Delphinium Vs Lilac: What Are The Differences?

Growing a beautiful and thriving garden is a rewarding endeavor that involves making decisions about what types of plants to include. Two popular options for gardeners seeking color, height, and fragrance are delphinium and lilac. Let’s take an in-depth look at these two botanical marvels and compare their features, requirements, and benefits.

Delphinium Vs Lilac: What Are The Differences?

Delphinium and lilac are both beautiful flowering plants but they are quite different in terms of appearance and habitat. Delphiniums, also known as Larkspur, are characterized by their tall spikes of brightly colored flowers, ranging from blue and purple to pink and white. They are part of the Ranunculaceae family and are native to the Northern Hemisphere and high mountainous regions of tropical Africa.

Lilacs, on the other hand, belong to the Oleaceae family and are native to the Balkan Peninsula. Unlike the tall, slender shape of delphiniums, lilacs are typically bushy plants or small trees. Their flowers, which are heavily fragrant, are usually purple or white and grow in large panicles.

One key difference between the two is the blooming period. Delphiniums bloom in late spring and early summer, while lilacs generally flower in late spring. In addition, lilac flowers are known for their potent fragrance, which is absent in delphiniums.

Which Plant Is Easier To Grow: Delphinium Or Lilac?

While both delphinium and lilac require some degree of care, the lilac is typically considered easier to grow. Delphiniums are more finicky, requiring rich, well-drained soil, and a sheltered position that protects them from strong winds due to their height. They also need plenty of sunlight, but should be protected from the intense heat of the midday sun.

On the other hand, lilacs are more adaptable. They can thrive in a range of soil types, though they prefer neutral to alkaline soil. While they enjoy full sun, they can tolerate partial shade, and once established, lilacs are more drought-resistant than delphiniums. Also, lilacs are known for their hardiness, able to withstand cold winters better than delphiniums.

Are Delphinium And Lilac Annuals Or Perennials?

Both delphinium and lilac are perennials, meaning they live for more than two years. Delphiniums, however, are often treated as biennials in some climates due to their susceptibility to diseases. Biennial plants live for two years, producing foliage the first year and flowering in the second.

Lilacs are robust perennials that can live for many years, often outliving the gardener who planted them. With appropriate care, these plants can become a long-lasting part of your landscape, flowering year after year.

Do Delphinium And Lilac Attract Bees And Butterflies?

Both delphiniums and lilacs are excellent choices if you want to attract pollinators like bees and butterflies to your garden. Delphiniums produce a lot of nectar, which makes them particularly attractive to bees. Their brightly colored flowers are also irresistible to butterflies.

Similarly, lilacs with their sweet, strong fragrance, and profuse blooms are like magnets to bees and butterflies. Therefore, having either or both of these plants in your garden will help to support local biodiversity and contribute to the health of these important insect populations.

Which Plant Has More Vibrant Flowers: Delphinium Or Lilac?

The vibrancy of a flower can be subjective and may depend on the specific variety of the plant. Delphiniums are famous for their bright and often intense blue flowers, a color relatively rare in the botanical world. However, they also come in vibrant shades of pink, white, and purple.

Lilacs are best known for their soft pastel colors, typically in various shades of purple, from a light lavender to a deep violet, as well as white. Their color may not be as bright or intense as delphiniums, but their flowers are larger and grow in lush, aromatic clusters that can make a more significant visual impact when in full bloom.

Can Delphinium And Lilac Tolerate Hot Temperatures?

Delphiniums can struggle in hot temperatures. They prefer cooler climates and can wilt or struggle in intense heat, especially if exposed to the hot midday sun. Therefore, in warmer climates, it is often recommended to plant delphiniums where they will be protected from the strongest sun.

Lilacs, on the other hand, are slightly more tolerant of heat, although they also prefer cooler summer temperatures. They can manage better in warm climates if they are well-watered and mulched to keep their roots cool. However, very hot climates may reduce their blooming period or intensity.

What Are The Ideal Growing Conditions For Delphinium And Lilac?

Delphiniums require full sun or partial shade, well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter, and regular watering. They are also heavy feeders, meaning they require a good amount of fertilizer to thrive. In addition, due to their height, they often need staking to protect them from wind damage.

Lilacs prefer full sun and well-drained soil, and while they can tolerate poorer soil conditions, they will flower best in nutrient-rich soil. They prefer slightly alkaline soil, and a handful of lime added to the planting hole can help to ensure the correct pH balance. They also require good air circulation and do not like to be crowded by other plants or structures.

How Tall Do Delphinium And Lilac Typically Grow?

Delphiniums can grow to be quite tall, with heights often ranging from 4 to 6 feet, though some varieties may reach up to 8 feet. This makes them excellent back border plants. However, their height can also make them vulnerable to wind damage, so staking is often required.

Lilacs are typically larger and wider, growing into bushes or small trees rather than tall, slender plants. Common lilac bushes (Syringa vulgaris) can grow from 12 to 15 feet high and spread from 8 to 12 feet. Dwarf varieties of lilacs are also available if space is a concern, which reach a more modest height of 4-5 feet.

Are Delphinium And Lilac Prone To Any Specific Diseases Or Pests?

Both delphiniums and lilacs can be affected by certain diseases and pests. Delphiniums are susceptible to fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew, particularly in humid conditions or if watered from above. Pests such as slugs, snails, and aphids can also pose a problem.

Lilacs can suffer from a fungal disease called powdery mildew, especially if they are not given enough air circulation. Pests, such as borers and scales, can also affect lilacs. In both cases, appropriate care and preventive measures can help to protect the plants.

Can Delphinium And Lilac Be Grown In Containers?

While delphiniums and lilacs are traditionally grown in gardens, they can also be grown in containers. For delphiniums, the container should be deep enough to accommodate their long taproot and wide enough to provide stability for their tall growth. They will also require regular feeding and watering in a container.

Lilacs can also be container-grown, particularly the smaller or dwarf varieties. The container needs to be large enough to accommodate their spreading root system, and they will need regular watering, especially in dry conditions. It should also have good drainage to avoid waterlogging, which lilacs dislike.