The National Garden Bureau has named 2022 the Year of the Lilac. There are about 30 different species of lilac, and Full Features carries many of them, including the smaller and reblooming species. Read on for Pro Tips on planting your lilacs and caring for them.
10 Lilac Planting Tips
- Most lilacs do well in Hardiness Zones 3 to 7—climates that provide a chill period in winter. To find your hardiness zone, click here and enter your zip code.
- Lilacs grow best in full sun, so avoid planting them where they will be shaded for more than a few hours.
- Lilacs need good drainage and fertile soil. Soil should retain sufficient moisture to nourish the root system yet drain freely when rainfall is abundant.
- Test drainage before planting: Dig a hole 8 inches across and 12 inches deep. Fill it with water. If any water remains in the hole after an hour, choose another planting area.
- Lilacs love fertile, slightly alkaline soil. If your soil is very acidic, add garden lime in the fall.
- Choose a planting space that will allow for future growth. Read the plant label for the height and spread of the mature plant.
- Dig the planting hole as deep as the root ball and twice as wide.
- Set the plant in the hole; it should be at the same soil level as it was in its container. We recommend using Myke for trees and shrubs at the time of planting. Ask our Pro Staff about the Myke 5-Year warranty.
- Fill in around the sides with soil. Press it in firmly.
- Water well.
8 Lilac Growing Tips
- Water your lilacs regularly for the first couple of years—at least 1 inch of water a week.
- Apply granular organic fertilizer early each spring at the base of the plant. Water it in well. Buds are set the previous year, so the fertilizer feeds this year’s leaves and next year’s blooms.
- Annual pruning is not necessary, but cutting off spent flower heads within a month after bloom helps the plant set more flowers for next year.
- Cut back off root suckers as they appear to keep the common lilac from spreading into a colony.
- Rejuvenate an overgrown plant or one that blooms sparsely by cutting one-third of the oldest branches back to 12 to 15 inches from the ground. Do over a three-year period to refresh the plant without sacrificing blooms.
- Powdery mildew can be unsightly but generally does not harm the plant. Ask our Pro Staff which of our products will perform best in controlling powdery mildew.
- Rake fallen leaves from around the plant in autumn. If you had powdery mildew or any disease, bag them and toss them in the garbage, otherwise add them to your compost pile.
- Anytime: Prune out any dead or broken branches from storm or winter damage.’
For additional information on Lilacs, and other “Year of the” Plants, see the National Garden Bureau’s website.