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Lilacs

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Huge blooms, wonderful scent.

Credit: Wally Patrick
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Botanical name: Syringa

Plant type: Shrub

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Sun exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun

Soil type: Any

Soil pH: Neutral to Slightly Alkaline

Flower color: Red, Pink, Yellow, Blue, Purple, White

Bloom time: Spring, Summer

Where to buy lilacs: Burpee Gardening

Who doesn't love lilacs? The ideal lilac shrub has about 10 canes and produces flowers at eye-level—all the better to enjoy that sweet, haunting fragrance.

Lilacs do come in seven colors but most are familiar with the common lilac, Syringa vulgaris, which blooms in the northern states for 2 weeks in late May. However, there are early-, mid-, and late-season lilacs, which, when grown together, ensure a steady bloom for at least 6 weeks.

Lilacs are hardy, easy to grow, and low maintenance. They can grow from 5 to 15 feet tall, depending on the variety. The fragrant flowers are good for cutting and attractive to butterflies.

Lilac Pictures

Click slideshow below to enjoy 7 lovely lilac pictures taken by our Almanac readers!

Planting

  • Grow lilacs in fertile, humus-rich, well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil (at a pH near 7.0). If your soil is in poor condition, add compost to enrich.
  • Select a site where your lilac will get full sun—at least 6 hours. If lilacs don't get enough sun, they will not bloom well.
  • Make sure the site drains well. Lilacs don't like wet feet and will not bloom with too much water.
  • Plant in either spring or fall, although the latter is preferred.
  • If you're lucky, a friend will give you a sucker, or offshoot, of the root system of one of his plants. Your sucker will look pathetic at first but just dig a hole, backfill it with soil, and stick the sucker in. Then water and wait. In 4 or 5 years, you'll be rewarded with huge, fragrant blossoms.
  • Transplanting lilacs from a nursery is also easy. If it's container-grown, spread out the roots as you settle the plant into the ground; if it's balled or burlapped, gentle remove it and any rope before planting. Set the plant 2 or 3 inches deeper than it grew in the nursery, and work topsoil in around the roots. Water in. Then fill in the hole with more topsoil.
  • Space multiple lilac shrubs 5 to 15 feet apart, depending on the variety.

Care

  • Each spring, apply a layer of compost under the plant, followed by mulch to retain moisture and control weeds.
  • Water during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week.
  • Lilacs won't bloom if they're overfertilized. They can handle a handful of 10-10-10 in late winter, but no more.
  • After your lilac bush has finished blooming, spread some lime and well-rotted manure around the base. Trim the bush to shape it, and remove suckers at the same time.

Pruning Lilacs

  • Lilacs bloom on old wood, so it's critical to prune in the spring right after they bloom. If you prune later in the summer, you may be removing the wood. Here's a tip: If your lilac flower clusters are getting smaller, time to prune!
  • Every year after bloom, remove any dead wood. Prune out the oldest canes (down to the ground). Remove the small suckers. Cut back weak branches to a strong shoot. Cut back tall canes to eye height.
  • If your lilac is old and in really bad shape, remove one-third of the oldest canes (down to the ground) in year one, half of the remaining old wood in year two, and the rest of the old wood in year three. Another option for old lilacs is to chop the whole thing back to about 6 or 8 inches high. It sounds drastic, but lilacs are very hardy. The downside to this option is that it takes a few years to grow back. The upside is less work and more reward, as the lilac will grow back bursting with blooms. 
  • It must be recognized that severe pruning results in the loss of blooms for one to three years. For these reasons, a wise pruning program aims to avoid severe and drastic cuts by giving the bushes annual attention. 

Pests

  • Prone to attack by slugs and snails.
  • Powder white mildew may appear after a summer of hot, humid weather. It may be unsightly, but it does no harm. Ignore it.

Recommended Varieties

The most common and fragrant lilacs are of the S. vulgaris variety:

  • For early bloom, try 'Charles Joly', a double magneta.
  • Mid-season lilacs include 'Monge', a dark reddish purple, and 'Firmament', a fine blue.
  • Late-season beauties include 'Miss Canada', a reddishpink, and 'Donald Wyman', a single purple.

Although common lilacs love cold weather, a few thrive as south as Zone 9, among them the cutleaf lilac, a fragrant pale lavender. Syringa patula 'Miss Kim' is a graceful shrub with pale lilac-blue flowers that fade to white.

Special Features

  • Attracts Butterflies

Wit & Wisdom

  • To improve the flowering of lilacs, keep the grass from growing around them. A 16- to 24-inch circle of landscape cloth placed around the bushes and covered with bark or stone will keep the grass down.
  • Force a winter bouquet from cut branches of lilac. Bruise the cut ends and set them in water. Spray the branches frequently. Keep them in a cool place until they bloom, then move to a warmer area for display.
  • Poet Walt Whitman thought of lilacs when Abraham Lincoln died: 
    "When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd . . . I mourn'd, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring."

Comments

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I received two lilac bushes

By Suzy Cress on August 20

I received two lilac bushes for Mother's Day. I planted them according to the instructions and they seem to do well. We had an unusually wet spring and early summer, but now the hot weather has set in an the leaves are turning brown, drying up and falling off. Do you think it could be lack of water (they get watered every two to three days) or are they getting too much water? I'm concerned that with winter coming on I might lose them if they are not strong and healthy.

The only way to know for sure

By Almanac Staff on August 23

The only way to know for sure if they are getting enough water is to dig down 4-6 inches (with your hands) to see how wet the soil is at root level. Too much water and too little have the same symptoms - those brown leaves. Frequent shallow watering isn't as effective as weekly deep watering. It is common for new transplants to lose some roots and your plants might not have developed enough new roots to support rapid leaf growth and now those leaves are dying back. If the stems are also turning black and dying that is a sign of bacterial blight. Cut back any affected stems to 10-12 inches below the rotten part with sterile clippers.

Hello. I have a lilac tree,

By Sarah Hein on August 17

Hello. I have a lilac tree, it's very small (about 2ft in diameter, 5 ft high) and in a container, it looks almost like a bonsai. I used some shrub fertilizer in it about two weeks ago and now, out of the blue, about 1/3rd of the leaves are dried up and crusty, not wilted, but dried up. I have not changed anything else, I've watered it the way I always do and it's always been bright and healthy. I noticed you said not to use too much nitrogen so I'm pretty sure the fertilizer is the culprit, but what I'm wondering is, will it recover next year or did I kill it? Is there anything I can do to try and fix this if it was from the nitrogen based fertilizer? Again, it was about 1/3rd that's currently showing signs of damage.

Hi Sarah, If 2/3 of the tree

By Almanac Staff on August 18

Hi Sarah,
If 2/3 of the tree looks healthy it will probably come back next year. Make sure to water it well and if you have harsh winters you may want to add mulch aorund the container or place the container in a protected area.

So my husband just bought me

By LeeAnn Guyer on August 16

So my husband just bought me a lilac bush two days ago from an auction it has barely any leaves on it but the leaves that it does have are a nice darkish green and look fairly healthy. Its about three and a half feet tall but most of the stems are completely bare, is this normal for lilacs in the summer or has this poor thing been neglected? If it has been neglected, is there anything less drastic then cutting it down to six to eight inches and waiting years for it to grow back that I can do for it now during the summer without damaging it further?

Hi! I just bought a lilac

By M pinchoff on August 14

Hi!
I just bought a lilac from your company. I live in Peoria az. I had a lilac bush a few years ago that lived 2 years and then died.( my sister didn't water it when I moved )
Im hoping for good results with this one too!!

Hi, lilac lover, We do not

By Almanac Staff on August 14

Hi, lilac lover, We do not sell plants, so I'm not sure where you bought yours, but we wish you all the best!

Our Lilac tree, re bloomed on

By Sue Moffett

Our Lilac tree, re bloomed on August 1 this year. Should we prune it a bit now or wait til next year after it blooms in spring. Appleton, WI

Hi Sue, Pruning (removing the

By Almanac Staff on August 10

Hi Sue,
Pruning (removing the faded flowers) after each bloom cycle helps ensure good flowering during the next spring and late summer cycle.

We trim our lilac bush every

By skeet white

We trim our lilac bush every few years when it gets really tall. This year, we trimmed it after it bloomed like always. We had big dead branches down in the middle and one was old and rotten so I broke it off. The bush seem to look dead and still does. What did I do to it?

It's always wise to remove

By Almanac Staff

It's always wise to remove any dead or broken branches when pruning an older bush. Look around the bottom of the bush to see if you have any new growth or suckers. Add some lime and compost to the soil and wait until next spring to see if the bush will survive.

I live in WI and I have a

By Abby W.

I live in WI and I have a lilac bush, it's about 5 yr old. My dad pruned it at the wrong time. It blooms very little every year. How can I salvage it? And how can I keep the morning glories from choking it? A few years ago my sister rotartilled the old dried up vines in the garden and now I have non stopping growing morning glories over powering. I am constantly pulling them. I sure could use some help.

Hi, Abby, Lots to deal with

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Abby, Lots to deal with here. First, are you sure that you have morning glories, the self-seeding annual, or is it more likely that you have binderweed, the invasive weed? We think it's bindweed, or field bindweed, aka  false morning glory. It has plagued fields, farms, and yards for years. Here are some suggestions from a coop extension in your state—more than we could tell you here. Go to this link and click on the pdf below the "Description" information: http://learningstore.uwex.edu/Assets/pdfs/A3924-19.pdf
As for the lilac, don't be too hard on your dad; you might really appreciate his help elminating the bindweed. There is probably more going on with the lilac than the effects of a pruning sometime in the past. For example, you may have a variety that is not hardy in your part of Wisconsin. Or it may be getting too much nitrogen. Or not enough sun. Click on this link; it's a pdf with details about lilac varieties and care from the same Wisconsin source: http://learningstore.uwex.edu/assets/pdfs/A3825.pdf
We hope this helps.

Last fall Calgary had two

By Lana Crichton

Last fall Calgary had two freak snow storms during the evening (after midnight)with wet snow that clung to the large leaves and trees.After the first snow storm my son and I where able to shake the wet snow from the canopy of the lilacs.However after the second snow storm the weight of the wet snow managed to break the trees just below the canopy like a Chinese lantern.Our arborist recommended that we cut the tree back close to the ground to let it rejuvenate, it was cut back in the winter when the trees were dormant. This spring it has had new growth from the remaining stumps,however I really want to prune it so it becomes a tree (like it was before it was cut back) not a shrub like it is currently.How and when do you recommend to do this without killing the tree that was put into shock so much since last fall?The trees are old ( planted in the early 80's) but the roots are well established, in a sunny well watered area.How long do you think it will take to recover and bloom again.Imiss the original trees as the were great for privacy ,and spring fragrance and color. Thank you ,Lana Crichton

Cut out all the thin suckers

By Almanac Staff

Cut out all the thin suckers coming up around the plant at the base. Then check the lilac when it is dormant to select the shrub's strongest two or three branches and remove all others.

I have a vine plant that is

By herb miklosovic

I have a vine plant that is growing and wrapping around my lilac bushes. it is a thin plant and it seems to be chocking the lilac stems and causing them to die. what could it be and can it be eradicated safely with out ant further damage to the lilac bush.

Not knowing what type of vine

By Almanac Staff

Not knowing what type of vine you have it's hard to give advice. You can try to cut the vines back to soil level as soon as you see them. You can dig down a bit to see if the vine has spreading roots or if you can dig up the roots. Take a piece of the vine to your local nursery and see if they can identify it. Some people use Roundup on just the plants they want to get rid of. There are not many organic alternatives to Roundup.

I have moved into a house in

By carolyn_qcCaper

I have moved into a house in Cape Breton on the ocean coast. There is an about 10yr old lilac. It got blossoms, but just as they were to flower, they turned brown and dry. Has anyone any idea why

They dont flower for long.

By corners

They dont flower for long. When the flower browns and shrivels it means its dead already.

Sometimes if they get soggy they will die quick also. The Maine has been plastered with rain. Most of my flowers are browning already also.

THANK YOU so much for such a

By Ros

THANK YOU so much for such a thorough and interesting article. I haven't found much on lilacs and this answers every question I had. It's fabulous and keep up the great work. I appreciate it very much.

I have a reblooming lilac. It

By Carla McEldonwey

I have a reblooming lilac. It blooms in the spring then again in the summer. Do I cut off the old blooms that bloomed in the spring or just leave it alone? I live in WV.

Hi Carla, Cut off the faded

By Almanac Staff

Hi Carla,

Cut off the faded flowers in the spring. This will ecourage more and better flowers for the rebloom.

I find all of your planting

By it's not important

I find all of your planting information useless. You say zones 3,4,5,6,7, for planting Lilacs. ALl good and well. there is NO map to tell me what zone I'm in. Until you post a zone map with your articles I have no use for your information. By the way I am in Chicago, Illinois

There is this really cool

By Gardenguru

There is this really cool website called Google where you can look up things you don't know. Welcome to 2015. (You're in zone 5 by the way)

Seriously? You should know

By BarbH

Seriously? You should know your own zone. Research it online by Googling "USDA Climate Zones".

