The Q&A Archives: Lilacs In Massachusetts

Question: Hello, I have acouple of questions... I live in Lynn, MA (not sure according to the map what zone I am?). I am a new home owner and have been planting my lttle heart out. I bought a miss kim lilac last year, and its very small and low to the ground, will it grow more? Is it slow to grow? I dont know when it'll bloom, if at all? My main question is how to care for my regular lilac. It has lots of blooms on it right now, its about 2 1/2-3 1/2 feet tall. Someone told me that i could pinch off/prune it to encourage more blooms for next year? Is that true? If so, what do I do exactly? I am not sure and I definitely dont want to hurt it. Its so gorgeous and i want more blooms! Thank you, Amy

Answer: You are in USDA gardening zone 6. Your Miss Kim lilac is a slow growing plant, reaching only 6-8' tall and wide at maturity. It will bloom when it establishes itself in your landscape. Just be a little patient with it and you'll be rewarded with beautiful flowers.

As for pruning your standard lilac, here are a few things to keep in mind: Lilacs develop flower buds during the summer months for the following year's floral display so if you prune, be sure to prune immediately after the current flowers are spent. Lilacs produce flowers on new shoots so if you want your plant to always produce lots of flowers, you'll want to prune it back each year. Otherwise, the stems and branches will grow quite long and you'll only have flowers at the tips of the branches. So, after your plant has finished blooming, snap off the spent flowers. Cut back any suckers (thin upright branches coming from the base of the plant; shorten a few of the longest center stems to open the center of the plant up to good air circulation. Wherever you snap off a spent flower you can expect to get two new flowering branches.

Hope this answers all your questions!

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