Yankee Doodle LilacSyringa vulgaris 'Yankee Doodle'
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Syringa vulgaris 'Yankee Doodle'
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Yankee Doodle Lilac has enormous, long flower heads, packed with blossoms in a very deep shade of purple. It makes a stunning show in spring, and the blooms last for 4 weeks, filling your garden with color and the rich scent of lilacs everyone loves. This easy to grow plant reaches between 6 and 9 feet tall, and is only about 6 feet wide, so not a huge bush like older types are. Plant it around your home, or on a lawn for a beautiful display. Plant it at the back of shrub beds, or as an informal screen along a fence or boundary, where it will put on a stunning display of color and scent.
The Yankee Doodle Lilac is hardy in very cold zones, and an invaluable shrub in those areas. It grows best in full sun, although it tolerates a little shade. It flourishes in most soils, if they are well-drained, and it grows well in urban conditions. Pests and diseases are rarely serious problems. Removing the spent flower heads and some of the oldest branches is all the care it needs, and it will put on a spectacular display for you year after year.
In cold and moderate parts of the country it is impossible to imagine spring without lilacs, and those who garden in the hottest zones miss out on the spectacular beauty and rich scent of these classic garden flowers. Although most of the varieties we grow were created in Europe, the most famous authority on lilacs was the American priest Father John Fiala. His book on lilacs is the standard work, and his breeding brought proudly American lilacs to our gardens. The Yankee Doodle Lilac is one of his most famous creations, and this rounded bush, with its rich, dark purple blooms, is a standout in any garden – and that can include yours.
The Yankee Doodle Lilac is a deciduous shrub reaching about 8 feet in height, with a spread of around 6 feet. Its rounded form makes it ideal for filling spaces in the garden and around your home. The heart-shaped leaves are a rich blue-green color, varying between 3 and 6 inches long, with a smooth surface and pointed, tapering tips. When the leaves come out in spring they are closely followed by the flowers, which develop first as large clusters of deep purple buds towards the ends of the branches. These quickly expand to be as much as 12 inches long and packed with hundreds of flowers. As they open they release a powerful and beautiful fragrance, spreading across the garden, but it is the color we see first. Probably the darkest purple of any lilac, the flowers are regal and glorious in the intensity of their coloring. Both the buds and flowers are the same deep, rich royal purple, making a stunning display in your garden. They remain attractive for 3 or even 4 weeks, and they can be cut and put into vases too.
Plant the Yankee Doodle Lilac between the windows of your home, so that you see the richly colored blossoms from indoors. Use it to fill the angles between walls, or the space beside an entrance. Planted at the back of a large shrub bed it will bring color and interest in spring, before other shrubs are flowering. It makes a beautiful screen planted at 5-foot intervals, although it cannot be trimmed into a hedge, or flowering will be greatly reduced. No matter how you use it, and wherever in your garden you grow it, you will love it – just allow sufficient room for its final size when choosing a planting spot.
The Yankee Doodle Lilac will grow in zone 3, and often in zone 2 as well, so it is a wonderful addition to the plants available for colder zones. It will grow in all zones up to and including zone 7, but in warmer zones that there may not be enough winter cold to develop the flower buds properly. It should be grown in full sun for maximum bloom, but it will tolerate a little partial shade. The soil should be well-drained, but almost any soil, from acid to alkaline, and even rough ground and urban soils will be sufficient for it to grow. Richer soils will give the best results and mulching with rich organic material each spring will help it to really thrive, whatever the soil. Once established it has some drought tolerance, but it benefits from regular watering during extended dry spells. Remove the flower heads as soon as the flowers have faded, to encourage plenty of flowering in the following year. Removing some of the older stems low down, and some of the crowded basal shoots, as well as shortening back longer new growth, is all the care that is needed. Don’t trim during the summer, as this will remove the flower buds, which form early, at the ends of the stems.
The Yankee Doodle Lilac is a highly-developed form of the common lilac, Syringa vulgaris, a plant originally native to the mountains of the Balkan peninsula, in Europe. It was brought to America as early as 1750, and more modern forms were brought from France around the beginning of the 20th century. The world authority on lilacs was Father John Fiala, a Catholic priest and teacher in Ohio. He wrote the definitive book on Lilacs, and through his breeding work he created numerous new varieties. One of his many crosses was between a French Hybrid called ‘Prodige’, and an American variety called ‘Rochester’. Among the seedlings he found a plant with remarkable dark purple flowers, which he called ‘Yankee Doodle’. Father Fiala released it in 1985, just a few years before his death in 1990. This great plant is a tribute to his skills, and it is justifiably very popular, widely regarded as one of the very best purple lilacs available. These rich colors are incredibly popular, and we know our stock will soon be gone. Order now and enjoy the best.