The Q&A Archives: Maintaining the Color of Lilacs

Question: I have a young lilac that when I bought it was labeled as having deep deep purple, almost red blossoms. As it has bloomed over the past two years the blossoms have gotten paler and paler, never reaching the deep color I loved so much. Is there something wrong with the soil that could be causing this?

Answer: Lilacs prefer a loose, well drained and slightly acid soil and should be grown in full sun for best flowering. In my experience adequate fertility also helps ensure top blooming performance. If there is some doubt about the quality of your soil you might wish to run some basic tests and find out for sure about it. Your County Extension (652-3370) should be able to help you with the tests as well as interpreting the results. In my opinion, too, temperature seems to affect the color of the blooms -- a cool spring seems to make them more intense to my eye.

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