How To Care and Grow Beautiful Lilac Trees And Bushes

The lilac tree (Syringa vulgaris) produces one of the most universally popular and beloved flowers. I’ve never met anyone who dislikes lilacs.

For many, these beautiful and fragrant flowers bring treasured memories alive.

beautiful flowers of the fragrant lilac tree

This old favorite bush and tree comes as a beautiful addition to the landscape, making it more vibrant and colorful. Also, these cluster blooming plants are easy to grow, and their fragrant flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Lilacs come in seven colors, but the most popular varieties wear the colors of:

  • White
  • Blue
  • Lavender
  • Pink
  • Magenta

Growing and taking care of lilacs make a pretty simple hobby. However, knowing how to do things perfectly does better.

Planting Lilacs in the Garden

Suppliers often ship (Syringa) lilacs as bare root plants so it may surprise you upon receiving them. The plants may appear dead, but the video below shows its dormant or sleeping state.

To wake them up, soak the roots in water for about 10 minutes. Some other important things to keep in mind when planting lilacs include the following:

  1. Lilacs need quite a lot of sun. Find a place where you get sunlight in abundance, and it will help them grow better.
  2. Apart from sunlight, lilacs need space. They can even grow into small trees if given enough room. Always provide them a good amount of space.
  3. Lilacs also require proper water drainage to thrive.
  4. When planting, place the root ball close to the surface of the well-drained soil and tamp down firmly. Plant them 2–3 inches deep into the ground if you received the lilacs in the form of bare roots.
  5. Water the plant thoroughly.
  6. Put them at least 10–14 feet apart if you like to plant more than one lilac bush.

Planting Lilacs in Containers

Growing lilacs in a container may appear as a form of bonsai. Though some of the rules match with container grown lilacs such as abundant sun and good drainage, keep in mind about these additional requirements.

  1. Choose dwarf lilacs for container gardening. Some famous dwarf lilacs include the Purple Gem and Pixie. You may also pick the dwarf korean lilac, an attractive shrub which will add grace, beauty, and fragrance to your garden.
  2. Choose a sturdy container big enough to hold the root system of a fully grown plant.
  3. Try not to move the pot from its original position once the plant established its roots
  4. Choose a high-quality, well-drained soil and compost mixture.
  5. Plant lilacs 3–4 inches deep and tamp down firmly.
  6. Water the plant thoroughly.

interesting lilac facts infographic

Lilac Facts…

  1. Some lilac varieties – Josee & Boomerang will bloom several times during the year.
  2. Most Lilacs flower for approximately three weeks in spring
  3. Thomas Jefferson wrote a gardening book and in it shared his love for Lilacs.
  4. Some Lilac bushes can survive temperatures down to -50°F.
  5. The “trick” to a big lilac bush – Don’t prune them often. But be sure to prune them at least once per year.
  6. Lilacs come from the olive family Oleaceae. There are more than 1,000 varieties of lilac trees and bushes.
  7. Lilac flowers are edible.
  8. Purple lilacs are the symbol of first love.
  9. Syringa reticulata, the tree lilac can reach 25 feet tall
  10. For the most fragrance, enjoy purple lilacs on warm, sunny days.

Caring for Lilacs in the Garden

Although lilac trees do not need much attention while growing, a small amount of care will help them grow to their full size and produce more of those lovely blooms. Some of the steps to take while caring for lilacs are as follows:

  1. Apply a good layer of mulch every year to retain moisture and control weeds.
  2. Wait until the top becomes thoroughly dry and then water the lilac trees well.
  3. Fertilize lilacs very sparingly. A good fertilizer in late winter will serve as enough for the rest of the year.
  4. Pruning lilacs correctly tops the list of to-dos when it comes to taking care of lilacs. Trim them once the blooms ceased. This helps them grow back stronger than before.
  5. Deadheading lilacs will help the plant to produce more flowers. Moreover, it will make the plants look even better.
  6. To improve flowering of lilacs, don’t let grass grow near their roots.

Caring for Lilacs in Containers

  1. Lilacs grown in warm climatic zones can stay outside throughout the year.
  2. When growing lilacs in freezing regions, bury containers in the soil to promote more budding and growth.
  3. Make sure the root system of your lilacs can move freely. If movement becomes restricted, they will not bear many flowers no matter how good the foliage looks.
  4. Keep the container in a place where it can receive at least six hours of sunlight.
  5. Watering lilacs in a pot may seem like a delicate task. This is due to excess water may damage or kill them. Only water when the soil appears dry and water for about one inch deep.
  6. If you see roots coming out of the water drainage holes, this signals the time to root prune the plant.

With these care and planting tips, anyone can enjoy beautiful lilacs and feel as youthful as the blooms!

Tips for Long Lasting Lilacs

With lilacs blooming in many areas of the country, what better time than now to make sure they stay blooming as long as possible.

According to horticultural expert Paul Parent, the below tips on caring will help get the most and prolong the life of your lilacs.

  • Lilacs grow best with a minimum of 1 inch of water per week during the hottest months.
  • Do not over-fertilize or they will not bloom. Over-fertilized plants only grow nice foliages but without the fragrant flowers. At springtime, feed your lilacs with something like Plant-Tone.
  • Lilacs plants love sweet soil. This means they grow well with pine trees or oaks nearby. During the beginning of spring, add limestone, wood ash, or similar products at a rate of 2-3 handfuls per 3 feet of height or spread of the lilac.
  • Lilacs bloom on old wood. All things considered, you should prune in the spring as soon as the flowering ends. If you wait for too long, you will remove the new buds for next year.
  • While pruning, remove the dead wood and the oldest canes. Cut those right down 5-10 inches from the soil.
  • Each year, cut out 1/2 – 1/3 of the old wood to maintain the blooming of your lilacs. Cut the tallest parts back to about 5-6 feet.
  • Hardy lilacs will grow in Zones 3 – 7 but don’t grow well in areas with the warmest climates

lilacs-pruning-03312016

Tips On Pruning Lilacs For Decades Of Flowers

The lilac bears beautiful and fragrant flowers. As plants grow taller and its stems become mature, the flowers will appear smaller, fewer, and more “invisible.”

For the lilacs to develop a good framework of branches, promote robust new growth and help it produce vibrant blooms. Also, annual maintenance and pruning keep lilacs healthy and vigorous.

Annual pruning removes diseased and unproductive stems to the soil. Thinning encourages properly spaced new growth.

A properly pruned lilac can produce decades of flowers and enjoyment. For tips on pruning your lilac, read this article about pruning lilacs from finegardening.com

Other Topics You May Like