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Why Are Reblooming Lilacs Creating Controversy?

Learn how this new lilac can add color and fragrance to your garden for months rather than weeks.

Contributors: Ryan McGrath

It seems like a great idea. But why is there is much controversy about reblooming lilacs?

It started with a high-profile article in Slate Magazine titled “Gilding the Lilac: A new hybrid could kill the nostalgia for these fleeting blooms of spring.” In the article, Slate sounded the alarm about a new lilac with “a promise to bloom from spring on through to the fall, right up until the first frost.”

The controversy then spread to Maclean’s Magazine, a popular Canadian weekly news magazine. In a feature story titled “Ever-blooming Lilac Wars” Maclean’s warned their readers about a “dynamo dwarf shrub upends lilac logic by flowering in early spring, again in summer, then reblooming as the leaves turn―a hybridizing innovation that can be viewed as wondrous or as horrifying.”

The shrub causing all this controversy? Bloomerang Purple, a new reblooming lilac variety from Proven Winners® ColorChoice®.

In contrast to these old-fashioned lilacs, Bloomerang Purple produces a bumper crop of fragrant lavender flowers in spring, and then continues to bloom again from mid- summer until frost. Many gardeners have reported seeing flowers as late as Halloween. Every stem can produce flowers in summer, creating a burst of purple in your garden.

Every new innovation creates controversy, and it appears the gardening world is no different. The critics seem to prefer to enjoy their lilacs just a few weeks a year. They have every right to their opinions. Meanwhile, thousands of home gardeners have fallen in love with enjoying their lilacs all summer with Bloomerang Purple. And isn’t that the beauty having your own home garden? Since it is your garden, you can put in whatever plants you want – innovative and new, or traditional and old-fashioned. As long as gardeners have this amazing freedom of choice and expression, you will continue to see debates and discussions about which plants are best.

You can find Bloomerang Purple for sale in better garden centers in the white Proven Winners container. And to learn more about Bloomerang, visit

Patent Info: Bloomerang® Purple Syringa x 'Penda' PP: 20575 Can. PBRAF

240 Readers Rated This: 12345 (3.2)
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Wed, 09/06/2017 - 2:19pm

When should Bloomerang be pruned / deadheaded after it finishes blooming in the fall in Minnesota? Right away? In the spring? Or wait till after spring bloom?

Stacey Hirvela's picture
Stacey Hirvela Wed, 09/13/2017 - 12:08pm

Bloomerang lilac does not strictly need pruning/deadheading, but if you wish to do so, the only time you should is immediately after it finishes blooming in spring.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Thu, 07/13/2017 - 6:47pm

Purchased two of these bloomerangs in April of this year. Looked beautiful in the containers. Planted in the front of house with high sun all day. The flowers fell off in a few weeks. We are now going into mid-July, no flowers yet. Very dissapointed so far.

Sarah Geoghegan's picture
Sarah Geoghegan Mon, 07/17/2017 - 11:36am

Hi there!
It sound like your Lilac just needs time to acclimate itself to its new environment. Once the roots get established, you should see those blooms again!
Happy Gardening!
Proven Winners

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Wed, 05/17/2017 - 10:28am

I planted this in a big container and its 2nd year and its blooming beautifully..I like that I can move it around my yard .
I live in zone 4

Sarah Geoghegan's picture
Sarah Geoghegan Mon, 08/07/2017 - 8:08am

If you are looking to overwinter in containers, i would suggest taking a look at this article: It should help you answer all your overwintering questions!

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Sat, 08/05/2017 - 11:33am

I live in South Central Ontario zone 6a and have a very small yard so would like to plant this in a container. Question - how do i winter it? I have a sheltered, but not heated sunporch. Should i winter it there or can it stay outside in the pot?

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Sun, 05/07/2017 - 4:56pm

Will these lilac plants spread by sending out suckers? I planted a common lilac near my foindation and had quite an overgrown mess on my hands by the time we decided to pull it out and replace it.

Stacey Hirvela's picture
Stacey Hirvela Thu, 05/25/2017 - 7:51am

Bloomerang lilacs do not sucker extensively so will not take over. If you find that the plant is getting too large, you can manage it by pruning.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Wed, 11/02/2016 - 3:03pm

I live in Chicago and am a new gardener. I planted my bush in late spring. It didn't blossom very well, but it's the first year. Anyway, do I do any cutting back or pruning in fall?

Stacey Hirvela's picture
Stacey Hirvela Thu, 11/03/2016 - 7:32am

Never prune any type of lilac in fall - doing so will remove all of the flower buds for the following spring. Lilacs do not need regular pruning, but if you wish to prune them, you can do so after they finish blooming in spring. 

For the best performance with lilacs, make sure they are planted in full sun - 8+ hours a day is ideal - and they the soil they grow in is well-drained, never wet or soggy for prolonged periods.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Wed, 06/01/2016 - 3:36pm

I want to plan a few of these and setup a irrigation system for them. How much water does each plant need for newly planted trees and how often? Regards.

Stacey Hirvela's picture
Stacey Hirvela Mon, 06/06/2016 - 2:51pm

During its first season or two, a newly planted shrub should not be allowed to dry out or experience any type of water stress. How much you water, however, depends on the weather and how quickly your soil drains. The average recommendation is 1" per week, which can be difficult to judge - as long as you are watering regularly and keeping a close eye on it, it should be fine. Do bear in mind that lilacs cannot withstand wet soil whatsoever, so monitor your soil drainage carefully.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Wed, 05/25/2016 - 3:49pm

I have the ever blooming lilac in my flowerbed near my back porch & am considering another one for my flowerbeds outside my bedroom window. It is approximately 2-3 years old & has tripled in size with fragrant blooms covering it. I trim back the spent blooms in the spring. It receives morning sun only and thought I would have to move it. This spring has been very wet here in southeastern PA, but my bush is the best it has ever looked.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Tue, 05/03/2016 - 2:49pm

My old lilacs are deer resistant. What about the new Bloomerang Lilac? Thanks

Stacey Hirvela's picture
Stacey Hirvela Wed, 05/11/2016 - 7:37am

Yes, they are deer resistant as well.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Wed, 04/13/2016 - 6:21am

I live in Prescott Arizona. Will these do well here? And special care needed?

