This French lilac offers fantastic fragrance to the early summer garden. It is an old double-flowered variety bred at the famous Lemoine Nursery near Nancy, France where many classic French lilacs were developed. ‘Charles Joly’ was introduced in 1896 and remains a popular cultivar in the trade.
When not in bloom the large, rounded, deciduous shrub offers little interest, but it is exceptionally beautiful when its flower panicles appear in late spring to early summer. ‘Charles Joly’ offers big panicles of double violet-magenta flowers that are highly fragrant and ideal for cutting. The blooms are held at tips of the branches and attract loads of bees, butterflies and many other insect pollinators.
Lilacs develop their best habit and flowers when grown in full sun. They prefer average to fertile soil that is neutral to slightly alkaline and well-drained. Though moderately drought tolerant, these lilacs grow best is given supplemental water during very dry spells. Next year’s flower buds are set shortly after blooming, so lilacs must be pruned directly after their yearly display. There are several serious pests and diseases that plague them. Lilac borers can be a fatal, so keep an eye out for their telltale half-moon shaped holes along the trunks. Powdery mildew is also a yearly problem. Extreme drought stress can invite both.
French lilacs make fine feature plants. Cut their fresh blossoms for fragrant, long-lasting flower arrangements.
Winchester Gardens generally stocks this item.
Lavender, Blue Violet
Select a site with full sun and moist, well-drained soil.
Plant in spring or fall. Space plants 5 to 15 feet apart, depending on variety. Dig a hole only as deep as the root ball and 2 to 3 times as wide. If your soil is in very poor condition, amend the soil you’ve removed from the hole with a small amount of compost. Otherwise don’t amend it at all. Carefully remove the plant from the container and set it in the hole. Fill the hole half full with soil, then water it well to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets. Let the water drain, then fill the remainder of hole with soil and water thoroughly.
Apply a layer of compost under the plant each spring, followed by a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. Prune lilacs immediately after flowering, removing dead and broken branches, then cutting back as necessary to maintain the desired size and shape. Overgrown lilacs can be pruned back by as much as one third.