How to Bring Lilacs Inside
The sweet smell of Lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) is one of the great pleasures of spring. There’s a Lilac planted right outside our window so we could enjoy the scent when it bloomed. Which was a great plan, except that I had forgotten this particular window had been painted shut.
So for us to enjoy the Lilac blooms inside, they must be brought inside.
Problem is, this never worked – the cut Lilac always wilted in less than an hour. I had given up hope, but then I read a timely post by Stephanie Lindemann on the Chicago Botanic Garden blog. Ms. Lindemann is CBG’s Manager of Horticultural Events.
Here’s my summary of Ms. Lindemann’s advice for bringing Lilacs indoors.
First, wait until the Lilac panicles are mostly in bloom. This is not a plant that can be forced like Forsythia.
Second, cut the stems when the weather is cool and immediately put the cut stems into water.
Third, remove all the leaves from the cut stem.
Fourth, keep the container with cut stems and water in a cool, dark place for at least an hour.
Finally, cut the stems a second time, and put your stems in a vase with clean water. I have to admit Ms. Lindemann lost me at this stage a bit. She writes about cutting down the middle of the stem and some other stuff, which I tried but couldn’t get right. Read her post, maybe you can do it.
Then she says we should put the vase in a cool dark place for another couple of hours. I didn’t do this because I’m terrible at following directions.
And here are our cut Lilac blooms on the back porch. We could have removed the various other items on the shelf, but that would give a highly misleading impression of our house, where clutter has been raised to a high art. Oh, and please ignore the AC unit outside the window.
Anyhow, even though I followed directions imperfectly, these cut Lilacs have been inside and droopless (a new word I invented to celebrate the occasion) for the last two days. Ms. Lindemann says her method will keep cut Lilacs fresh for 3-4 days, but I’m just happy they’ve lasted more than a couple of hours.
Do you try to bring cut Lilacs inside your home?