Lilacs blooming in September!

September lilacs small.jpg

Lilacs in bloom on September 18th at the Huttner Weather Lab.

(Photo by Paul Huttner)

Now I’ve seen everything.

I was stunned today to see a few lilacs blooming here at the Huttner Weather Lab. What happened, did I go to sleep in September and wake up in May? Talk about breaking news from the weather lab!

This is the first time I’ve seen or heard of lilacs blooming In Minnesota in the month of September. I’m not a botanist but I have some guesses about why this may be occurring.

The first is obviously our unusually cooler summer combined with our late season warm spell. Could this be triggering lilac blooms in other areas?

Secondly, I did prune these lilacs in early June after the May bloom. Could it be that the new growth has caused the second bloom this year?

Perhaps this is a rare species of lilac that can bloom twice in a year. If so, it has not occurred in the 5 years the Huttner Weather Lab has been at this location.

Does anyone else have blooming lilacs in the area? If anyone has an answer I’d love to hear it.

In the meantime I’ll just enjoy the bonus summer, and hope that somehow I slept through winter and woke up in spring.


  • Dr Pussycat

    The Josee lilac does this though I haven’t had luck with the one I bought. Bachman’s might still sell them.

  • Marie B

    Koren species lilacs (like “Miss Kim”) will often bloom a second time around here in September. We had a bush that did that at our previous residence.

  • M Cooney

    I have a weigela that is re-blooming, as well as roses that have put out a second showing. Neither of these bushes have ever repeated with a later bloom. I live in rural Winona, along the Mississippi River.

  • Jeff Parsons

    I have a bridal wreath spirea which has rebloomed this week.

  • beryl john-knudson

    Not exactly in the same context but:

    While working for a small news rag in southern Minnesota…it was Christmas time and the main street grocer made a Charlie Brown type Christmas tree for his store from a large bush branch; propped it up with plaster in a bucket…then lights, tinsel and “red and green wrapped treats for the village kids” tied to it’s branches. Then unexpectedly one morning appeared lilacs in bloom on this assimilated tree and suprised many in that village.

    In this present story, it seems Mother Nature’s time clock has been thrown off by the second wave of summer we are so unexpectedly blessed with. I for one am watching my overgrown forsithia for signs of a ‘second coming’…enjoy it why it lasts!

  • Jeff

    I live in Syracuse NY and my lilacs too are blooming in September…odd! We too had a cool wet summer

  • Marianne

    27 September 2009-I live in north Toronto, Ontario and have a few blooms on one of my lilacs. We too had a cool, wet summer with a hot spell afterward. My sister tried to convince me that it was not a lilac. First time it’s ever bloomed in September. Nice treat.

  • Dave

    I live in Calgary and one of the ten lilacs planted over the last seven years has been blooming for a week. All ten are different varieties except two which are the same. These two are “common” lilacs and are the youngest, about four years old and its one of them that’s blooming. In sixty years I’ve never seen lilac blooms in September and on a plant whose leaves are turning yellow and gold and beginning to fall. Perhaps it portends a warm winter, ha ha ha ha ha…