Edward J. Gardner Lilac

Syringa vulgaris 'Edward J. Gardner'

Edward J. Gardner Lilac

Syringa vulgaris 'Edward J. Gardner'

This product is currently out of stock and unavailable.


How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me


The Edward J. Gardner Lilac is widely considered to be the best choice for lilac-pink blooms. With big, bold clusters of double flowers, this bush forms a cloud of delicate pink, and soft lilac tones, in your garden. A rich, delicious perfume spreads in all directions, and spring has come, with its beauty and warm days. Growing just 8 or 10 feet tall, this compact bush is ideal around your home or at the back of your beds, and it fills the corners of your yard perfectly. A great choice for colder zones, this shrub is easy to grow and it is very cold resistant.

  • Large bunches of lilac-pink double flowers
  • Wonderful perfume fills the garden
  • Easily grown medium-sized shrub
  • Grows well in cold regions
  • Excellent in foundation planting or along a boundary

Full sun will give the most blossoms on the Edward J. Gardner Lilac, but it will also grow well in a little partial shade. Most well-drained soils suit it perfectly, and some added compost or manure will really make it thrive. It is hardy all the way down to minus 40 degrees, so it is a great choice even in zone 3. Removing the flower heads as they fade, and pruning out the oldest branches, will keep it healthy and vigorous for many years of beautiful blossoms.

Plant Hardiness Zones 3-7
Mature Width 6-8
Mature Height 8-10
Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun
Zones 3-7

Living in colder parts of the country has its disadvantages for gardening, without doubt, but there are upsides too. One of them is being able to grow the best lilacs, which are mostly hardy all the way into zone 3 but struggle in anything more than zone 7. These wonderful plants, so welcome after a long, cold winter, fill the air with fragrance and color, and no cold-zone gardener can be without them. There are many varieties to choose from, but if you want pink (and who doesn’t?) then experts agree that the first choice should be an older heirloom variety – the Edward J. Gardner Lilac.

Growing Edward J. Gardner Lilac Shrubs

The Edward J. Gardner Lilac grows into a full, rounded bush up to 10 feet tall, and over 6 feet wide – perfect to fill the corner of your yard, or to grow in the angle between your porch and your walls, to suggest just two options out of many. This deciduous shrub has large heart-shaped leaves, with a smooth surface. They are between 3 and 6 inches long, and they are broad, tapering to a point. In fall they may turn yellow and red, but it is the blooms we grow lilacs for. This variety opens its blossoms right in the middle of the lilac season, and they are stunningly beautiful. Big trusses up to 12 inches long are packed with hundreds of individual flowers. These are double to semi-double. Instead of just 4 petals in each flower, there are 6, 8 or even more, making a very full and flamboyant blooming for this top variety. The color is a delicious lilac-pink, with a darker exterior and a paler heart to every bloom. Each branch is tipped with two fat trusses of blossoms, and the whole bush is laden with color – and scent. Yes, this variety has the very rich, classic perfume of lilacs, that drifts across your garden, through windows, and rounds out the whole magic of lilac season.

Planting and Initial Care

Use the Edward J. Gardner Lilac among the plants around your home. Its modest height will fit perfectly between windows, or in blank corners. Use it to fill the background of your shrub beds, to be admired in spring when later shrubs are just getting going. Plant a specimen in a lawn or use it as a screen beside a driveway or along a fence. Don’t trim it like a hedge, or you will see very few blooms. Shortening of branches immediately after blooming will keep it compact and neat, without losing blooms.

For maximum blooms, the Edward J. Gardner Lilac should be grown in full sun, but it will still give a respectable showing when grown in a little partial shade. It is not particular about soil, growing well in any well-drained soil. Enrich it with some organic material, and mulch with more every year or two, for the best results. Once established it has some drought resistance to ordinary summer dry spells, but regular watering will help develop the most flower buds. The key to success with lilacs is pruning. Immediately after flowering remove all the spent blossoms heads. This prevents seeding, which will take valuable resources from the bush, and will often reduce or eliminate flowering the next year. If you want plenty of blossoms every year, this trimming is critical. As well, at the same time, remove some of the older branches well down in the bush to encourage new shoots, and don’t allow your tree to become tall, with just one trunk. If pests should attack that single trunk, you will lose your whole bush, and old stems are the ones most likely to be attacked. Otherwise, this plant has few serious pests or disease issues. If the leaves become dusty in summer with powdery mildew, this may be a little unsightly, but it doesn’t affect the plant at all. It will be green and healthy next year, looking as good as new.

History and Origins of Edward J. Gardner Lilac Shrubs

The Edward J. Gardner Lilac is a variety of the common lilac, Syringa vulgaris. This plant came originally from the mountains of the Balkan peninsula – Serbia and Croatia – but it has been cultivated across Europe for centuries. Early settlers brought it to America around 1750, as a reminder of the home they were leaving behind. The French in the 19th century created the first large-flowered varieties, and after that many nurseries created more. The Gardener Nursery Company, in Osage, Iowa, was a major grower of fruit trees and ornamentals for settlers since the beginning of the 20th century. Lilac breeding was also a specialty, and the variety named after the owner, ‘Edward J. Gardner’, was developed before 1950, when it first appeared in their catalogue. Widely considered the very best lilac-pink double lilac available, we are happy to be offering this top-quality heirloom variety to our clients. A lilac bush should be in every garden, and why not grow the best? Order now, while our stock remains available.


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Edward J. Gardner Lilac

Syringa vulgaris 'Edward J. Gardner'