How to Grow Lilacs - Care and Feeding
Growing Lilacs is easy. They are a low-maintenance shrub. 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 Lilac
bushes, and how to replenish the old wood with new shoots, lilac bushes last
Did You Know? Lilacs are members of the olive family.
How to Grow Lilacs:
Lilacs do not like to get their feet (the roots) wet for a prolonged period
of time. 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 or drought, water infrequently but thoroughly. Lilacs do not grow
well in lowlands, where water tends to collect for prolonged periods of time.
Weed around your lilac bushes to maintain a clean, aesthetic look. Pile mulch
high around the plants, for a neat and tidy 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
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
lilacs 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. Prior to blooming, fertilize with a high phosphorous
fertilizer,and one that has little or no nitrogen. There are several causes
for 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
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
Lilac Garden Tip: Invasive Lilac varieties aggressively send out runner
shoots. If you have an invasive variety, we recommend garden edging to keep
their spread under control.
Lilac are winter hardy. No special protection is needed. Cold winters help
to promote blooms.
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Make your own organic compost.
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