The alluring clusters of vibrant blooms and the intoxicating scent of lilac bushes make a yard beautiful and welcoming. Although we often picture the blossoms as the pale purple color which matches the name of the plant, lilacs also come in violet, blue, white, pink, and magenta — but the various shades of purple give off the most fragrant scent. Not only are these shrubs irresistible, but they’re also hardy and easy to care for, making them a great addition to your property.
Caring for Lilac Shrubs
- Each spring, you should apply compost around the base of your shrub, followed by a layer of mulch. This holds in moisture and prevents weeds from growing up.
- Don’t over-fertilize, or your shrub won’t produce many blooms. You can apply a general-purpose fertilizer once in late winter, but unless you have impoverished soil, that should be enough.
- Water lilac bushes infrequently. They like a good soaking about every 10 – 12 days, except in the summer during weeks with less than one inch of rainfall. When the weather is dry, you should water them once per week.
- If you’re planting new lilacs, make sure to place them in a sunny spot. They need at least 6 hours of sun per day.
- Lilacs do best in soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.0. If, after testing it, you find the soil is too acidic (below 6.5), you can add lime (which is alkaline) to raise it. You don’t need much; a handful mixed into the soil around the plant should do it.
Lilac Shrub Pruning
- The best time to prune is in the spring right after they’re done blooming. Cut them back to the leaf, just past the dead blossoms.
- Once a year after blooming, you should also remove any dead branches.
- If you have an older shrub that is looking shabby, be more liberal with your pruning to help get it going again. Cut back one-third of the older stems each year for three years. This will help rejuvenate the plant and make it bloom again.