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9am-7pm daily

The Descanso Lilacs

Heat-tolerant hybrids

Atypical blooms

Typically, lilacs are found in climates where cold winters trigger the dormant period lilacs need to thrive and bloom. Descanso’s lilacs are anything but typical thanks to the garden’s rich history of hybridization that started in 1945.

Some lilacs like it hot

Descanso horticulturist Walter Lammerts, renowned for his previous plant breeding work at UCLA, created hybrid lilacs in the 50s and 60s that were vigorous and incredibly tolerant of heat. These lilacs quickly gained respect in the nursery trade as something totally new: Descanso Lilacs.

Bred at Descanso

By selectively breeding plants, horticulturists can create new plants (called cultivars) with particularly desirable traits. Over the years many cultivars have been created at Descanso. You’ll recognize these important horticultural contributions when you see green display labels in the gardens that say “Bred at Descanso.”

Our story map details the horticultural history of these lilacs:

Bred at Descanso

Did you know?

Descanso Gardens is a botanical garden. Plants in a botanical garden must be documented, classified, monitored, and labeled. And that’s not all, the garden must sponsor scientific research and be open to the public.