Lilacs donít last the day after cut and put in vase

Batavia, IL

Hello, new here. I love lilacs, and that's an understatement. It's more like a passionate love affair that never fizzles.

From a little girl in the 70s all the way up to 1995, I could cut lilacs off of any large profuse bush either around my home, or toss them in my front seat and plop in vase once home. They always lasted at least 5 days, many times longer. No special technique, or cutting tool, or anything. Once a nice lady just pulled off several branches from her bushes for me and I just cut the ends freshly right before plopping them in a vase. Beautiful for days.

In 2006 we bought a home with five lilac bushes along the back fence, Sensation variety I believe given purple blooms with white borders. For 15 years these bushes have deprived me of the happiest weeks of my year, Lilac season, where I can fill my home with fresh cut lilacs. They do last about 2 weeks on the bushes big and beautiful and fragrant, even though the bushes themselves look a bit leggy and lack the typical profuse foliage that you cant see through. However, for the past 15 years any cut Lilacs from these bushes die before nightfall. I get a total of 6 hours with a beautiful bouquet and then it's gone. I refuse to cut blooms off a bush if it doesn't leave it still looking full and plush, and I'd have to cut blooms every single day for a week leaving nothing outside on the bush - so I don't do that. I do remember one year I was so desperate and starved for lilac bouquets around my house that I drove out to find a profusely blooming bush somewhere that I could freely cut from. But those also didn't last more than a full day, just several hours longer.

1) Are there varieties of Lilacs that can't hack being in a vase? Is Sensation a bad choice for what I want? Or maybe cultivated varieties around my area have been tinkered with too much? I grew up 1-1/2 hours from where I live now where I never had problems, but I also remember having no problem in our previous home 30 minutes away. Could it be our city water? What has changed in the past 25 years??

2) I'm about ready to dig these bushes out completely and replace them with a variety that has a well known track record of providing cut blooms that last at least 3-5 days in a vase. What variety would that be? (We have clay soil, but my garden beds are huge with lots of garden soil mix on top 6-8" and 3-4" finely ground hardwood mulch.)

Thanks for your gracious time and help.

(Image below is what I cut from the bush just 12 hours earlier.)
Not sure why it didnít post my pic that I selected .... maybe because Iím new.

This message was edited May 6, 2021 4:08 PM

Batavia, IL

Trying to upload picture again...

Thumbnail by JustJuju
Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

I'd check into the difference between your current tap water and what you had in the places where you were happy with the results, way before I destroyed perfectly healthy and performing Lilac plants.

Additionally: you could compare the results of using your current tap water with bottled water purchased elsewhere. That may solve your problem forthwith.

To double blind prove your point: collect branches of Lilacs from the former places you lived, and put them in your current tap water AND in bottled water from the store - or tap water from your former residences. At least THAT would prove whether you currently live in a black hole or not.

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