What is a Reblooming Lilac?

Anna Harrison

For the first time, there is a lilac that will bloom not only once, but throughout the growing season. Two varieties of this reblooming lilac plant, Josee and Boomerang, are widely available in two colors from garden centers and via online ordering. They are lower growing than the standard lilac bush but possess the same wonderful scent. Like all lilacs, they are very durable and may last for a lifetime.

Reblooming lilacs bloom throughout the whole growing season.
Reblooming lilacs bloom throughout the whole growing season.

The Josee is a perennial bush that will grow in USDA Zones 2-9. This means that it will survive in all but the most extreme climates. The tiny pinkish-purple flowers grow in long panicles and look just like standard lilacs. They make excellent cut flowers and will fill an entire room with their fragrance. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds are all attracted to the flowers.

Lilac flowers are sweet smelling and may attract butterflies.
Lilac flowers are sweet smelling and may attract butterflies.

This plant does have a disadvantage, though. In very warm climates, it may not produce flowers during summer. Once it becomes acclimated to the area, it will usually flower again in autumn after the days begin to cool.

The reblooming lilac is also available in a variety called the Boomerang. It is not as tall as the Josee, growing to just 4 feet (1.2 m). The flowers are more purple, but still have a hint of pink. This bush is not as hardy as the Josee and will grow best in USDA Zones 4-9.

Both varieties of reblooming lilac need plenty of room to spread and grow. They make wonderful hedges and border plantings. To thrive, they need lots of moisture and sunlight as well as rich soil. The heaviest flowering is in the spring, but established bushes will continue to produce flowers throughout summer and fall.

In order for these plants to remain neat and healthy, they should be deadheaded as soon as they have finished blooming. This can be very time consuming on larger bushes. After the blooming season is over, the reblooming lilac should be lightly pruned.

The reblooming lilac produces flower buds on old growth, so excessive pruning should be avoided to ensure flowers for the upcoming year. Long shoots and suckers should be removed since they will not produce flowers. A few branches on the interior of the lilac can be removed every few years to encourage new growth.

Some gardeners prefer to cut the reblooming lilac back to the ground each fall. This may benefit plants that are misshapen or unhealthy, but those that are cut back so severely will not produce flowers for at least two or three years. The new shoots can be cut as they emerge to shape the lilac into a desirable shape.

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