Lilacs blooming for a second time this season: Unusual, but not unheard of

Weather Blog

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — It’s the growing season that never ends. At least that’s what it seems like this year as a well known flower in Western New York has made its unusual return. Widespread frost was seen across the region this morning, but underneath that frost now is what’s catching our eye…

Lilacs! Blooming for a second time this year in Monroe county during the month of October over the past couple of weeks, and being seen even as we kick off November.

Mark Quinn, Superintendent of Horticulture for the Monroe County Parks Department has been overseeing the Lilacs for nearly 38 years, and says this is not super unusual, but not something you see every year.

“I mean this is not all that uncommon of our currents, it happens sporadically depending on weather conditions…”

“They’re responding to some sort of stress, likely it was drought stress or heat stress throughout the summer that caused them to go somewhat dormant… and then you get a little bit of cold, a lot of rain, and then perhaps you get some warm fall temperatures, and it basically fools parts of the plant into believing it’s spring.” 

In terms of long term damage for the plant, he says we shouldn’t be worried, and that if only 5% of the plants are blooming right now, then that same percentage won’t bloom for next year, which is really a needle in a haystack in the grand scheme of things.

“So we will continue to get a good bloom next year but the flowers that are blooming right now, would’ve been should’ve been blooming next spring… these are what’s blooming in the park right now and it’s kind of an Interesting uh, interesting thing to see lilacs blooming in November…”

It really is an interesting sight, and something to be appreciated as a unique and relatively harmless curve-ball thrown from Mother Nature. 

~Meteorologist Christine Gregory

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