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Mon, 05/23/2016 - 12:55am

Lilacs do great in the mountains of New Mexico. So in the high near-desert, they do fine.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Sun, 05/01/2016 - 10:48am

I lived in the desert of California and when you plant a lilac you need to plant a container next to the the lilac that you fill with ice for a few weeks in Dec/Jan and it will bloom..worked for me!

Stacey Hirvela's picture
Stacey Hirvela Thu, 04/21/2016 - 6:44am

Many people don't realize that lilacs actually require a period of below-freezing temperatures in order to properly set their flower buds. Though Bloomerang lilac requires less cold than old-fashioned lilacs do, if your are does not get below freezing for at least several days/nights each winter (I'd guess a minimum of 30 days/nights at or below 32° F), the plant will not bloom very well. Overall, I would not recommend them for desert areas, though.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Sat, 04/09/2016 - 12:51pm

I have lilac bushes in my yard. They grow well in the sandy soil. Who would not want more blooms? I have heard that lilacs can age well into 100 years or more. Is that true? And will this new variety of ever blooming have a much shorter life?

Stacey Hirvela's picture
Stacey Hirvela Thu, 04/21/2016 - 6:40am

Hi Debbie - yes, there are many 100 year old lilacs around on old farms, arboreta, historic homes and the like. There is no reason that Bloomerang lilac couldn't experience a similar longevity, but only time will tell - our oldest plants are only about 17 years old, but they are still going strong.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Fri, 10/16/2015 - 2:45pm

...and transferred it to a larger outdoor pot right away. I'm on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, just outside of Victoria and it has surpassed my expectations! It took a lot of watering to keep it hydrated, but I've had blooms on it since I bought it 5months or so ago. I'm not sure if I should fertilize in the fall, and when to trim it. Any suggestions? Do I clip off the dead flowers? That will clip the tip of that branch.
So far, I highly recommend this plant, we've loved having it on our patio! Not as fragrant as the spring lilacs, but there still is a scent there you recognize.

Stacey Hirvela's picture
Stacey Hirvela Mon, 10/19/2015 - 2:37pm

Glad you like it! Yes, the scent is different than the common lilac most people think of, but it's still a really nice fragrance. I would not recommend pruning or fertilizing your plant now. The only time you should do any kind of pruning or trimming on the plant is immediately after it flowers in spring. As for fertilizer, I would recommend applying a granular rose fertilizer in early spring, as soon as the ground has thawed, and then, if you wish, again in early to mid June.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Wed, 05/27/2015 - 9:32pm

The idea of a Lilac that continues to bloom all summer is intriguing to me as I produce a Lilac Pancake Syrup, limited by only the amount of blooms and time it takes to process each batch. Would love to make it though out the summer.

Stacey Hirvela's picture
Stacey Hirvela Tue, 06/02/2015 - 7:55am

Interesting! I have never heard of lilac pancake syrup, but it sounds fabulous!

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Mon, 05/18/2015 - 8:33pm

If they work should be great for BEES and other creatures that seek flower nectar!

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Mon, 05/18/2015 - 6:56pm

Is it only a dwarf version that reblooms?

Stacey Hirvela's picture
Stacey Hirvela Tue, 06/02/2015 - 7:56am

Bloomerang lilacs are a different species than the bigger common lilacs, and they tend to be smaller. New Bloomerang Dark Purple lilac will reach about 6' tall and wide.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Sun, 05/10/2015 - 6:57am

This is an amazing Lilac....Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Be sure to follow sunlight and soil recommendations....


Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Sat, 09/21/2013 - 3:41pm

I have had 2 of these for 2 years. They look very spindly and have only bloomed in the spring. I need some help on how to raise these. What type of fertilizer and when to prune? Can I cut them back now and hope for a good seaon next year or ? Our local nursery said that they quit handling these because of poor performance. Any help would be appreciated. We are in mid Missouri and these are planted in full sun and watered.

Woodwitch's picture
Woodwitch Mon, 01/16/2012 - 11:56am

I am not in any way in favor of the Genetically Modified Seeds, or plants, for FOOD. The ones that produce the sterilized gene so that you have to go back to the seed producer back, time and again to be able to grow the food, such as rice, or corn. But a Lilac that re-blooms to me, is an individual choice, I have a old fashioned lilac and it will from time to time, try to rebloom, depending on the weather conditions, just as my trees will try to bloom out of season. If we have a warm spell in the fall, it seems to confuse the trees and my bulbs, and flowers into thinking that it may be time to come back up, or to bloom. I have a Japaneese Magnola that does the same. It will attempt to bloom in the fall, and will actually put on full blooms when it is September or October, not April or May, it is supposed to bloom in April, and does, but when the weather turns cold, then we have a few weeks of rain and then warm weather, the confusion starts. Is that something that should be stopped, and HOW? so I believe if you want a lilac that blooms all summer, and who wouldn't love to smell that delicious smell, (if they do have the same fantastic aroma of an Old Fashioned) all summer long?

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Sat, 10/15/2011 - 7:44am

Will not grow good in NC

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