Syringas or lilacs are charming, vigorous shrubs producing dense clusters of scented flowers and pretty heart-shaped leaves. Undemanding and easy-to-grow, these timeless beauties will add a touch of nostalgia to the herbaceous border and will attract pollinating insects to the garden. Plant en masse or try mixing with buddlejas. They make good cut flowers.
Plant in humus-rich, fertile neutral to alkaline soil that is well drained in full sun. Mulch regularly and remove faded flowers on young plants to prevent the fruits from forming.
Always unpack on arrival and store in a cool place until ready to plant.
Potential problems, pests and diseases:
Leaf miners:the larvae feed by burrowing in the leaves, causing white to brown spots and squiggly lines and patterns to appear within the leaves. Cut off any infected material before disinfecting your scissors. Heavily attacked seedlings may die.
Thrips:these sap-eating insects like to feed on leaf and flower tissues. Leaves and petals become mottled with white/discoloured spots and heavy attacks may cause buds to fail to open. Thrips thrive in dry, hot weather and can spread viruses! Keep plants regularly watered and dispose of any deceased plant material and debris ahead of the growing season to prevent any risks of infestation.
Willow scales:these sap-eating insects may cause any seriously infected plant to loose vigour and prematurely shed leaves. Spot these pests early! Keep an eye out for any white egg formations from June onwards and watch out for wasps and ants! Scales produce a form of honeydew that is attractive to them.
Honey fungus: this fungal disease attacks roots and may cause hosts to die. Watch out for thin layers of white fungus underneath the bark located near the base. Dig out and burn any infected plants including all of their roots at first sight.
Lilac blight: this bacterial disease is usually seen as sooty growths or spots on the leaves — these will turn brown with a yellow margin before eventually dying. Remove and destroy any affected material.