The Q&A Archives: Lilac Doesn't Blossom

Question: I have a 4-5 yr old lilac bush that is growing feverishly but will not produce a single blossom. It is on the east facing side of the house. It has to be pruned every year because of the fast growth. But alas......., no buds.....HELP!!

Answer: Lilacs are fast growing shrubs, as you've discovered. However, if you're pruning it back every year, you're probably pruning off the blossom buds along with excessive stem and branch growth. Lilacs set two buds at the ends of stems that will become next year's blossoms. When you prune, try to leave as many of these stems as possible. After the plant has bloomed, you can safely cut the stems and branches back to give the plant all summer to develop new blossom buds for next season's bloom. Lilac's appreciate a slightly alkaline soil and bloom best after a pronounced winter chill, so some years you'll have more blossoms than others, but you should have at least a few blooms on your lilac every year.

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