Planting and Growing Lilacs

With their romantic blossoming plumes and intoxicating scent, lilacs have become a symbol of first love. You can’t help but fall in love with the sweet scent of their return every year.

Lilacs boast a stunning display of colors, including pink, white, and purple. The flowers of lilacs are often cut and used to make perfumes and dyes. Many people don’t know that fragrant bloomers can also be eaten. You can follow this guide to planting and growing lilacs, so you can also stop, smell, and fall in love with their flowers.

The Ideal Soil Composition and pH for Growing Lilacs

The best soil for lilac bushes is loamy, fertile soil that drains well. For planting and growing lilacs, you can amend your native soil with
plenty of organic matter, and well-decomposed compost. The soil should be slightly acidic or alkaline for lilac plants, and the pH range should be between 6.5 to 7.0. Too low or high pH levels can cause the shrubs to fail and affect how easily the essential nutrients are available. You can get a soil sample and test it to determine the soil’s quality and pH. Experts will test your soil and give you a breakdown of the soil that you have. This process can also determine possible soil amendments to maximize growth performance.

The Light and Temperature Needs for Lilac Bushes

Full sun is best for lilac bush plantings. These bushes need at least six to eight hours of direct sunshine each day. Otherwise, they will become non-blooming shrubs. These bushes may also be inclined to bend and stretch their bodies awkwardly to seek the sun, making the plant difficult to care for and distorted.

How to Plant Lilacs

Plant lilac shrubs in spring, or, more preferably, in early fall. You can purchase shrubs at your local nursery or garden center, or transplant them from suckers or offshoots of other plants. When growing lilacs, be patient. It can take up to five years for lilac bushes to fully bloom and bear fruit.

How to Plant Lilac Bushes

  • Dig a hole twice the diameter of the root ball and slightly deeper than its container depth.
  • Take the plant out of its container and spread its roots to loosen them up before planting.
  • Remove the burlap from your lilac bush.
  • Place the plant where its root ball is at least two to four inches below the soil surface.
  • Use well-decomposed compost to surround the root system.
  • Water the plant well.
  • Finally, fill the hole with more topsoil or compost and tap it in gently.

What Is the Best Space for Lilacs to Grow?

Make sure your area is large enough for lilacs to grow and develop. Lilacs can vary in height from six to fifteen feet, depending on the variety. When planting multiple lilac bushes, keep at least six feet between them and trim surrounding plants.

How to Water Lilacs

Lilacs thrive in moist soil that drains quickly. It is important to remember that lilacs do not like to be soaked. They can also be susceptible to root rot if they sit in soil that is too wet for a long time. Keep the soil evenly moist until lilac trees and shrubs are established. Lilac trees that have reached moderate maturity do not require watering unless there is a drought.

How to Grow Lilacs

Before planting lilacs, make sure to amend the soil with lots of organic material. Lilac bushes will thrive on well-decomposed compost, forest materials, and worm castings. Your lilac bushes should be fed with an acid-loving fertilizer once a year in the spring. Avoid fertilizers high in nitrogen, as this will encourage leaf production that overtakes blooms.

Pruning Lilac Bushes

Pruning encourages vigorous flowering, shapes growing shrubs, and reduces the risk of disease. Old wood is the basis of lilac blooms. It’s best not to cut off more than 1/3 of branches after they have bloomed in spring. Pruning late in the year can lead to you removing newly-set buds that will be used for next year’s blooming. You can also trim spent blooms to prevent them from going to seed. This will increase the number of blooms next spring. Pruning lilac shrubs and trees regularly after peak bloom time is an excellent way to keep them looking and performing well. You should not prune lilac shrubs too aggressively, as this could cause a halt in bloom production for several years before the plant recovers.

Recommendations for Lilac Varieties to Grow

There are so many varieties of lilac shrubs that it can be difficult to choose one to grow. You can’t go wrong when it comes to these spectacular fragrant bloomers. All of them will put on a show from early to mid-spring.

  • Sensation’ – Creates beautiful bicolor canes in deep purple with white edges.
  • Angel White’ – This cultivar produces tiny white plumes that thrive in mild winter climates.
  • Edward J. Gardner’ – This variety produces double pink flowers later in spring than other varieties.
  • Donald Wyman’ – Pinking purple flowers with an intense scent that attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

Share the Garden Love


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *