They are low-maintenance shrubs. Lilacs offer good summer shade after they have reached several feet tall. They can be used as a hedgerow, to provide privacy from neighboring properties. With just a little care and maintenance, the knowledge of growing Lilacs, and how to replenish the old wood with new shoots, lilac bushes last a lifetime.
Botanical Name: Syringa, Oleaceae
Did You Know? Lilacs are members of the olive family.
Lilac bushes do not like to get their feet (the roots) wet for a prolonged period. Therefore, they do best on hillsides, slightly elevated areas, or level ground where there is good drainage. Lilac roots run deep. If you have an extended dry period of drought, water infrequently but thoroughly. The bushes do not grow well in lowlands, where water tends to collect for prolonged periods.
Weed around your lilac bushes to maintain a clean, aesthetic look. Pile mulch high around the plants, for a neat appearance, to retain some soil moisture, and to keep weeds down.
Caution: Do not make mulch so thick, that new shoots are hampered from sprouting and developing.
Lilacs will tolerate almost any kind of soil, from clay to sand, with a pH of 6.5 to 7. Like many plants, your Lilacs will benefit from compost and humus worked into the soil, to help retain some water during dry spells, and to provide nutrients.
Lilac bushes do not need a lot of fertilizer or organic feeding. Fertilize the bushes with a high Phosphorous formula in early spring, to promote blooming. Too much nitrogen in the soil will result in poor blooms. Use a general-purpose fertilizer in early summer.
Tip: Spread some fireplace ash around the drip line of your bush, for bigger and better blooms.
Flowers will bloom in May. Before blooming, fertilize with a high phosphorous fertilizer, and one that has little or no nitrogen. There are several causes for the lack of blooms. See “Why No Blooms?“
If you want to prune lilacs, it is important to do so immediately after the blooms die off. Read important information on pruning lilacs.
The bushes are very susceptible to powdery mildew in hot, humid weather. This is evident by the appearance of a white, “powdery” substance on the leaves. Use fungicides before humid weather sets in. More on Diseases of Lilacs
Lilacs are winter hardy. No special protection is needed. Cold winters help to promote blooms.
Invasive Lilac varieties aggressively send out runner shoots. If you have an invasive variety, we recommend garden edging to keep their spread under control.
How to Grow – Learn how to grow beautiful, fragrant plants.
Lilac Festival – These Spring festivals are very popular.
Lilac Sunday – Without a doubt, it’s a holiday worth celebrating.
Flowers – About these beautiful blooms.
Lilac Pictures – See our lilac photo gallery.
Lilac Trivia – Cute and informant trivia.
Planting and Transplanting – how and when to move bushes.
Propagation – How to make new plants.
Pruning Lilacs – Most importantly, there’s a right way and a wrong way.
Pests and Disease – Prevent plant problems.
Varieties – In fact, there are over 1000 varieties.
California Lilac – It’s a tree.
Why no Blooms? – Identify and correct blooming problems.
Lilac Poem – By Walt Whitman.
Buy Lilac Bushes – Add beauty to your yard.