mountain Laurel which are similar. Now I'm really curious if you can actually grow lilacs here. I absoutely loved the smell of that lilac bush! But, I have to admit - some things just aren't meant to grow here and I'm inclined not to try. Like paul68355 said - the heat is the killer and I'd rather go with a native plant that can adapt. We planted some Mountain Laurels last year.
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Unread 05-14-2009, 10:38 PM
 
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I love lilacs too, but I would also suggest that you stick with the Texas Mountain Laurel. It looks very similar and is sooooo gorgeous when it is in bloom. The only drawback I have seen with them is that they are very slow growers and therefore very expensive to by decent sized ones.
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Unread 05-14-2009, 11:32 PM
 
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The lilacs that many northerners are attached to is not what grows in Texas, as noted by others. The northern kind need freezing in the winter, and cool, moist springs. They can be grown in some slightly warmer climates if they are shaded by other trees. And they like acid soil. I know its hard to do without them. I grew up with billows of lilacs at my grandmother's house in Wisconsin. But there is more success in growing natives or near-native (adaptives), and true lilacs are not one of these, I fear.
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Unread 05-15-2009, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
13,759 posts, read 16,701,073 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by centralaustinite View Post
I am thinking that what we are calling lilacs are not what you are calling lilacs!!

Texas mountain laurel trees have heavy lilac-like blooms and perfume. I just saw a piece in the NYT about lilacs and it said that they like the cold! I have never seen trees like the ones pictured in Austin.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/14/ga...r=1&ref=garden

I could be wrong but I would bet money that we have a much different varietal here than what you are used to up north.
Tx mountain laurel's have oval leaves with hanging clusters of flowers that smell like grape bubblegum. http://www.plantanswers.com/Poisonou...el%20Bloom.jpg

Many Lilac's are similar in color but have pointed leaves and grow in upright spiky clusters and have a distinctive lilac scent. File:Aa lilac 00.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Unread 05-16-2009, 07:57 AM
 
8,241 posts, read 9,426,616 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul6835 View Post
a week straight of 100+ degrees will kill a lot of things. Gardening here is extremely difficult due to the heat and bad soil in some areas, you almost have to research.
It doesn't have to be difficult. If you research your zone, visit nurseries that stock local plants (Natural Gardener, Shoal Creek, Barton Hills) then you'll be fine. Here's an 8b lilac for you, courtesy of Lowes. Miss Kim Lilac
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Unread 05-16-2009, 09:24 PM
 
24 posts, read 49,720 times
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Default Lilacs

lilacs need a hard freeze and I believe they like acidic soil...hence they grow well up north and not well here if at all. Mountain laurels are the best substitute.

Last edited by greenfrog; 05-16-2009 at 09:26 PM.. Reason: wrong wording
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Unread 05-16-2009, 11:02 PM
 
Location: Greater Seattle, WA Metro Area
1,938 posts, read 3,389,862 times
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I gardened extensively in SW Austin and did a lot of garden tours. I never saw a lilac bush my whole 12 years in TX. Growing up in Iowa the entire back of our yard was lined in lilac bushes that were 10 feet tall. I now have them in WA as well as hydrangea and they grow great here so I would be shocked if someone could grow them in Austin without a whole lot of help and water. TX Mtn Laurels are stupendous though and the fragrance amazing and you can grow them though they are slow growing. I think the best attitude you can have is to embrace what is native to the area. If you are coming from somewhere completely different you will have fun discovering a new look. I did find it hard to get an English cutting garden look in TX though it probably has been done by someone.
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Unread 05-16-2009, 11:27 PM
 
274 posts, read 376,721 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mimimomx3 View Post
It doesn't have to be difficult. If you research your zone, visit nurseries that stock local plants (Natural Gardener, Shoal Creek, Barton Hills) then you'll be fine. Here's an 8b lilac for you, courtesy of Lowes. Miss Kim Lilac
this is really my point, it takes some research. agreed, definitely go local with the plants: Austin may someday see a water shortage (or worse than we already are), local plants or drought tolerants ones don't need watered once established.

as far as difficult... I garden with a pick-axe. I've bent *both* the flat and pointy sides of it in only 1 year. Its difficult here, especially SW...
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