The Q&A Archives: Lilac Bush: Care And Planting

Question: Would you please tell me the best way to plant (soil type, size of hole, sun vs shade) and care for a Lilac Bush to produce the best results.

Answer: Lilacs prefer full sunshine and a near-neutral soil pH or one that leans towards the alkaline side. The soil should be loamy and well drained. Work lots of compost into soil around the planting area, not just in the hole, or the roots may not want to grow beyond the hole! Place the plant in a hole wide enough to take the root without cramping. Fill the hole with a mix of topsoil and compost. Mixing in bonemeal (a cup or so) will go a long way toward giving it a good start. Keep it moist, but not wet, for its first season.

You can cut lilac blooms just as the flowers begin to open. Take several inches of woody stem as you cut the flowers. (New flower buds will be produced at the ends of stems and branches over the summer months.)

Prune lilacs after they've finished blooming. Remove all dead/weak/crowded branches first, then each year, remove 1/3 of the oldest branches until the whole shrub is new growth.

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