Go to

By Almanac Staff

Go to almanac.com/content/plant-hardiness-zones to find a link to the USDA zone map. 

I'm sure it is assumed you

By colvo

I'm sure it is assumed you know your zone. You can look it up elsewhere, but it is information the most basic gardener usually knows.

That is cool

By michele stevenson

That is cool

I don't know my

By William B.

I don't know my zone........South Florida????

You might want to learn how

By Kat Willson

You might want to learn how to use a computer before you go spewing uselessness. The dark letters with dark numbers are your zone. Click on that and you may just learn something....

Zone maps are the same for

By Jeff Neumann

Zone maps are the same for all plants. Just search online for a zone map and it will tell you what zone you live in.

Can Lilac bushes be planted

By A. Taylor

Can Lilac bushes be planted in rock?

I have a lilac bush that I

By Rebecca Brewster

I have a lilac bush that I planted 3 to 4 years ago, it is planted on the east side of my house in east TN. I realize that I have not gotten the suckers off and not put lime out in the fall, but it has never bloomed. What else am I doing wrong?

Hi, I bought a dwarf korean

By Mariella

Hi, I bought a dwarf korean lilac tree exactly a year ago. When I bought it it was in full bloom but after the spring it didn't bloom again in the summer. The leafs looked a bit weak and there were little white dots on the branches. For the winter I wrapped it with burlap and when the first signes of spring showed I took the burlap out. A couple of weeks ago I could see some blooms and I can see some leafs starting to grow now but the blooms seem dry. The white dots on the branches are still there and there is something like cobwebs (a few). Any suggestions?

All lilac species are once a

By Chris McKellar

All lilac species are once a year bloomers, with the exception of the newly released 'Bloomerang' and 'Bloomerang Purple' from Proven Winners. The white dots on the trunk and branches are called lenticels. They are part of the tree and aid the tree in "breathing". They are completely normal and actually beneficial. The cobwebs on the tree might be a type of web worm. Remove the webs with a stick and crush any caterpillars you might find. If that is too gruesome, you can place the caterpillars into a bucket of soapy water overnight then dump them out. You may have a few blooms this year because it was newly planted last year. Be patient, it will come back beautifully by next year.

I brought home a Bloomerang

By Judy Enyart

I brought home a Bloomerang purple syringa lilac bush from N.J. to Georgia. Is it going to be too hot for it here? Where would be the best place to plant it?

That particular lilac is

By Almanac Staff

That particular lilac is hardy from zones 3-7. It should be planted in an area with full sun in soil with good drainage.

I live on Long Island, ny. I

By melissa anastos

I live on Long Island, ny. I have 2 30+year old lilacs. For many years they were not tended to. 3 years ago I pruned them and followed your advice above. One of them has grown to 8+ feet and only had about 12 blooms. This one dies feet more Sun than the other. the second one still has not bloomed and is only about 4 ft tall. Both do have suckers that I remove. What an I doing wrong? Is it possible that the smaller one will never bloom again?

Every summer, after the

By DanaKing

Every summer, after the blooms that have appeared start to die, cut off those blooms. I cut off every bloom that shows and each year after more blooms come. This year I had a staggering amount of blooms! Cut them at a length where as pretending you will be putting them in a vase, even if they are dying and will only be thrown away. With the one that is not blooming, maybe try to do some pruning to shock into growing blooms next year?

I have lilac trees and they

By Lisa Herbert

I have lilac trees and they flower fine, But almost no leaves. Can you tell me why. I live in central Mass.

Hi Lisa, Make sure the trees

By Almanac Staff

Hi Lisa,
Make sure the trees get enough sun and have good air circulation. You may need to prune a bit after they are done blooming. In the fall add some lime and compost to the soil.
 

I have had a lilac bush for

By Anonymous

I have had a lilac bush for about 20 years. It has survived snow and ice storms. this year it appears to be completely dead. Does anyone know why? Our winter last year was not bad. I have never done anything with it. Why now?

It's hard to say why the bush

By Almanac Staff

It's hard to say why the bush looks dead. Cut back all the dead branches from the old bush and look and see if there is any growth (sprouts) growing around the tree. You may be able to save some of these sprouts (you can leave them where they are or dig them up and replant them). Read our planting and care advice above for more information.

I bought a lilac bush from a

By Jim Tullis

I bought a lilac bush from a nursery about three or four years ago which has since closed up.
The bush I bought they said would bloom through the summer.
It has bloomed in the more and more over the years in the spring but do not get much blooming later in the summer. Should I cut the flowers before they die off for more blooms
I live in NH.
thank you

I live in the Pacific

By Kim Gordhamer

I live in the Pacific Northwest. I bought a lilac from a nursery and it was in bloom. The next year it grew and bloomed beautifully. This year only two blooms although it has grown significantly. The lower leaves have a brown curled spot on them and my husband claims there was a bug within the curl. My other lilac within close proximity has the same brown spot on it. No blooms this year, but did buy that as a small start two years ago. Please help. Thank you.

I am in Zone 5b and it is

By Carmine

I am in Zone 5b and it is May. My lilacs are blooming. I have friends wanting to transplant some of my suckers in their own gardens. Is it still possible to transplant the suckers even though they have leaves on?

Yes, you can transplant the

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you can transplant the suckers now.

What is a sucker ive had two

By Michelle Messer

What is a sucker ive had two lilac bushes that i planted when i moved in and get very few flowers

Suckers often emerge from the

By Almanac Staff

Suckers often emerge from the base or roots of a tree and a way the plant grows. Often, we get rid of the suckers because the plant's energy is diverted to the sucker rather than to growth of the main plant.
There are several reasons lilacs do not bloom well. For example, they need lots of sun and lilacs in shade won't flower. Another reason is pruning at the wrong time (and removing the buds); lilacs should be pruned in the spring right after the flowers fade.

How do your tell the

By Lora Trezil

How do your tell the difference between new growth from the root and suckers I have about 10 new stocks coming from the ground, after taking down a mature lilac that had very limited blooms.

I recently planted a "bare

By Sonoran Sam

I recently planted a "bare root" that I ordered online. They said it was a "Edward J. Gardner" lilac. I live in Tucson, AZ - am I pushing my luck with trying to include lilacs to my garden? I know it get very hot during the summer, but I was thinking if I shade her during the summer months so might be okay. I also, didn't realize they need a good cold winter to bloom, that part might be hard. Thanks for the insight!

The lilac you bought may not

By Almanac Staff

The lilac you bought may not bloom in your USDA zone 9. It is rated for zones 3-7. There are varieties that grow in warm climates. Persian lilac (Syringa persica) is one. Planted in the shade it can survive temperatures over 100 degrees.

I live on a farm and we have

By Jo Westra

I live on a farm and we have a nice row of lilacs but the weeds are starting to take over. I pulled and hoed them last fall, but they are coming back. I would like to spray the weeds but am worried I will kill the lilacs. Is there a weed killer that won't harm the lilacs?

To avoid harming your lilacs,

By Almanac Staff

To avoid harming your lilacs, use a weed/grass killer that has sethoxydim as the active ingredient.

I bought a big beautiful

By kitty lahart

I bought a big beautiful lilac from a local plant sale. I live in Northeasteen north carolin. It looked great then I brought it home did some research put it in a mostly sunny locatio. A few days later all the flowers fell off and now I'm getting brown spot. What's happening? ? =(

I recently moved from upstate

By Homesick

I recently moved from upstate NY to northeast FL, and really miss my lilacs. I've read that there are some varieties of lilacs that can grow here (zone 9a). Is that true? And if so, when is the best time to plant? Our soil is on the sandy side. Would that be a problem?
I would so love to have lilacs, but I'm not a gardener. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you

There are a few varieties

By Almanac Staff

There are a few varieties that will grow as far south as zone 9. 'Blue Skies', 'Miss Kim' and 'Lavender Lady' are just a few. Best time to plant trees in Florida is in the winter and when the ground is moist.

I live 45 miles north of

By julie maleitzke

I live 45 miles north of St.Paul, Mn and have had a Korean lilac tree for approx. 7years. Last spring we had some kind of bugs eating the tree at the base. We got rid of them and now 1/3 of the tree is dead and many sprouts are coming around the bottom. How can I help this tree and stop the sprouts from shooting up. Should I use mulch around the base? Thank you!

I live in east central

By Kat Studnek

I live in east central Minnesota. My Lilac bush has green buds from bottom to top. Last year I thought maybe the deer roaming thru our farm were eating whatever buds they could reach, however, i keep reading that they are deer resistant. Do you know of any reason the buds only stay on the top branches and bloom??

Lilacs are considered more

By Almanac Staff

Lilacs are considered more deer-resistant than most plants but also keep in mind that no plant is truly deer-resistant; this simply means that deer will pass up the lilac if there's something better available. 
When the lilac buds and blooms are too high to reach, it means you haven't been pruning your lilac. Start by removing at least one-third of the large, old stems at ground level in late winter. The next winter, prune out one-half of the remaining old stems.  See the pruning information on this page.

Hi, Recently I saw lilacs in

By JasmineMadAbout...

Hi, Recently I saw lilacs in pots at a local nursery, and I love lilacs! I want to buy one (a nice and small Madam Lemon, the white French kind) But I would like to keep it in a pot for a couple of years, as we are planning to redo the garden landscaping in a year or two.... the plant was not too big (only half a meter or so) do you think I can keep them in a pot or will they get upset for limited space for their roots? :) thanks in advance. also what would I need if I am keeping them in a pot? (any kind of fertilizers, change of the soil, etc.?) Would really appreciate any advice. as I wanna get them while they are there.... oh, also, Are they winter hardy? will they last outdoors in Toronto winters or should I put them in the basement if they are in a pot ? :) Thanks in Advance!

Lilacs can be grown in pots

By Almanac Staff

Lilacs can be grown in pots (large containers are best) in the short term. They need lots of sun. Keep them well watered and add a handfull of 10-10-10 fertilizer to the pot when replanting. You need to protect the roots from freezing temperatures. If you leave them outdoors you can dig holes in a protected spot in your garden and bury the containers. Add some mulch around the stems. You can also store the lilacs in an unheated garage or a cool basement.

I have been growing a Miss

By Bobbi Sanchez

I have been growing a Miss Kim in a pot for over 10yrs. Every other yr or so I transplant into new slightly larger pot with fresh microcell grow potting mix. I live in an apartment so in winter I cover with a plastic garbage bag and wrap bottom with old towels or blanket. Flowers every yr and very fragrant.

I live in an apartment, and

By Shontelle

I live in an apartment, and am planting my first real balcony garden, I'd love to have a fragrant lilac tree/bush to admire. How to I go about planting one in a container and what species is best? Also, how do I keep it from dieing over the winter? (I live in Canada with very frigid winters)

Like my other outdoor

By Chris darkes

Like my other outdoor bonsai.. I can store this in my u heated garage and just keep the soil wet and not water as often?
My junipers and maples survived this winter. I put them inside around thanksgiving and brought them out as soon as it was nice out.

Thanks so much for quick

By JasmineMadAbout...

Thanks so much for quick reply! :)

I have two lilacs between 15

By J. Ownby

I have two lilacs between 15 and 20 years old. A couple of years ago one started having small leaves with a red tint. The canes started dieting. It appears to be dead this year except there are a few suckers. Now the other bush has a cane starting to do the same thing and one dead cane. Do they die from old age or do I have a problem. The man who mows the lawn had been trimming away any suckers until I fenced it last year. Will the suckers contine to grow and make a new bush?

I'm in Minnesota and planted

By maggie245

I'm in Minnesota and planted three common purple two years ago. They are growing well, gaining in height and getting a few leaf buds now that it is warming up here - it's their third spring. Here's the thing: they have not had any blooms yet. I expected it the first year but not the second. What do you think?

So I was told you can take

By Rick Moore

So I was told you can take the suckers and transplant to another place for new plants. Is that true and do you have to do anything before you do it. Do you have to root them before you plant them and the best time to plant them. I live in Montana.

Plant suckers before buds

By Almanac Staff

Plant suckers before buds emerge in the spring or after the leaves have dropped from the shrub in fall. Your best bet is to find a sucker (ideally 2 to 3 foot tall). With a spade dig down around the sucker. You'll find a connecting root leading back to the main stem. Cut this root off just outside of the sucker's root ball. Remove the sucker with the roots and plant it in a big pot with potting soil or directly in the ground. Water well.

I have a long bed of 5 Miss

By Jeff Cooper

I have a long bed of 5 Miss Kims that is 4 feet tall and about 5 years old. They bloom wonderfully but this last winter they suffered sever snow bank damage and about half of the stems were broken off near the ground, mostly on one side of the plant. Can I safely cut the plants back to 6-8 inches from the ground ? I realize I will have to wait several years for re bloom.

