Melinda Myers offers advice for the care of this spring-blooming favorite.
When you think spring, hopefully, lilacs come to mind.
Their fragrant blossoms may remind you of beautiful spring days, special people in your life or spring moments from your past. Capture these feelings and beauty by incorporating easy-care lilacs into your landscape.
These spring beauties grow and flower best in full sun. They prefer loss, well-drained soils but are adaptable to a wide range of soil conditions. Mulch the soil and water newer plantings thoroughly whenever the top 4-6" of soil are crumbly and moist. Once established, lilacs are fairly drought tolerant and require minimal care.
Plant them in a place where you can enjoy the fragrant spring blossoms. Combine them with summer and fall blooming shrubs and perennials to ensure continuous color in your landscape.
Select a disease resistant variety that best fits the space in your landscape design:
-'Palabin' is a compact variety that grows 4 to 5 feet tall and 5 to 7 feet wide.
-'Miss Kim' is a bit larger growing up to 6 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide with very fragrant flowers.
-'Charles Joly' grows 8 to 15 feet tall with fragrant, double red-purple blooms.
-'President Grevy' has double, light blue, fragrant flowers on large 12' tall plants.
-'Bloomerang' lilacs are repeat bloomers that grow 4 to 5' tall and wide. The fragrant pink, purple or dark purple flowers appear in mid-May and again later in the season. Remove spent spring flowers as soon as they fade for improved flowering later in the season.
Prune established plants right after flowering if you need to control their size or encourage new growth at the base of the plant. This allows you to enjoy the flowers that bloom from buds set the previous summer.
Remove a few older stems right back to ground level. Leave thinner stems that will soon grow into strong flowering shoots. Reduce the height if needed by pruning long stems back to a strong outward facing bud or shorter branch.
Lilacs At a Glance
Name: Lilac (Syringa)
Size: 4 to 15 feet, depending on variety
Light: Full sun for best flowering
Water: Thoroughly water new planting the first two years whenever the top 4 to 6" of soil are crumbly and moist. Once established, water thoroughly during extended dry periods.
Soil: Loose and well-drained but plants are adaptable to a wide range of soils.
Fertilizer: Use a low nitrogen, slow release fertilizer to promote faster growth. Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers that promote green growth and discourage flowering.
Written by, gardening expert, Melinda Myers. Each month Melinda will feature a low maintenance plant perfect for beginning and experienced gardeners looking for attractive easy care plants. Melinda Myers is a nationally recognized gardening expert with more than 30 years of horticulture experience. She is a wealth of knowledge and we are pleased to share Melinda’s Low Maintenance Plant of the Month with you!