My favorite thing to do in spring is to open my windows and let my house fill with the scent of lilac blossoms. Lilacs shrubs are great for people who want a beautiful shrub without high maintenance. They are virtually indestructible. However, lilacs do need a little love and care to keep them healthy for years to come.
Lilacs bloom on old wood. Therefore, pruning lilacs too early in the spring will wreak havoc on your shrub’s ability to bloom. Pruning early too many years in a row can lead to your lilac shrub producing a small number of blossoms or none at all for numerous years. Therefore, it’s important to prune at the correct time and prune wisely.
Lilacs should be pruned right after they are done blooming. If you are unable to prune during this time frame it’s best to leave pruning until the next year so that you don’t ruin your chances of beautiful flowers.
When you prune your lilacs (or any shrub), ensure that your pruners are sharp. A dull pruner can lead to unclean cuts, bark tears, etc. which can be an invitation to disease.
Also, don’t just cut the end of the branches so that they match the length of another branch as this can cause the new growth on that branch to form only on the end portion of the branch, blocking out the sunlight that leaves in the middle of the plant need to survive.
It’s better to find the branches that you are looking to cut back and cut them at a point inside the heart of the bush (usually at a junction or branch split). This will help to promote new growth at the core of the shrub and make your shrub look thicker and healthier.
Lilacs do not like to be over-watered. Don’t plant them in an area where water may end up collecting. It’s best to plant them on a hill or a place in your yard where the drainage is good. However, lilacs are not drought-resistant plants either.
A decent watering about once every two weeks (in normal weather conditions) is about all a lilac shrub needs. They have deep roots which allow them to handle drier conditions better than other shrubs.
Where to Plant
Lilacs will live in almost any non-acidic soil. They aren’t shrubs that need a lot of fertilizer (however, I have heard that they like fireplace ash just ensure that it’s from clean wood and don’t go overboard see article regarding natural fertilizers). Lilacs love a sunny spot in your yard, a place where they can get at least 6 hours or more of sunlight a day.
A lack of proper sunlight can affect the number of blossoms that you will see on your plant. If you follow these simple care tips, your lilac shrub will fill your house with the fabulous lilac blossom scent for years to come.