Hi Jeff, You have two

By Almanac Staff

Hi Jeff,
You have two options. You can prune the bushes back to 6 to 8 inches now or you can prune the damaged branches and leave the stems that are healthy for now. The healthy stems may flower this spring and then you can prune them back right after blooming.

I live in Wisconsin, my Lilac

By DebbieVR

I live in Wisconsin, my Lilac Busch is about 15 years old, and is a beautiful braded tree. This winter the moles ate all the bark off the trunk from ground up about two feet. We just noticed it on Friday when the snow started to melt down. Is there anything we can do to save the tree/busch?

Hi, I transplanted some lilac

By Stephanie Franchini

Hi, I transplanted some lilac shoots from my grandparents last year. They seemed to be thriving and just last night the deer (or someonone) tore off the tops with burgeoning buds. The canes are gnawed, split, and crushed. Is it bad to prune them back to where I can get a clean cut? And where do I cut? What can I do to deter them from grazing on the lilacs again? They also got my maples and arborvitae, but I'm most concerned about my lilacs because they are irreplaceable as we sold my grandparents' house last year. :(. Also, will cutting the tips off now alter the growth of the canes? It is early March and I am in Northern IL on the Wisconsin border, and it's a balmy mid-40's here the last few days. The canes were about 24" high. Thanks for any help. I do not want to damage them further.

Cut off the damaged sections

By Almanac Staff

Cut off the damaged sections of the shoots. Lilacs are hardy plants and if the roots are healthy they will grow new shoots. To protect the lilacs from any further damage put up a simple fence around them.

Has anyone successfully

By Ann Faulk

Has anyone successfully "tricked" their lilacs into delaying their blooms by a few weeks? My daughter is getting married in early June and asked me to grow all of her flowers for the event. One of the things she wants is white lilac as part of her arrangements. We live in CA, zone 8 and all of the lilacs in my yard usually bloom late March-late April. I went ahead and planted 3 yr old root stock plants in Oct. in 15 gallon buckets, and moved them to winter at a friends house that lives at a higher elevation - closer to zone 7. It's mid-Feb. now and we have had an incredibly warm winter so far and I am beginning to wonder if I should move the pots up higher - to NV, a zone 6b. I'm trying to delay the bloom to late, late May. Anyone have experience doing this and be willing to offer suggestions?

Anyone got an ice machine???

By Alexandra P

Anyone got an ice machine??? I imagine dumping a bucket or two of ice on the root zone daily would trick the tree into believing winter was still upon us. Good Luck - our wedding was April 25th in Gibsons BC. We had loads of white and purple lilacs just perfectly blooming at our wedding! So lovely. But whatever the flowers, her wedding will be amazing.

We bought our first home 2

By Lori Reinholz

We bought our first home 2 years ago in upstate South Carolina and have a large front yard to landscape. The yard gets full sun because there is only 1 tree. We have planted quite a few trees, but will take years to grow. My question is based on where we live, would lilacs be good to plant in our area?

we just bought a couple

By c e s

we just bought a couple buckets of old time lilacs from a guy in marietta sc and they are a hardy plant and grow well so you should have no issues if you prepare the ground as needed. call your local 4H office for recommendations

Hey Lori! I'm Lori Batchler

By Lori Batchler

Hey Lori! I'm Lori Batchler from upstate SC, Blacksburg. 50 miles from Greenville, SC and 50 from Charlotte, NC.
I have my lilac bush close to my house in full sun. It grows and blooms beautifully.

Common lilacs (Syringa

By Almanac Staff

Common lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) often have challenges in such warm regions. Often, they will get powdery mildew or borers. However, some horticulturists and readers seem to find that ‘Miss Kim’, a cultivar of Syringa patula, is a lilac that can take hot Southern conditions. You may also wish to consider the flowering tree, Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia species), which is often called the "lilac of the south."

We lost half of our 30

By Larry & Vickie Laughlin

We lost half of our 30 something year old hedgerow of Lilacs (along with 400 pine trees). We've got about 25 Lilacs left standing, in good shape and I want to transplant them now, just as Winter has arrived. They are 10-12' high, blocking our new view from the new house and we sorely need something to the South of our home (a desert currently, here in Colorado Springs).
I believe that because the Lilac Bushes are in a dormant state (with light snow on the ground), NOW might be the best time to shift them to new soil (mostly decomposed granite and whatever else was left from the forest fire). Is this a safe move right now? Otherwise, when is IDEAL to transplant? I know that I'll want to amend the soil where each plant is placed, then water in. Thanks, LKL

As long as the ground is not

By Almanac Staff

As long as the ground is not frozen this is a good time to transplant lilacs. These are old lilacs and may have big root systems. Try to get as much as possible of the root system. Good luck.

I live in New Mexico and I

By 21 yr landscaper

I live in New Mexico and I would defiantly wait for the last freeze, make sure you plant them well before the hot summer it can over stress them and they are already stressed by the transplant it's self..get a nice big rootball and lots of water for the first week or two..

We moved into a house 2 years

By butterflymama5

We moved into a house 2 years ago with 2 lilac bushes on the side of the house. They are only about 2 - 2 1/2 ft off the house. They are tall (about 6+ ft) and the backs that are against the house are just sticks, no leaves. The first year they did bloom but this year they only got about a total of 5 flowers between the two of them. I'm not sure whether to dig them up or just cut them low. What would you recommend with them being so close to the house? Thanks!

If you want to keep your

By CindyMR

If you want to keep your lilac bushes, wait till after they bloom in Spring and then trim. NEVER trim lilac after June. It will take off next years flowers that start setting in July. (Cut to the ground,) any branches with no leaves on them, cut any that are touching the houses, and trim bush to look nice. Sprinkle bonemeal around the bushes to help with next years flowers.

I'm no expert, but I love lilacs and to search and find information about lilacs for me is fun. There are many sites that you can go check out like this one on the net. Do some searches and you will find tons of fellow lilac growers. Good luck and happy growing!

I am ready to plant out two

By Michelle Owen

I am ready to plant out two small lilac shrubs and would like to put them in a garden bed on each side of our inground pool waterfall, this spot is in full sun all day.
I read from your responses to others that there should be at least 20 meters from domestic drains...would this apply to our concrete inground pool too?
Thank you.

They are likey to penetrate

By 21 yr landscaper

They are likey to penetrate Water lines that leak but unlikely to break sound pipes. Lilac roots generally grow 1 to 1 1/2 times the width of the shrub. Try to plant them at least 8-10 feet from water or sewer lines to be safe.

How and when should I

By Rachel P

How and when should I transplant my lilac bushes? I purchased a home and the previous owner planted lilac bushes under a big tree where the lilacs get little sun. Thank you for any guidance you can offer.

My lilac bush blooms in the

By sherry clabaugh

My lilac bush blooms in the spring. This year it is strating to bloom again. Should i be worried about it?

My wife had a lilac bush

By Jeff Mayer

My wife had a lilac bush about 3' tall planted on a slope at the corner of our paved driveway, There is a long log berm on one side to hold back the slope from the driveway and unfortunately in heavy rains (which we get a lot of) water
pours down through this corner area. She thought the plant would help prevent erosion of the soil in that spot. It doesn't, and mulch and soil got washed away so easily that I had to put a layer of garden stones over the area to help hold it. Needless to say the lilac is not thriving, leaves are brown and curling and falling off. Is there something I can do to help it survive in this location or would it be best to try to move it to a better drained are?

Hi Jeff, You will be better

By Almanac Staff

Hi Jeff,
You will be better off moving the lilac to a different location. Depending on where you live you should do it as soon as possible, before the cold weather arrives. Look att our planting advice on this page for best results.

I purchased through the mail

By Byron's LuLu

I purchased through the mail a Lilac about 20 years ago. I planted it and it bloomed. Then for about 17 years it didn't. It remained no taller than about 2'. About 2 years ago it grew a side branch (still short)full of leaves and it had 2 blooms!!..also 2 more shoots from the main plant. I lost my husband and was forced to move from my home..I just felt the need to take the lilac with me. I figured I would lose roots, but it was small, so I gave it a try. That was Los Angeles, CA. I potted it around end of May..or 1st of June this yr. And yes, had to cut a large root. The leaves have begun to curl under, but the ends are FULL of leaf buds that seem to be sleeping but firm. I am now by the sea..Central Coast, CA. Do we have a chance?

Hi Lulu, Well...lilacs are

By Greenwood Nursery

Hi Lulu,
Well...lilacs are typically cooler weather plants. Even here in TN (zone 7) is about as far south as the old fashioned lilac will grow.
Heat and humidity are not welcomed by lilacs and would be the reason for not blooming or growing to it's potential in your location.
After digging and potting your plant, it was certainly stressed, but, it does sound as though the plant is sleeping. Try to keep it in the 'coolest' area of your yard where it is not in direct path of the warm winds coming off the water. A shaded and protected area would be good. Keep watch so that the soil doesn't dry out and it should leaf out in spring. Best!

I live in north central

By Angela Dennis

I live in north central Indiana. I bought a new lilac bush this spring and planted it appropriately. It is about knee high (too high for 5 gallon bucket). As this is my first lilac I need to know if i need to cover it this winter. Thanks Angie

Lilacs are very hardy and

By Almanac Staff

Lilacs are very hardy and don't need much protection. Your bush is still very young so you can add some mulch to protect it from the really cold temps.

Hi, I took a sapling from my

By mel7977

Hi, I took a sapling from my grandmother's house in northwestern PA and have it in a pot at my house in southern Indiana just outside of Louisville KY. I am worried that it might freeze this winter if I plant it now. Would it survive indoors? How much sun would it need in the winter?

It would be best if you can

By Almanac Staff

It would be best if you can plant the lilac outdoors as soon as possible. Water well and add mulch around the plant. See our planting advice above. Lilacs need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight.

I have a very old lilac hedge

By PegCityGinny

I have a very old lilac hedge that runs along my fence. I just moved into this house and need to drastically cut it back. I don't think it has been pruned in 5-10 years and it is completely overgrown. I have had to trim the section that runs along the road even though it is fall here because the branches were stretching on to the street and disrupting the view of drivers. I would also like to cut about 1-2 feet off the top of the hedge but am wondering if I should wait until spring to do this? I live in Manitoba. Also, will cutting the top increase the number of leaves that grow further down? The hedge acts as privacy but because it has gotten so tall there aren't as many leaves lower down.

Wait till Spring after the

By CindyMR

Wait till Spring after the lilacs flower and then prune. If you prune now, you will cut the flowers that are set for next Spring.
I love looking up information about Lilacs on the web. Hope this helps

I live in northern NJ on the

By BOB P.

I live in northern NJ on the top of a mountain/hill and have 2 big, purple lilac bushes.
I have a few seedlings that have com up about 2ft. high or so and want to transplant them to another are close by. The soil here seems dry. Do I need to add lime or mircale grow?

Also, the seeds have been coming out brown for a couple of yrs or more. Is there something wrong with them?

Hi Bob, If your soil is dry

By Almanac Staff

Hi Bob,
If your soil is dry or sandy add compost before planting the seedlings. See our planting and care advice above. Lilacs usually produce clusters of brown seed pods after flowering.

I was wondering if the

By Mrs Johnny Jones

I was wondering if the clusters of brown seeds that the lilacs produce, would grow easily n their own and produce new bushes or not?

Thanks for the quick

By BOB P.

Thanks for the quick response. I forgot to check this.
Compost meaning peat moss or something like that?
How many seedlings should I plant together to have success n do you how long with they take to get about 5/6 ft. high?

Compost is usually made by

By Almanac Staff

Compost is usually made by gathering plant material, such as leaves, grass clippings, and vegetable peels, into a pile or bin and letting it decompose. You can find bags of compost at your local garden center. Don't plant the seedlings too close. Give them some room to develop roots. It will take a few years for the lilacs to grow 5 feet high.

Pale leaves? Last year, I

By Jenny m

Pale leaves? Last year, I planted a row of lilacs I dug up from my mom's bushes. I have very sandy alkaline soil here, just northwest of the Twin Cities by about an hour. I added two new ones this year, and noticed that the older ones, while they otherwise look healthy, have very pale yellow leaves, not the nice dark green of the new ones. I mulch them with compost and a bit of bone meal in fall and spring and they had suckers this spring. They are about 4 feet from the road (and snow plow) and two feet from a natural gas line. Could this be harming them, maybe a leak? Or is it a nutrient deficiency? I am afraid to add lime to an already alkaline soil.

Yellow leaves can be caused

By Almanac Staff

Yellow leaves can be caused by too much or too little water. If your road is salted in the winter that can contribute to the problems.
Spread a few inches of dry aged manure around the lilacs in early spring and midsummer next year. The aged manure helps replenish nutrients to the soil and the manure also helps in moisture retention.

I live in Sac CA and have a 8

By Sacramento CA

I live in Sac CA and have a 8 yr established dwarf korean lilac. I noticed this year there are less leaves and blooms. Recently I noticed portions of my bush are dying and the leaves are drying from the ends inward. What can I do to try and save this once beautiful bush?

Your problems can be weather

By Almanac Staff

Your problems can be weather related. Hot dry summers or harsh winters can cause a lilac to not put out as many leaves as usual. Have you checked the soil? Potassium and/or magnesium deficiency can cause a lilac not to grow well. Diseases and bugs can also cause leaves and branches to die. Remove and discard the dying branches and inspect for insects. Water well.

I would like to plant my

By Larry Barrington

I would like to plant my "Miss Kim" Lilac in a small bed in front of a lamp post. Any problem keeping it pruned short to avoid it blocking the post and lamp too much? Will the roots be an issue?
Thanks

Hi I bought a lilac plant

By Eugene t Reilly

Hi I bought a lilac plant about 12 inches high and I planted it in my garden
somebody stood on it and broke it completely off from where it come above the soil
I found it 5 days later is it possible to take cuttings of it or is it to late.

Hi, Eugene: Although somewhat

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Eugene: Although somewhat difficult, it is indeed possible to grow lilacs from cuttings, but the cuttings need to be relatively fresh -- which yours don't seem to be. That being said, you've got nothing to lose, so dip the cutting ends in water and then in rooting hormone (ask your garden center), and then put them in some (continually) moist peat pots deep enough so that they don't fall over. Keep them well misted and lit for at least a month. Eventually, give them a little tug to see if you get resistance -- then you'll know. In the meantime, nurture what remains in the ground by making sure that it does not dry out. Good luck!

HELLO ALMANACERS... I

By LAYNA

HELLO ALMANACERS...

I received a cutting from a neighbour, a few years back, and planted it in a pot...the first year, or so, it was growing nice and green...slow growth, but, still, it kept growing...the last two years...I have had to pick off browning leaves...I still have it in the pot, as, it has not outgrown it yet...I keep it on a table next to my cottage door...what do I do about this browning leaf problem?...It is still, only about 2 feet tall...has little baby growths, starting at the dirt level, as well.
When, will it start producing buds for flowers? Should I compost around it? When to transplant to bigger pot?
Thankyou, Layna in Vancouver, Canada.

Hi, Layna: This is your

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Layna: This is your lilac's way of saying, Get me out of here! Yes, it's time to transplant to unlimited soil and sunlight--and all will be well! Good luck!

I recently planted a young

By Juliett Jones

I recently planted a young Dwarf lilac, its been a week and a half or so since I planted it. Roots were in a huge ball in the planter, but I didnt see any rope or burlap that needed removing. We have had good rainfall amounts so I don't think it's thirsty, but its leaves are drying up and brittle. I'm told it may still be suffering transplant shock but I'm worried that maybe I should have un-balled the roots or planted it deeper then I did. I listened to my mother when she said to just take it out of the planter and plop it in the ground as I have never planted anything before. SHould I dig it back up and check the roots, then plant it deeper or leave it be and place some compost or plant sticks around it? I don't know what to do but it's my 1st plant so Im a bit attached to it and worried that I killed it somehow.

You didn't mention where you

By Almanac Staff

You didn't mention where you live. Generally the best time to plant a lilac is in the fall or spring. Leave the lilac in the ground for now and try to shade it if you have hot weather. Make sure that the soil is moist.

Madison, WI I planted some

By Rick Kohrs

Madison, WI
I planted some very young lilacs this summer and they are now about 7" tall. Chances are they will be completely covered with snow this winter. Is there anything special I should do to protect the little guys?

What if you try covering them

By Denise Rowlee

What if you try covering them with 5 gallon buckets, you can get them from local restaurants. It will protect the fragile branches from being broken.

Hello I purchased a 5 Gallon

By GailS

Hello I purchased a 5 Gallon Miss Kim Lilac this spring (May 10), planted it and last week it was accidently cut off at the root by a bobcat tractor. The root is still in the ground but the plant is totally gone. Just wondering if there is any hope of it coming back? I plan on returning to the nursery to purchase another but not sure if I should dig up the root base of the existing one? Thanks

my husband "accidently" ran

By Denise Rowlee

my husband "accidently" ran over one of mine with the lawn mower, if there is enough root, it will come up again.

Hi, Gail: We wouldn't give up

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Gail: We wouldn't give up on it. Chances are that it will put up new shoots and in 3 or 4 years you will be back in business!

I recently transplanted a

By Carrie Brooks

I recently transplanted a lilac bush. Some of the leaves that were green are now brown. Should I trim all the branches? Is there any hope to save it?

It sounds like stress from

By Almanac Staff

It sounds like stress from being dried out. Lilacs need deep and infrequent watering not shallow, frequent watering. You can water about 9 to 12 inches deep in one go, then wait until the ground is dry down to 6 inches deep, then repeat. We would also mist the leaves of a newly planted lilac.
Do not prune it! That's more stress. Do not overwater. Do not fertilize. If the plant is still green beneath the bark, there is a chance for recovery. Continue with normal care and see if it recovers. If it's too far gone, you'll need a new plant. Good luck!

30 years ago, my wife and I

By David Berrey

30 years ago, my wife and I saw lilacs 25-35 feet tall with 6-8 inch dia trunks. They were limbless to about 10 feet above the concrete and had a 12 to 16 foot dia drip line. There were more than 6 trees planted in 4 foot dia holes ( one tree per hole, no suckers/shoots, just trunk) in a concrete patio in Woodville Idaho. Assuming they were grafted what would be a good choice for root/trunk stock?

I have pink and purple lilac

By Sally Finlirez

I have pink and purple lilac bushes in my garden. The leaves on the pink flowering bushes are discolouring and there are bracket fungus growing heavily along the base of the bush. Im not sure what kind of bracket it is but has similar colourings to the Turkey fungus. The brackets continue up along the trunk about 5 feet gradually getting smaller and tapering off. The purple flowering bush does not seem affected by this and is about 4 feet away. However the other two pink ones that are some distance away have the same problem. Please help! I would hate to lose the bushes but do not want to lose my garden at the expense of a few bushes. How do I eradicate the fungus and get my lilacs healthy again?

There are several types of

By Almanac Staff

There are several types of bracket fungi. These fungi usually attack old and weak trees and bushes after a tree has been damaged by man or nature. Some suggest to remove branches with the fungi to prevent further spread and also to improve the soil and growing conditions. The fungi likes moisture so make sure the soil drains well and that the lilacs don't stand in wet soil. There is not much else you can do. 

We received as a gift a

By Martha P.

We received as a gift a little twiggy, slender lilac sapling my friend's dad had begun. We were told to plant in a sunny spot and add MiracleGro to the dirt and to water it daily. We live in Southern California and it has been a very dry, hot spring and summer, so we make sure the ground is always watered. The tree leaves are wilted, curling under but still look green, but we are not seeing any new growth...did we kill it? Please advise..

In CA you could also be

By trish64012 on August 12

In CA you could also be experiencing Aphids. They live tender weakened leaves.aybe at a health food you you can find Diatomatious Earth and sprinkle it on the plant if ylu see Aphids. DE makes quick work of killing off Aphids...took me years to find out abput it, but is not a chemical and can also be sprinkled on rugs bedding or furniture (as well as pets) for flea control! Leave on bedding etc and vacuum up after a day or two...reapply to kill off any eggs that may of hatched. 

You may be choking the roots

By Almanac Staff

You may be choking the roots with too much water. Make sure the site drains well.

I have a wooden fence around

By Jonnykay

I have a wooden fence around my back yard and want to plant lilacs in two back corners. How far out from the fences should I plant them?

Lilac roots can spread 8 feet

By Almanac Staff

Lilac roots can spread 8 feet or more. And one source suggests keeping it 20 feet from any domestic drainage pipes or the like.

Please tell me if Lilacs can

By Jeffrey Whitney

Please tell me if Lilacs can be grown in New Port Richey, Florida. Central West Coast. Thank You.

In general, the common lilac

By Almanac Staff

In general, the common lilac (Syringa) doesn't thrive in Florida's climate. A plant with a similar look is crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) however it doesn't have that same lilac scent.

I live in the Florida

By Judi Pannell

I live in the Florida Panhandle, Plant Hardiness Zone 8b. Would it be possible to grow lilacs here? I already have plenty of crepe myrtles but miss my mother's lilac from Michigan.

Hello! Last year we planted

By Carolin

Hello! Last year we planted three tall lilacs in our backyard and are having issues with droopy leaves. We thought we killed them last year, but they have come back. They are planted in an area with full sun, are spaced appropriately and we are careful not to over water or over fertilize. Unfortunately we can't seem to get them looking healthy. Last night we had an intense thunderstorm and I noticed they are looking much better this morning. I've heard storms add nitrogen to soil. Could this be my issue? Thanks!

I just transplanted some

By Todd Howell

I just transplanted some lilac suckers at my home in central mn on June 7th that already leafed out. Of 8 plants 3 are showing some transplant stress but the rest look normal the stressed plants are about 3 feet high. Will these 8 plants be ok seeing that they have leafed out before transplanting.

A transplanted lilac may take

By Almanac Staff

A transplanted lilac may take 1 to 3 years for it to recover and bloom. Hang in there!

We would like to plant some

By occas99

We would like to plant some Miss Kim Lilac shrubs to provide some privacy to our back yard. We live in a condo community where we need to get the board's approval to do this. We have submitted our request but the board is concerned about the roots of the shrubs since we'd like to plant the lilacs in a spot that is about 10 feet from a leeching field. Can you tell me anything about how big the root system would get for these lilacs? Thanks!

Lilac roots can spread 8 feet

By Almanac Staff

Lilac roots can spread 8 feet or more. And one source suggests keeping it 20 feet from any domestic drainage pipes or the like.

I wanted to know if it would

By Christy Bruesewitz

I wanted to know if it would be ok to transplant the lilacs coming up next to my big lilacs in between my row of pine trees. Would the soil with all the pine needles be good for it?

Pine trees are tough. They

By Almanac Staff

Pine trees are tough. They suck up moisture, cast lots of shade, and are generally not especially hospitable. Lilacs are not the best choice as they require lots of sun and moisture. If you wish to plant near the pine, the best options are plants that tolerate some shade, acidic soil, and low moisture. Examples: hydrangea, azalea, rhododendron, and bleeding heart.

I live just north of

By De Oude

I live just north of Minnesota in Ontario and have a Korean Dwarf Lilac. Most trees have leaves now, but my Korean has green branches but no leaves and the buds don't look that healthy. Is it possible it is just late? We had an extremely cold winter. Or is it dying? What can I do?

The Korean dwarf lilac is a

By Almanac Staff

The Korean dwarf lilac is a late bloomer. It usually blooms in late May early June in northern regions. If the branches are still green it's alive and hopefully will bloom soon.

We live in Colorado, and our

By RachelLM

We live in Colorado, and our soil contains quite a bit of clay. We planted two lilac shrubs on Sunday, (it's Tuesday) and the leaves are starting to curl. We dug twice as deep and twice as wide before planting the shrubs, and filled with half gardening soil and half native soil. Do you have any recommendations? I've been watering them a decent amount so they can get established, but I wouldn't say overwatering. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

I hate to argue with Almanac,

By Viki D.

I hate to argue with Almanac, however, you list the zone for lilac bushes as "3." Other sites show up to zone 7, and get this... we grow lilacs ALL THE TIME in Sacramento, California where we are zone 9! We don't just grow the "California" version either. Sacramento has a couple of months of frost each winter and lilacs LOVE it here.

I have two healthy lilacs on

By pxpatty

I have two healthy lilacs on the east side of my home in Sacramento. One is from a one gallon dying bush that I bought for $2.50 several years ago and the other is from one if its seedlings. My lilacs seem to love Sacramento. Or maybe they just love me.

Hello Viki, Thanks for

By Almanac Staff

Hello Viki,
Thanks for pointing this out. In editing this page the zone range was not picked up correctly. Most lilacs are hardy in zones 3 to 7. You are lucky to grow lilacs in zone 9.

My Beauty of Moscow was

By Helen Maples

My Beauty of Moscow was accidently mowed on June 1st. What can I do to save the plant It was approximately 1 foot high.

Hi, Helen, This is not

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Helen, This is not something we have direct experience with (yet), so we'll tell you what we would do. Wait a while. Hopefully, the mower blade was set high and there is something left of the plant, some shred of a stem. It might have enough root to come back from this. If/when it makes an adequate recovery (as seen by new growth), then gently clear the grass from around it and mulch it. In the meantime, make sure that it is clearly marked on your property. You don't want someone stepping on it. Or mowing it again. Good luck!

I bought a very healthy

By nini24

I bought a very healthy looking 4-feet tall Little Kim Lilac in a pot, it was full of blooms.

I was busy so it was left inside the garage for 3 days, after I took it outside and watered it, the next day the leafs were all curled up and blooms look wilted and lost their fragrance.

Is it dying because it was kept inside for 3 days or did I give it too much water? is there a way to make it come back to how it was? Thanks.

This is a generally

By Almanac Staff

This is a generally low-maintenance variety; however, it likes full sun and medium water. If the garage takes direct sun and it was closed, it may have become oppressively hot in there and weakened the plant. A full soak or two, allowed to drain off, in moderate sun could help but it could take a couple or a few days. In the meantime, consult the folks that you bought it from or a local nursery.

I have a lilac bush that has

By AmandaPuett

I have a lilac bush that has been therefor 5 years. I fertilized my lawn ( next to the bush) and sprayed a weed killer on same lawn this year. The lilac was very happy and blooming and now some blooms are dead in their tracks and the leaves are wilting in some spots, but not the whole bush. Please help! Have I killed it?

We can't tell if you killed

By Almanac Staff

We can't tell if you killed it, Amanda, but the chemicals could certainly be affecting it. Read the labels on the ferilizer and weed killer packaging. (If you discarded it after using, revisit your source and read it there.) Some provide warnings about use near other plants, and many provide phone numbers for specific questions such as this. Call and ask about the ingredients (especially the weed killer's components) and what effect they might have. They might advise watering to dilute; you won't know what to do until you know what it is.

I live in Buffalo New York

By Lisa Timmons

I live in Buffalo New York and have a lilac bush that is many years old.. for years the flowers have been all over the bush and plentiful but now the just grow at the top (for the past 2 years or so ) . Please help I love lliacs but would love to see more flowers ???

Hi Lisa, This is a common

By Almanac Staff

Hi Lisa, This is a common question. Many old lilacs only flower at the top--and you really do want those gorgeous fragrant lilacs at eye-level.
The best practice is to cut back the entire plant within 6 to 8 inches of the ground before they leaf out (usually March or early April). You won't get flowers the first season but this severe pruning induces shoots to develop during the growing season. The following year, select the strongest, healthiest shoots and cut back to just above the bud to encourage branching. Remove all other shoots at ground level.
Or, for a more reserved approach, try a three-year program: Chop off one-third of all the older canes back as close to the ground as possible. The plant will send up a flush of leafy growth that should bud this summer and look better next year. Repeat the process every year until you have pruned all the older canes. Don't prune too late (after July) or you remove the flower buds for the next growing season.

I recently bought 3 lilac

By KSouthern

I recently bought 3 lilac bushes, I planted them last weekend. I have been watering them regularly, some of the leaves are turning dark green and curlying under. Am I over watering or is something else happening? I am just starting to try and plant things. My soil is very sandy, I put composte and top soil into the holes that I dug. Thank you for any information!!

Curling leaves are often a

By Almanac Staff

Curling leaves are often a sign of dryness. Try digging into the soil to see if the moisture is getting to the roots. Your noting that your soil is sandy is a clue, even if you did the right things by adding compost and soil. The question is, is there enough of these ingredients for the plant to have a chance to absorb the water? Although lilacs don't like to sit in water, water passes quickly through sand—maybe too quickly for your plant to get any. Water more often, even laying the hose running lightly to moderately (not gushing and pushing soil around) and see if there is improvement. You might have to remove it, enlarge the hole, add more compost and soil, even peat moss (which holds water), and replant.

I recently bought lilacs

By Miss Angie

I recently bought lilacs (syringa vulgaris) and not sure how to plant them. Said to plant now but first soak the roots for several hours in hours. Is this what I should do? Not sure how to plant too ( no green thumb here). I know you said spring and fall is the best time to plant. I live in Central PA..

Miss Angie, We would never

By Almanac Staff

Miss Angie, We would never argue with directions on a plant tag. Soak the roots in a bucket or under a running hose or the like until saturated. This will help them adjust to being underground, however, you still meed to water the plant in its new spot.
See "Planting" above for more advice on planting. (Note that we say above that lilacs do not like "wet feet," but yours says right on it to soak it. If you have further questions about that, you might consult the source from which you got the plant.)
Enjoy it!

I live in MA and have 5 old

By echogirl3142

I live in MA and have 5 old fashioned purple lilacs lining my property line. I bought and planted then 5 years ago, and even the first year-when the nursery deemed them dead, once we got them home and planted they shot up, out and bloomed profusely. They've done beautifully each year up until now. This year we have TONS of blooms on each plant, but 4/5 have almost no leaves. There don't appear to be any signs of distress,mold, borers etc..and we've had an "average" spring with normal rain, and temps, but we did have a bitingly cold winter. Any ideas one why the plants would be in full bloom but with minimal leaves?!

Thanks in advance!

The severe winter can have

By Almanac Staff

The severe winter can have caused some of the leaf problems. We recommend that you add bonemeal and compost to the soil around the lilacs and also add some mulch on top to keep the soil nice and moist. After the blooms have faded prune out any dead branches and cut some of the longer branches.

Four years ago I got lilac

By Ruth Joress

Four years ago I got lilac cuttings for a gift and planted them in my yard in full sun. The purple bush is now about 6 feet tall and very lush but only has a few blooms at the top ( 2nd year of blooms). The white plant is smaller and has more blooms. The flowers are gorgeous! How do I get my large bush to flower more? The bush looks like it's thriving but hardly any flowers! Thanks for any advice,
Ruth Joress

Lilacs need time to mature

By Almanac Staff

Lilacs need time to mature before they begin flowering. Your plants are still young. The blooms for the first few years will be sparse but should increase with time. Most varieties start blooming after three or four years.

I live in south central

By Stephen Meads

I live in south central Alaska. I planted a lilac bush in a tractor tire with a foot radius and 7 inch depth. will the roots be able to spread under the tire.

Lilacs do not like to be

By Almanac Staff

Lilacs do not like to be planted too deep but 7 inches is a bit shallow; recommended depth is about 12 inches. If the tire is only a ring around the tree and and not a true container, the plant's roots should grow into the ground. Your bigger question is will it survive a hungry moose. See http://www.alaskamastergardeners.org/Lilacs.html for Alaska Master Gardeners' thoughts on this.

I have a lilac tree on the

By gretchen milliman

I have a lilac tree on the corner of my house. I can't tell you how old it is because it was here when we moved in. It is taller then the house and does have some flowers on it. The problem is the roots are so huge its pushing the foundation. So, how do I like get rid of those with out killing the tree?

Hi, Gretchen, It would be

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Gretchen,
It would be difficult to impossible to save the tree if you remove the roots. You could move the tree, and from sound of the size of it, that would be a major undertaking. But it would eliminate the roots. We suggest that you contact a professional arborman or woman for an opinion.

oh yea i live in jackson

By gretchen milliman

oh yea i live in jackson michigan... the roots are very deep and are as big around as a bar on a grill guard for a truck.

Good Morning, I would like

By Ellie O'Shei

Good Morning,
I would like to plant my lilac bush near my windows but I'm worried about planting to close to the house. How far should it be away from the house?
Thank you!

Hi, Ellie, Consider this:

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Ellie, Consider this: lilac roots can spread 8 feet or more. And one source suggests keeping it 20 feet from any domestic drainage pipes or the like. It really depends on how much space you have.
Best wishes!

I live in upstate SC near the

By beckyb

I live in upstate SC near the mountains. I planted a lilac in my new neighborhood yard last spring. It had a little bloom. We had a ton of rain. It dropped all leaves and looked dead for the rest of the year but came back this spring. This year, we had a late freeze but a few weeks ago, it bloomed and looked very healthy. Now the blooms and leaves are dead again....Its only May but we had hot weather. I have been watering. It gets about 6 hours of sun no evening sun. Why do the leaves keep dying off? We have red clayish soil.

Lilacs drop leaves if they

By Almanac Staff

Lilacs drop leaves if they get too much water or too little water. You clay soil is not the best choice for lilacs. Try amending the soil around the lilac with compost and sand. Then add some mulch to the top of the soil.

Hi, I have a lilac bush

By Joan Daniel

Hi, I have a lilac bush that's about 5 yrs old planted on the west side of my apt that has never bloomed. It's right next to the brick of my apt. I'm wondering if it may be too hot in the summer and not getting enough sunlight? It's still only about 2 feet tall. Should I transplant it into a large container? Our apts won't let us plant out in the yard and I'm in a four-plex type apt so I've got western and southern exposure in my part of the yard and we have a large live oak in the yard next door to me so my front yard gets shade for most of the morning and then the late afternoon sunlight. I'm in Weatherford, Texas. Thank you for any help you can give me!

Hi Joan, Growing lilacs in

By Almanac Staff

Hi Joan,
Growing lilacs in Texas can be tricky. Not knowing what variety of lilac you have you can try to plant it in a container and see what happens. You need a lilac variety that is heat tolerant and accepts mild winters. The cut-leaf lilac with small clusters of fragrant flowers will do well. Here are a few other lilacs that also do well in the south: 'Lavender Lady', 'Blue Boy, 'Sylvan Beauty'  and 'Miss Kim'.

I have lilac trees that have

By carol wholaver

I have lilac trees that have white stuff on them, what can I do to preserve them? had another one further away from the ones now that got the white stuff on it and it did die for me but that has been a couple years. what can I do??

Powdery mildew, a fungus, is

By Almanac Staff

Powdery mildew, a fungus, is common on lilacs in humid conditions and little air circulation. It usually doesn't harm the lilac but you can treat it with horticultural oils found at garden centers.

Hi, I'm over in the UK and

By anonymous

Hi, I'm over in the UK and have just bought a Katherine havemeyer lilac. Admittedly, I bought it reduced as it is obviously last years stock. It has a trunk and 2 main branches with about 6 buds that havent bloomed yet but only about 5 leaves. Is this a problem? If so is it something that pruning will sort?

Just planted some lilacs from

By RoseK

Just planted some lilacs from the nursery and did not remove burlap and rope. I thought they disintegrated with time. Do I need to dig up and remove the burlap? Thanks for the advice.

Hi Rose, If the burlap is all

By Almanac Staff

Hi Rose, If the burlap is all natural, it should rot over time. Sometimes folks aren't sure whether it's natural or synthetic material. (Natural material will burn while synthetic will melt.) Untreated natural burlap has a tan color and is biodegradable.

I just purchased a lilac

By Kathie K.

I just purchased a lilac brush. I would like to know if they are deer resistant or will the deer eat them?

Lilacs are deer resistant and

By Lynelise

Lilacs are deer resistant and are one of the few deer resistant plants in my yard that the deer haven't at least sampled.

My son lives in Northeast

By Fran Williams

My son lives in Northeast Utah and has lilac bush growing on his side of a chain link fence, but his neighbor has the same bush which flowers more abundantly. Soon after the bush flowers, it seems to die back and leaves turn yellow and die off. I have read all the comments here, but don't seem to see a situation that would apply to him. His bush does get abundant sun exposure. Watering is not an issue as they have sprinklers in their yard. Any other suggestions?

Overwatering can sometimes

By Almanac Staff

Overwatering can sometimes cause yellowing leaves; check if the soil offers enough drainage. Also, check for signs of insect pests or diseases, which can hamper the energy of the plant. Make sure the plant has enough air circulation as well. For more information, he might be interested in the following information about lilacs, from the Utah State University Cooperative Extension:
 
http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/publication/pub__7372411.pdf
 
Here is information about the lilac-ash borer, one of the pests that can cause a decrease in plant vigor:
 
http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/factsheet/lilac-ash-borer10.pdf

I have new purple lilac

By Carol Valenti

I have new purple lilac plants...approx 12" tall. Some of the stems and outer edges of leaves are purple. Is this normal for these babies?

There are many varieties of

By Almanac Staff

There are many varieties of lilac, and leaves can be green, bluish green, or varigated in color. Yours are probably fine.

Hey there lilac lovers, I

By Maria Christina

Hey there lilac lovers, I have a quick question for you all...I live in Buffalo, New York and I've always wanted lilacs in my yard, specifically purple. My question is what would be the best type of purple lilac to suit the climate here in Western New York? Also what would be the best month for me to plant it? (I am NOT looking to plant from seed) I do not have a very green thumb, so any tips or answers to my questions would be very much appreciated! Thank you! :)

According to your own Cornell

By Almanac Staff

According to your own Cornell University (and other sources), common lilac (Syringa vulgaris), as the name implies, is the best known of all the lilacs in the United States. This shrub can be as tall as 20 feet, and the flowers are fragrant and usually lilac-colored, although they can be of other hues. Leaves are somewhat heart shaped and smooth.
If you want something more unusual and are convenient to Rochester, head to Highland Park Gardens for the lilac festival there on May 9 through 18. (Here http://www.rochesterevents.com/festivals-events/lilac-festival/highland-park-gardens ) Several varieties are named on this Web site. You will see numerous varieties in bloom, which might help you to make a decision.

