The Q&A Archives: Container Gardening

Question: I just bought your Blue Skies Lilac in a 1 gallon container. I would like to grow it in a container. What size should I transplant into and what kind of soil should I buy? I do not understand the pruning.

Answer: Your lilac has the potential to grow into a very large shrub but you can keep it in a large container such as a half-whiskey barrel and prune it to keep the size under control. To begin with, make sure the container has adequate drainage holes in the bottom. You can drill additional holes if the container has only one. The idea is to allow the excess water to flow out of the soil rapidly. Otherwise the roots will remain too wet and root rot can develop. Fill your container with any brand of potting soil, filling it only half full, planting your lilac, and then filling in around the roots with additional potting soil. Plan to leave 2-3" of space from the top of the finished potting soil to the top of the rim of the container. This will allow you to flood the soil with water each time you water without having it spill out before it's absorbed by the potting soil. It will also give you some room if you decide to plant some annuals beneath your lilac.

Lilac's bloom in early summer. When yours has finished blooming and the flowers begin to fall apart, prune off the flowering stem. This will control the size of the plant and still encourage the development of new flower buds for the following season's display of wonderfully fragrant flowers. Best wishes with your lilac!

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