The Q&A Archives: Encouraging Lilacs to Bloom

Question: About 4 years or so ago I planted a lilac bush. It is very healthy looking. Every spring it bursts with vigorous leaf growth. However, it has never flowered. Why? The soil is beautiful forest soil--we have many cedar and oak trees on our lot. I expected great things from this lilac and now I am wondering what I am doing wrong. Can you give my lilac some blooms? Thank you. Pat Isaac Magalia, CA

Answer: Concerning your lilac problem, a couple of things come to mind. Lilacs need full sun (at least 6 hours) to flower well. Without sun all you get are leaves. Your beautiful, rich soil may just be too beautiful and rich! To much fertility can cause a plant to produce abundant vegetative growth, but few, if any, flowers. If you are fertilizing at all, I would suggest holding off. Another problem may be the acidity of the soil. I am guessing that your soil is fairly acidic from what you say is growingthere. I would suggest you have the soil tested and apply lime as recommended. Once you have the soil tested, contact your Extension Agent and discuss the results with him or her. To locate your nearest agent, call The Cooperative Extension Serviceoffice in Oakland at: 1-510-987-0505. I hope you have an abundance of blooms soon! A final idea is the variety isn't the right type for your area. Lilacs need a cool period in winter to help form buds. Contact a local nursery to check if you have agood variety.

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