Thank you so much to the

By Maria Christina

Thank you so much to the Almanac staff and Lena Grasso for responding to me so quickly and for the quality information. I really appreciate it! I am most certainly going to take the drive to Rochester for the Lilac Festival. It will be my 1st time there and I'm looking forward to it! I will update you guys once I purchase and get my lilacs in the ground! Thanks again! :)

Hi Maria, I live in Niagara

By Lena Grasso

Hi Maria, I live in Niagara Falls Canada and have grown lilacs over the years here in zone 5 with no problems. They, whether shrubs or the trees are very vigorous, they will withstand our winters no problem! Plant the tree or shrub after May 24th.

Help! I was given a small

By Michelle J.

Help! I was given a small potted lilac bush five years ago. Two years ago we had buds that formed, but never opened. Last year all the buds opened and it was lovely! This year, however, we have the same problem as two years ago -- lots of buds, but none of them are open. All the lilac bushes in the neighborhood are in full bloom. Is there anything I can do to save my plant this season?

Was it indoors in the pot?

By Almanac Staff

Was it indoors in the pot? Lilacs need a cold winter in order to grow and produce flowers.
Lilacs are pretty particular about the soil pH, too. Perhaps the container soil had become "old"—unsuitable?
 

I live in northeast Ohio and

By Kgabby

I live in northeast Ohio and am trying to grow a lilac bush in a large pot, since I don't have a yard/garden for the time being. I bought my lilac last summer and it bloomed. In late fall I brought the plant indoors and it bloomed again, then turned brown and dry. I am not sure if it was hibernating or dying, but watered it periodically throughout the winter. I have had it back out on the balcony now for 2-3 weeks where it gets plenty of sun, but no signs of green leaves. Any advice for how I can help it come back, or when to leave it for dead? Is there any benefit to trimming back all the branches now while it still looks dead?

Lilacs need a cold winter in

By Almanac Staff

Lilacs need a cold winter in order to grow and produce flowers. Although you meant well, your protecting it from last winter's cold contributed to its failure to thrive. Cut it back a bit at a time and see if you see any green(-edged), or fresh, wood. That would be a sign of life. If you do not, it is probably gone.

I have 2 regular purple lilac

By Kathi George

I have 2 regular purple lilac shrubs in different spots of my yard. One is about 20 inches tall, 3 years old & has about 4 or 5 blooms on it right now. The other is about 3 feet tall, 2 years old (planted last year & loaded with blooms when I planted it), but it has yet to bloom. I have no idea why it hasn't flowered yet. It does get sun, but not as much as the other plant, as it's sitting alongside a fence under maple trees and next to a couple of short stubby azaleas.

A transplanted lilac may take

By Almanac Staff

A transplanted lilac may take 1 to 3 years for it to recover and bloom.

Several years ago we

By Ruth Victoria

Several years ago we discovered a lilac in the woods here in central OK. We've cut down trees and brush around it so it gets more sun, watered it during dry spells, and tried to keep the grasshoppers at bay. It's growing bigger and obviously healthier now but so far not a single bloom. Do some lilacs never flower? (Are there males and females?) We've considered cuttings but don't want cuttings from a non-bloomer. Or maybe we should just wait? Any advice for this orphan lilac will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Lilacs generally need "chill"

By Almanac Staff

Lilacs generally need "chill" hours to bloom; it will grow but it probably won't flower.

Not sure I understand.

By Ruth Victoria

Not sure I understand. Central OK has cold winters with lots of ice and snow at times -- and record low temps this past year. Plenty of chill time so no help there. Any other applicable reasons for a non-blooming lilac?

Lilacs can take 4-6 years

By North Star Realty

Lilacs can take 4-6 years establishing themselves.

I live in Yuma Arizona.

By Salli gibson

I live in Yuma Arizona. Would a lilac bush grow in this area?

The common lilac may grow but

By Almanac Staff

The common lilac may grow but we doubt it will bloom as it needs chilling hours that are found in colder climates. Feel free to test it and prove us wrong! We recommend Crepe myrtles for warmer climates.

I just received my beauty of

By Alison N

I just received my beauty of moscow lilac plants. They are about 2' tall in pots and covered in leaves. I am in eastern Nebraska, should I plant them now or hold off for fall?

Hi Alison, It's best to get

By Almanac Staff

Hi Alison,
It's best to get the lilacs in the ground as soon as possible. Read our planting advice on this page. Beauty of Moscow is a beautiful lilac. Good luck!

I live in Maryland and for

By Cherlyl

I live in Maryland and for the last two night we had freeze warning so I went and covered up my Lilac bush to keep frost off of it. Yesterday morning the leaves looked a little curled up but the afternoon it had perked up and some more blooms started to come out, This morning however, it looks worse than yesterday, this is the first year out of 6 that it has actually bloomed, will it be ok? Is there anything I can do the help it? I'm so upset about it. Any help would be great. Thanks

I live in Chandler Az near

By jd bryant

I live in Chandler Az near Phoenix so most of my plants need protection from freezing. I have had success with incandescent flood lights. The heat from them plus the infrared light they emit have worked well. Two lights each is all I need to protect a large Ficus and some dwarf citrus from the frost. I plan putting one in my Lilac tonight. It has survived 30 degrees several times lately with minimal damage and no protection. It is supposed to get down to 27 degrees.

All you can do is hope for

By Almanac Staff

All you can do is hope for some warm weather. Hopefully the bush will recover from the light freeze. Lilacs are hardy and usually recover quickly.

I have a wonderful although

By BelovedbyHim

I have a wonderful although large Lilac in my front yard. It has just begun to leaf out and has several blooms in the early stages. We are expecting a heavy wet snow tonight into tomorrow. Last year we had a similar late frost and I lost almost all the flowers. I'm wondering if I need to plan on tarping it or if 1 day of below freezing (28) will not be harmful?

We r expecting snow tonight

By Lorraine Gendreau

We r expecting snow tonight and my lilacs have bloomed it will be 22 out this evening do I need to cover them so they dont freeze

I have a 6ft tall Lilac bush

By cindy stoops

I have a 6ft tall Lilac bush This bush is very special to myself and my kids There dad planted it when we bought our first house he couldn't wait for it to bloom and would commet on it every time we walked out the frount door It became a running joke . Took 2 years and it bloomed However my Husband passed away suddinly right befor Never got to see how beautiful it was That Bush became a Part of our family. 10 years later im selling my Home and moving and My kids are insisting that the lilc bush comes with us . So my question is What do I need to do to make this Happen Plz Help

I had a wonderful dark purple

By garden love

I had a wonderful dark purple lilac tree growing near our old house. I took a cutting and dipped the end of the cutting in a rooting hormone, it rooted and now it's outside my present house. If you do this take a nice smaller branch thats not booming, cut with sharp tool at a 45* cut then follow the instructions on the rooting hormone package. It's not the whole tree but it's a nice way to take the tree without possibly losing the whole thing. I've also taken part of the bush using a sharp shovel, but that was another variety (bush). The dark purple was a tree.
wishing you luck.

It may be difficult to

By Almanac Staff

It may be difficult to transplant an old lilac. The root system is big and you want to get as much of it as possible. It can also be stressful to the plant. However, it can be done with care. Be aware that it may also take 1 to 3 years for it to recover and bloom. The timing must also be right: when they are dormant in early spring before the plant leafs out or in the fall. If you decide not to move the bush you can transplant suckers (offshoots from the bush). Use a sharp shovel to cut the underground stem that joins the offshoot to the lilac bush. and then carefully lift the sucker, trying to retain as many roots as possible.

I recently purchased a house

By MHamrick

I recently purchased a house on some farm land. I'd like to have a bit of a wind breaker/property divider and thought a variety of lilacs would look wonderful behind our house. I don't think I'd want just a wall of bushes though... it is a pretty long stretch. Do you have suggestions for an evergreen that would pair nicely with the lilacs? Thanks for any suggestions!

For a lilac wall or hedge,

By Almanac Staff

For a lilac wall or hedge, just make sure you leave plenty of room between plants (6 feet for most varieties).  Chinese lilacs make a nice hedge. If you mix the lilac with trees, just avoid any trees that will grow tall and produce shade because lilacs need sun to flower. Perhaps a conifer shrub would work. Visit your garden center for local varieties. As the lilac trunks can look bare after the flowing season, we would consider planting hostas and perennials at ground level.

I have a lilac bush that I

By Lily Story

I have a lilac bush that I started from another bush 5 years ago. It is by all accounts healthy, 6-7 ft tall, thick green leaves and new shoots every year. The second year I had it, it bloomed one bloom cluster but not again. Still this spring their are no blooms starting. If you have any helpful information on getting my plant to bloom I would be grateful! I live in southwest MO. Also it gets plenty of sun and I water it in the summer.

I live in Central Kentucky.

By Allison N

I live in Central Kentucky. I'd like to plant lilacs in my backyard, but my neighbor has a very large black walnut tree maybe 10-12 yards from where I'd like to plant. The walnut tree doesn't shade the spot at all, but I've heard that lilacs might be one of those plants that can't tolerate black walnuts. Do you think I have a shot at keeping a lilac bush alive here?

Unfortunately, lilacs are

By Almanac Staff

Unfortunately, lilacs are sensitive to toxicity of black walnut trees. The toxic effects of a mature black walnut tree can extend 50 to 80 feet from the trunk of the tree, with the greatest toxicity occurring within the tree’s dripline.

Hi, I live in Chicago and

By John S

Hi, I live in Chicago and would like to know if I can plant a Purple Lilac in a large-(ish) size pot on an eastern-facing balcony?
Will it eventually outgrow the pot (any pot)?
I recognize regular fertilizing would likely be needed.
Thanks!

If your lilac will get around

By Almanac Staff

If your lilac will get around 6 or more hours of direct sunlight, then it should be fine. Lilacs can grow in partial shade, but they will not bloom as profusely and may look more scraggly.
 
Choose a dwarf or shorter variety, such as 'Bloomerang', Korean dwarf lilac, 'Miss Kim', or 'Little Boy Blue', so that it won't overgrow the space; (still, some dwarfs can grow to 5 to 8 feet, so you'll need to keep up with pruning). Prune and water as needed. Provide good air circulation and good drainage. You may need to repot as the plant grows; allow a good amount of space for the roots to grow. Avoid black plastic pots, as these may get too hot.
 
Chicago is USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 6, so make sure that your cultivar is hardy in that Zone. Still, it might be good to provide winter protection (wrap the base and bush with burlap filled with leaves or straw; remove in early spring before new growth starts, but after last expected spring frost).
 
Good luck!

Can I plant lilacs along a

By Mwelker1992

Can I plant lilacs along a fence? My neighbor just installed a big white privacy fence, so now my yard on that side is bare. I want to plant some lilacs, because my wife loves the color and I love the smell. Would it be wise to plant them in front of the fence? And in order to ensure a long bloom time, what varieties do you think I should plant together?

Yes, lilacs can make a nice

By Almanac Staff

Yes, lilacs can make a nice border or screen—and be planted along a fence. We don't know where you live but "Beauty of Moscow" and "Pocahontas" are reader favorites as they bloom regularly and are simply pretty and fragrant. If you want a denser border, you might want to consider mixing it up with evergreens. Also, the cotoneaster is a popular plant with dark green leaves and fall color.

I live in the eastern shore

By MWelker1992

I live in the eastern shore of maryland. Thanks for the quick response! I was thinking of also planting some peonies in front.
Thanks again!

I inherited a lilac tree of

By HelenLee

I inherited a lilac tree of 10 ft tall and wide. It needs to be move. Should I give it a hard pruning before the transplant? Can I divide it to make more plants? Is it a tree or a bush?

In terms of pruning: this is

By Almanac Staff

In terms of pruning: this is done right after flowering. Otherwise, you are removing this year's blooms.
If your lilac looks more like a tree than a bush and is overgrown, you could do a severe pruning. Each year for 3 years, remove a third of the volume by cutting the large branches to the base of the plant.
In terms of transplanting, lilacs are quite hearty and if they are not too old, they will transplant well as long as they are not coming into leaf. It's ideal to transplant lilacs (and divide them if you wish) in early spring while it's still dormant. For many areas, that might be April 1 but it depends on your location.

can i do a start from one of

By shoplak

can i do a start from one of my bushes

Yes, you can grow a lilac

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you can grow a lilac from a cutting. The timing is important. Take cuttings of 8 inches in mid-June. Dip in a sand/peat or vermiculite medium and mist.

Our family has lived in our

By Darla Yacub

Our family has lived in our house for over a year but today as I walked past a shrub, a lovely fragrance caught my attention! Upon further inspection, I discovered several clusters of lilac flowers.
We live in California (zone 9). The lilac shrub is located under several large shade trees and I thought about transplanting it to a sunnier place. Since it is currently in bloom, should I wait until next winter/spring?

You need to wait until early

By Almanac Staff

You need to wait until early next spring when the lilac is dormant. Lilacs transplant well as long as they are not coming into leaf.

I live in Central NC and

By Shirley Culler

I live in Central NC and desperately want as many lilacs on my property in bloom for as long as I can during the year. Which ones would do best for spring, summer and fall here? Want the most fragrant ones trees and bushes.

