The Q&A Archives: 'miss kim' lilacs

Question: Early in the spring my grandmother purchased 6 'miss kim' dwarf lilacs for her home in the northern california coastal area. i'm trying to find a good place to plant them. i'm more familiar with gardening in pennsylvania. will these lose all of their leaves in the winter and if so for how long? how will the lack of cold affect their flowering and growth?

Answer: Miss Kim will be happy in northern California. She was bred for warm winter climates and does especially well in the southern states. She will lose her leaves by about mid-November and will green up again in early March. Miss Kim will grow 6-8' tall but you can keep her smaller with annual pruning (immediately after flowering) Lilacs grow best in sites with full sun and good drainage. Lilacs do not tolerate wet feet. If you have heavy clay soil, amend the soil before planting by adding plenty of organic matter. When planting your lilac, dig a large hole that is twice as wide as the root-ball and incorporate organic matter into the backfill (up to 1/3 of the amount).

Lilacs prefer soil with a pH between 6 and 7. If you need to raise your pH, lime your soil for the first few years in early spring or late fall, following directions on the label. Once lilacs are established, they are fairly indestructible, rarely needing supplemental water unless there is a drought. Fertilize once early in the season with a balanced organic fertilizer. Do not fertilize with a high-nitrogen fertilizer, otherwise you will get foliage at the expense of flowers.

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