Lilacs just don't thrive in

By georgewilson

Lilacs just don't thrive in NC. Not enough chill time. Try the Miss Kim variety. Go to the garden nursery and check out what's native to your area.

My lilac has bore holes in

By Tommie Abe

My lilac has bore holes in the branches, I read to cut and burn the branches. That would take almost the whole plant, its realy old and im afraid it would not recover. This lilac is called Sensation, its more tree looking than bush and has never had suckers . How can I save it or get a new start?

Hi Tommie, A hard pruning is

By Almanac Staff

Hi Tommie,
A hard pruning is not going to kill a healthy lilac. Your lilac may be weak from the borer damage and may die. If you have some new growth this spring you can take a few soft wood cuttings before all the leaves open. Make the cuttings 6 to 8 inches long and make sure each cutting has two or three nodes. Remove the leaves from the lower half of the cutting and dip the bottom into rooting hormone before planting in a pot with well-draining staring mix. Mist the leaves and keep the soil moist. The cutting should root in about 6-7 weeks.

I read that Lilacs enjoy used

By MaryLiz1070

I read that Lilacs enjoy used coffee grounds. Do you recommend this? What does it do for them?
We are in Northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Coffee grounds are great for

By Almanac Staff

Coffee grounds are great for acid loving plants. Lilacs like  rich, well-drained soil with a neutral pH. It's better to put the coffee grounds in the compost pile and then add some compost to your lilacs.

I have a dwarf Korean lilac

By Patty Larsh

I have a dwarf Korean lilac tree and I live in Indiana. We will be moving and I want to transplant the tree to the new home. When is the best time to move the tree? We probably won't move until late summer.

Lilacs transplant well as

By Almanac Staff

Lilacs transplant well as long as they are not coming into leaf; so transplant lilacs while they are dormant--in early spring. Can you transplant to its new home earlier?

I live in the mountains of

By Donna Hutchins

I live in the mountains of Western NC and own a mature purple lilac. The plant is gorgeous, however, part of the tree dies after beginning to bloom. This happens every year in the same location on the tree as the year before. I have treated for disease and insects using as many natural options as I can think of. Is there something I have overlooked? I do not like to use chemical solutions, if I can avoid it. Thanx =) Happy spring to all.

Hi, Donna, This is an unusual

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Donna, This is an unusual question. Our only thought is that this is a pruning issue. When lilacs don't fully bloom this is often due to late or early season pruning. If you prune, do so immediately after flowering, as the flower buds on lilacs develop on subsequent new growth. Pruning in August, for example, would remove those newly formed flower buds; pruning in March would also remove them just prior to flowering.

I live in Wisconsin and am

By Amanda S.

I live in Wisconsin and am getting married on June 14. I was wondering if there was any way to predict when lilacs will bloom and when they will be done blooming this year (2014). I'm just trying to plan everything, but lilacs have such a short window, so I'm hoping I'm okay!

Why, lilacs bloom when

By Almanac Staff

Why, lilacs bloom when grasshopper eggs hatch! I don't suppose this is the answer you're seeking.
They are one of the first flowering bushes/shrubs to bloom just after the forcythia (another cue!)

Lilacs generally bloom in late May for 2 weeks and, as you said, their blooms don't last long. However, there are late-blooming varieties which bloom in early June.
June 14 seems a bit late, however, it is highly dependent on weather and hard to predict. It's possible that the lilacs will still be blooming if we have have a late, snowy spring.

I live in Southern

By sunny california

I live in Southern California.My mom planted two lilac bushes about 10 years ago and they do exceptionally well where they are located, however I would like to relocate them to a different area. Is this possible without causing trauma to the bush?

Lilacs transplant very well

By Almanac Staff

Lilacs transplant very well and spring is the best time to do it. Make sure to get as much of the rootball as you can. Dig a hole in the new location that is double the size of the rootball and add plenty of compost into the hole. Place the lilac in the hole to the same depth level that it was in its original location. Fill the hole with a mix of soil and compost and water deeply.
 

Hi, I live near Raleigh, NC.

By ken hinkle

Hi, I live near Raleigh, NC. I have 14 lilac bushes and some are 20 years old. They bloom every year but they are only about 4 feet tall they will not grow taller. Also there not thick full bushes instead there scragly looking. Is there something I can do to make them grow better? thanks, Kenny Hinkle

Hi Kenny, Your lilacs would

By Almanac Staff

Hi Kenny,
Your lilacs would benefit from some pruning. See our pruning advice above. Just remember to prune right after they have bloomed.

I live in the high desert in

By Wilda McCombie

I live in the high desert in CA, winters cold, summers hot. I have 2 very small bushes. They are growing very slowly, have never bloomed. What can I do to help them.

Hi Wilda, Make sure that your

By Almanac Staff

Hi Wilda,
Make sure that your lilacs have good drainage and full sun. If you haven't fertilized the bushes lately add some bonemeal and compost or aged manure to the soil. Lilacs like slightly acidic soil that is not too rich in nitrogen.

Hi There, We live in the

By CarlG

Hi There,

We live in the Portland Oregon area, so temps are moderate and winters are wet. We have several California Lilacs that are about 7ft in height and have created the perfect screen. Love these shrubs, but just noticed that on most of them (6 or 7) the leaves have started to brown and it's late December. I also noticed an extremely strong fragrance coming from the shrubs (like a combination of cinnamon and alcohol but gone bad...hard to describe). I had actually thought it was a neighbor cooking for the holidays, but realized today it was my shrubs. I don't have a green thumb, so not sure at all what to do. Any thoughts on what might be causing this. It would be horrible to lose all 9/10 shrubs this winter. Any help will be GREATLY appreciated!

We live in south central

By Gayle Gransbery

We live in south central Montana. I have two ever blooming lilacs that I purchased through the mail 4 years ago. The plants are now three and four feet tall. They bloomed twice this summer. The bushes lost their leaves the middle of October. We had a long warm fall with rain and some snow. Now, I notice both plants are putting on new leaves. Should I worry about them? Gayle

It doesn't sound like

By Almanac Staff

It doesn't sound like anything to worry about. Lilacs go through these weather situations.  They haven't started blooming.

I live in Southern

By Julie Salik

I live in Southern California. At the coast. Which type of lilac can grow in this climate?

The common lilac needs cold

By Almanac Staff

The common lilac needs cold treatments to thrive and bloom so they are not meant for your climate. However, you may enjoy this "California Lilac" - http://www.goldenwestcollege.edu/garden/plantofmonth/0310.html

I just was given a dwarf

By Joy Hoff

I just was given a dwarf lilac bush and I am wondering if it is too late to plant. I live in Northern WI and we have already had a light frost. Can I keep it alive in the pot it is in until Spring for planting? Do I put it in a cool place in my basement and water periodically?

Joy, This is a great time to

By Almanac Staff

Joy, This is a great time to plant your lilac bush. The idea time is in the fall after the leaves have dropped, but before the
ground freezes. By planting in the fall (versus spring), lilacs have a better chance to survive.

I also live in WI, have a

By TanyaZ

I also live in WI, have a bush that has spent all spring and summer in a large planter. Has thrived. Any suggestions as to how to winter it in the planter? Moving and don't want to plant it yet.

Hi, I live in central

By Kimberly Winkler

Hi, I live in central California, and I have a lilac tree that is over 10 years old. Every spring, it has bloomed beautifully; however, this last spring, we had some really cold winds, and neither the leaves nor the flowers opened all of the way. Since then, I have had no new foliage, and what I did have has turned brown. I do not believe that water is a problem, and when I cut off a small cutting, the wood is clearly green and still alive. I would appreciate any advice that comes my way. Thanks! Kim

It sounds like your tree is

By Almanac Staff

It sounds like your tree is alive. Let it rest over the winter and see if it will come back next year. If you need to prune any of the dead branches do it next spring.

Is in OK to cut back my Lilac

By Rickster#2

Is in OK to cut back my Lilac in the fall? I live in Pa.

Lilacs bloom on old wood, so

By Almanac Staff

Lilacs bloom on old wood, so it's critical to prune in the spring right after they bloom. If you prune later in the summer or in the fall, you may be removing the new buds that already have formed. See our pruning tips above.

I have a lilac tree (unknown

By SherylR

I have a lilac tree (unknown variety)I planted a 6-7 years ago. It grew tall very quickly and flowered wonderfully but last year it got very spindly so after it flowered I cut it back. This year I have new leaf growth on the trunks but they are small and colored differently than the regular leaves. And my regular leaves are growing with splits on their sides and are curling strangely. Any ideas on splitting leaves or tall spindly bushes? I have planted a couple small volunteers under the tree hoping to have them grow to fill in the empty spaces in the tree. I live in Colorado and I have to admit this year we have had the strangest weather, very hot and humid with cold/cool spells from one day to the next.
Also, I used to live in Alabama and there were several french lilacs growing in the area, they were the most fragrant lilacs I've ever smelled. Will that type of lilac thrive here on the front range? I would love to plant them here.

We suspect that your unusual

By Almanac Staff

We suspect that your unusual weather this summer has caused some of the problems that you have with the lilac. Wait and see what happens next year before you prune anymore.
A couple of fragrant French hybrid lilacs are 'Adelaide Dunbar' (zones 4-7) and 'Charles Joly (zones 3-7). They have double, deep purple flowers. These two varieties will grow nicely in Colorado.

Leaves are turning brown and

By Dave penman

Leaves are turning brown and curling upwards.

Hi, Dave, These symptoms are

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Dave, These symptoms are usually related to water:  either too much water or water shortage (and the plant is drying out) because of frequent shallow watering. Water as follows:   Water deeply until the ground is watered 9 to 12 inches deep. Then do not water again until the ground is dry at least 6 inches deep. Organic mulch will keep the ground moister for longer. –The OFA editors

I got some seeds in may and

By amy booterbaugh

I got some seeds in may and planted them as soon as I got them. They haven't grow. Did I plant the seeds to soon and that why they haven
't grow?

We are not sure where you got

By Almanac Staff

We are not sure where you got your lilac seeds so it's hard for us to diagnose the issue. One common problem is planting seeds too deep into the ground. With lilac seeds, you should barely cover the seed with soil when planting.

I planted a Lilac Sunday

By MorganAnn

I planted a Lilac Sunday Lilac this past spring. It took well, but is still quite small, 12-18 inches. I am worried about the Buffalo, NY winter coming up and crushing it under the weight of the snow. Any tips on winterizing baby Lilacs?

To winterize lilacs, your

By Almanac Staff

To winterize lilacs, your best bet is to add two or three inches of organic mulch around each plant (no thicker). Use wood chips or shredded wood. If they do not last, consider buying a hardier type of lilac. All the best!

I bouoght a lilac bush (ms.

By P. M. Myers

I bouoght a lilac bush (ms. Kim)from a nursery. I planted it but now it has dead leaves almost over the whole plant. What have I done wrong. We had a hot smmer and lots of rain. I live in Pensacola, FL. Help. I don't want it to die.

Your issue is not uncommon.

By Almanac Staff

Your issue is not uncommon. Lilacs really aren't native to the south and generally do not receive the cold temperatures in Florida that they need for normal growth.A good substitute is crape myrtle. We would suggest you bring a sample to your local Florida cooperative extension for a full diagnosis.

I have moved back north

By Lorna Reed

I have moved back north Saulte Ste Marie, MI. There were 2 large bushes on the west side of the house, so big they had been tied up with rope and not taken care of for several years. I cleaned them up and cut them back, not to the ground however. They are leafed out and looking full, they are old, old lilacs. Should I cut them back more, trim them, leave them alone?? What can I do about the many shoots growing around each bush, are they taking away from the main plant. There are too many for me to dig up. Help and Thanks.

Just continue to remove any

By Almanac Staff

Just continue to remove any dead wood and prune out the oldest canes each year. If this doesn't work, you could try more serious pruning as discussed on this page. In terms of suckers, here is more detail:  If your lilac grew on its own roots, it is not "required" to remove the suckers but know that they wll grow into new branches which will flower in a few years. It depends on what you envision for your property. It's only the grafted lilac that requires removal of suckers. If you leave the suckers from below the grafting, the suckers will overtake the graft.

I have 3 beautiful lilac

By Cody S.

I have 3 beautiful lilac shrubs that were started from off-shoots. The tree is getting taller and taller & bushy with beautiful green leaves and NO FLOWERS ever. They are about about 6 feet tall and healthy but no flowers. What do I need to do? They get plenty of sun. Thanks

Young lilacs generally take

By Almanac Staff

Young lilacs generally take time to bloom. Most flower after 3 or 4 years though some take longer. Some tips: Prune at the right time as lilacs bud off old wood and you may be removing the flowers. Prune 2 or 3 weeks after the time when they would have flowered. It's good that you have sun. Give them slightly alkaline soil (pH 6-7) as too much acid can affect blooming.  Don't give lilacs too much nitrogen fertilizer which encourages lush leaves at the expense of blooms. Hope this helps!

I have mature lilacs that

By Alex Hartley

I have mature lilacs that bloomed beautifully last year. I cut back extensively late fall/early winter. This spring the foliage was abundant but just a few blooms. We've had a dry year here in western Oregon could it be from lack of water? I did not give any additional watering I left it to nature. I live on a horse farm with lots of good horse compost. Should I amend soil annually? I have not done that in the past. Thanks!

Hi, Alex, Every year we

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Alex, Every year we receive letters from people who are disappointed that their lilacs bloomed sparely. Sometimes older lilacs need a big prune, but if you prune lilacs back extensively, it may also take a number of years before they bloom again. They should produce flowers in time, but it could take one to three years, sometimes longer. See pruning section above.
Fertilizer is rarely the answer to a plant that isn't blooming. Lilacs are not heavy feeders; if your soil is fertile, that is usually fine. Amending with manure or organic matter is helpful; the only "rule" with lilacs is to avoid fertilizer with excess nitrogen which causes leaf growth at the expense of bloom.
Moisture isn't usually related to lack of blooms; it's associated with plants' roots and how well they thrive. Lilacs do best in well-drained soil.
You did not do anything wrong. It's OK to prune extensively. For older plants that need complete renovation, we often prune with a foot of the ground. However, it must be recognized that severe pruning results in the loss of blooms the following year(s).

Hi! I live in Orlando

By Lori Spearin

Hi! I live in Orlando Florida and was wondering if lilacs would be good for me to plant. I don't know much about them. I have read all the Q & A on your site. If you believe i can plant them here. What kind/type? Thank you for your time.

Hi Lori, We do get lots of

By Almanac Staff

Hi Lori, We do get lots of questions from southern readers who would like to grow lilacs (just as northerns would like to grow tropical flowers!). Lilacs simply don't thrive in warm climates. It's not just the Sun; lilacs need a long period of winter chill in order to bloom well. A good substitute for lilacs in the South is lilac chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus).  If you find a lilac that blooms well in your region, we'd love to know! There are always new experiments. 

Hi - our lilac (not sure what

By Sarah hutchison

Hi - our lilac (not sure what kind) but was just planted early June - looks like part of it is dying already. There are 3 separate stem systems (if that makes sense?) and one whole portion has dry dead leaves on it...any ideas? Thank you!

Hi Sarah, There are many

By Almanac Staff

Hi Sarah, There are many reasons why the lilac may not have established well. For example:
Did you plant in the spring before the buds starting to unfold?
Did you plant too deep? You wan to set lilacs 2 or 3 inches deeper than it grew in the nursery.
Did you get a soil test? (Lilacs aren't picky but they don't like acidic soil).
Is the soil fertile? Did you add in compost?
Does the soil drain well? Lilacs hate "wet feet" and you don't want the roots to rot. 
Did you water it in -- and keep the soil moist (not wet) for the first 3 to 4 weeks? 
Do you have mulch around the lilac--if so remove! 
Lilacs do naturally send out roots to survive.
You may wish to get a sample to your cooperative extension because there are many reasons why the lilac may not be doing well. Normally, they transplant well (assuming it was healthy when you planted it!).
 

I'm in NY. Yesterday planted

By Claudette White

I'm in NY. Yesterday planted nursery bought Lilac Boomerang and sadly noticed today it is wilting/dying. I planted 2 inches deeper than it was potted. Watered the hole with mild solution Mir Grw fertilizer and added small amount of organic garden soil, then put mulch around
root. HELP, please, any suggestion.

Summer is not a good time to

By Almanac Staff

Summer is not a good time to plant a lilac. It may be in transplant shock which is why it is wilting. The best you can do to save it is to keep it well-watered and closely monitor its soil moisture. Make sure the root ball and surrounding soil isn't dried out. Water deeply, then let the surface dry between the next (deep) watering. Also, while compost in the hole is a good idea, we would not advise putting fertilizer in the hole itself; this can cause root burn. You may want to bring back your receipt to the nursury if you have a guarantee.

Need some advice! Hope I did

By TheWizardTim

Need some advice! Hope I did not just kill our Lilac bushes.

I believe they are Miss Kim / Manchurian Lilac based on pictures I've seen. I had previously gotten advice and seen tips online on how to prune when they get too big. Ours were about 8' tall, had finished blooming a few weeks ago, and have started to sprout a lot of extra shoots and leggy branches in recent years, despite trying to cut those away at the base. Basically only the top 15" or so of the plants were producing leaves (but did bloom very well the last couple years).

I was told I could do a "10 year pruning" where I leave the biggest, healthiest trunks intact but cut them back by 1/2 to 2/3 (not all the way to the ground - more like 2-3 feet with the taller cuts in the middle of the plant), with the idea that the cut-back trunks will produce new spouts this summer, that can then start thickening / growing next spring and summer and hopefully blooms the following year.

Now I'm reading people recommend you do it in winter, and 6-8 INCHES off the ground! Which is it? Did I just kill our lilacs because I cut them in summer? Also I didn't disinfect the shears... we don't have any diseased plants on our property so didn't think it necessary. Should I tar-cap the exposed trunks on the tops?

Main reason I cut them back is they were covering our windows and to the point I needed a ladder to prune the tops of the bushes (which still seem to add another 6" every year despite pruning / thinning. Was trying to "reshape / reset" the plant so the good stems that would contribute to a more rounded form (not sticking out at odd angles), would regenerate leafy growth and eventually flowers in a couple years.

What should I do now... put a hose at the base of the plant for 5-10 minutes each week maybe?

Miss Kim's do have a tendency

By Almanac Staff

Miss Kim's do have a tendency to outgrow their space. For lilacs, the most important rule is timing. Prune soon after flowering -- not in late summer nor winter nor early spring -- or you remove their buds and blooms. Also remove all dead limbs. You can also rejuvenate older lilacs by completely cutting all stems down to 4 to 6 inch stubs, generally in February and March. However, some readers have found that the Miss Kims do not respond well to this method (unlike the old-fashioned lilacs). Miss Kims seem to prefer regular pruning--starting early in their life--before they get out of control.

Hi. I got 2 Lilacs from

By nancy freiling

Hi. I got 2 Lilacs from Lowes on clearance on July 3rd. (royalty and james mcfarland) Should I plant them in the ground or put them in a big container until fall? We live in Northern Virginia.

Plant the lilacs in

By Almanac Staff

Plant the lilacs in containers big enough for the roots to grow. Mix a bit of compost into the potting mix. Place the containers in semi-shade and make sure to keep the soil moist. In late summer or fall plant them in the ground.

We live in Cascade, ID -

By l.postma

We live in Cascade, ID - about 5,000 ft. I have 4 lilacs that have always been beautiful, until this year. It looks like they set the blooms, but never did anything. Any suggestions

Have you had enough sunshine

By Almanac Staff

Have you had enough sunshine this year vs. cloud and rain? Usually, insufficient sunlight is the problem. Did you prune at the right time last season (not spring, but mid-summer well after bloom)? Also, avoid using fertilizers high in nitrogen.

About 4 years ago, my husband

By LilacLane

About 4 years ago, my husband gave me a lilac bush for my birthday. It was purchased from a local horticultural services business. We planted it in the late spring - following the directions which came with the bush. However, while the leaves are green and it has grown a little bit (maybe half again as tall as it was when we bought it), it has never bloomed. There have never even been any buds. I'm wondering if there is anything that can be done to encourage my little bush to bloom?

We're guessing that the most

By Almanac Staff

We're guessing that the most likely cause in your case for no blossoms would be that the bush is still too young to flower. Some lilacs may take up to 5 or 7 years to start blooming.

Although you have followed the directions which came with the bush, it might be good to double-check that the plant is still getting at least 6 hours of sunlight (has other growing vegetation started to shade your bush?), and that the soil is slightly acidic to slightly alkaline (pH 6.0 to 7.5). A fertilizer high in nitrogen promotes leaf growth over blossoms; if you need to fertilize, choose one whose N-P-K ratios are about even, and only apply a small amount; lilacs don't do as well in rich soil. Also, make sure that the plant is getting enough water (about an inch per week).

I live in Manitoba and

By charlie trevech

I live in Manitoba and winters are harsh. Have 2 Miss KIm, They are doing really good. 2 are outside my bedroom window, and are so very fragrant. Was thinking about getting a couple of suckers and transplant. But was not sure how to do it. I now have the info. Thanks a bunch.

Our neighbor just cut their

By DB marr

Our neighbor just cut their lilac bush down to about 18 inches tall from over 8 feet tall. Needless to say all that is left are bunch of cut off canes with no branches at all. We would like to somehow grow a new plant from this if possible. What part of what is left would we need? Or should we just give up on it and look for one from a nusery?

You can propagate lilacs by

By Almanac Staff

You can propagate lilacs by either digging up suckers or taking cuttings from the bush. Your best bet is finding a sucker (ideally 2 to 3 foot tall). With a spade dig down around the sucker. You'll find a connecting root leading back to the main stem. Cut this root off just outside of the sucker's root ball. Remove the sucker with the roots and plant it in a big pot with potting soil. Water well.

We planted a lilac bush 2

By Jeff Hyer

We planted a lilac bush 2 weeks ago. It has 3 main branches and all the leaves on the middle one are curling in or shriveling. The plant was already done blooming when I purchased it at a local nursery. The weather is in the upper 80's all this week. I started watering it regularly when I noticed this but I don't want to over water it. Should I be concerned?

Fall and spring are the best

By Almanac Staff

Fall and spring are the best times to plant. Keep watering the lilac and make sure that the soil stays moist. Add some compost or bonemeal to the soil. Good luck!

Can I start a new purple

By L Newsome

Can I start a new purple lilac by soaking or just putting the branches I cut off the tree.?

It is possible to grow a new

By Almanac Staff

It is possible to grow a new lilac from a very young cutting, but it is very challenging and it usually fails. You need to use a cutting that from new growth that is between 4 and 6 inches in length, no more. Dip the fresh-cut end in water and then rooting hormones; then plant in a hole with moist potting soil If it takes, roots will form in 6 to 8 weeks. Grafting is much more successful than propagation by cuttings.

We have 4 very large bushes

By Amy From

We have 4 very large bushes of lilacs at our new house in Manitoba that we just moved into and I just noticed blooms(June 20) but they are very sparse and small. There seems to be a lot of brown hardened blooms (are these old blooms from this year or pevious years) and there is quite a few empty holes with just branches, no leaves. What is the best way for me to get these big and healthy again?

Barring any diseases, such as

By Almanac Staff

Barring any diseases, such as blight, your lilacs may just need rejuvenative pruning. When lilacs get older, they may stop leafing out along the lower branches, and they flower less vigorously, and usually only at the top of the bush. Many lilacs bloom best on wood that is about 3 to 5 years old.

To rejuvenate an old lilac, to renew its form and encourage flowering, you can prune all stems in late winter, when the plant is dormant, down to about 6 or 8 inches high. This will encourage new shoots to develop during the growing season. The next late winter, select a few large, healthy stems and prune out the rest. For the stems that remain, cut back to a bud to encourage branching. With this drastic method, you may not get flowers until two or three years later.

Another way to rejuvenate an old lilac, and one that is easier on the plant but takes longer, is that first late winter, remove about a third of the old stems (to ground level). The next late winter, remove about half of the remaining old stems, and a little of the new growth. Keep some strong stems of the new growth. The third late winter, remove the remaining old growth, and thin out the new growth. With this method, you might have a few flowers the first two years, and then the plant should start flowering fully the third year.

In both methods, once the plant is re-established, prune out a bit of the old growth every 3 to 5 years, in spring after flowers have faded, to keep it productive. (Lilacs bloom on old wood, so are usually pruned for maintenance just after flowering in spring, so that the next year's flowers aren't removed.)

I live in NL Canada and I

By Lorri Colbert

I live in NL Canada and I planted a Lilac tree 3-4 years ago but its only about 2-3 feet tall and has never bloomed but it has lots of healthy green leaves, is there something I am doing wrong

I live on the west coast of

By Claper

I live on the west coast of NL it took my lilacs 4 years for the first bloom, there is 1 big Custer and still there. 1 more year for you to wait.

You'll see similar comments

By Almanac Staff

You'll see similar comments on these pages from fellow lilac lovers. Common reasons for lack of bloom: 1. Pruning at the wrong time since lilacs bloom on old wood. 2. Providing less than 6 hours of full sunlight in present location. 3. Using fertilizer (don't). If you feed your lilacs, particularly with a fertilizer that has a lot of nitrogen, you will get a large, lush plant but few if any blooms. 4. Wrong soil pH. Lilacs prefer slightly alkaline soil (pH 6-7). Finally, note that most lilacs should start blooming after three or four years but some may take as long as six or seven!

After my Lilac bush is

By crazemoma

After my Lilac bush is finished blooming ( which is so beautiful), and now it is showing new little seeds or is that new blooms ready to open soon? What do I do with the dead heads around the new growth on the head?

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