Propagation forum: How Do I propagate lilacs?

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Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
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fiwit
Aug 18, 2011 8:38 AM CST
Most things I know about gardening, I've learned on my own, typically through books or whatever. I don't have anyone near by that I can turn to and say "I've never done this before, and am not sure about what I'm doing..."

Hopefully, y'all can help out not just me, but others with similar questions.

My current burning question:

I have a lilac bush in my front yard. How do I share it with a friend? If the answer is "take a cutting," then the question further becomes "how do I do that?"


There are smaller, similar looking plants growing up around it - is it stoloniferous? Could I just dig up one of those babies (if they are babies), pot it and share it with my friend?


Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
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Name: Lee Anne Stark
Brockville, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5a)
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threegardeners
Aug 18, 2011 8:44 AM CST
Yes, Lilacs send up suckers. You can easily dig one up and share it with your friend. Cuttings are tricky and since Lilacs are so free with their suckers there is no point even trying to root cuttings...
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
Gardening dilettante, that's me!
Plays in the sandbox Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Dog Lover Daylilies The WITWIT Badge
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bluebonnets Birds Region: Georgia Composter Garden Ideas: Master Level
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fiwit
Aug 18, 2011 8:52 AM CST
Thanks!
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...
Name: Lee Anne Stark
Brockville, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5a)
Perpetually happy!
Forum moderator Tip Photographer I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Critters Allowed Cottage Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Keeps Goats Keeper of Poultry Frogs and Toads Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian
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threegardeners
Aug 18, 2011 8:53 AM CST
I tip my hat to you.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Dec 5, 2011 10:25 AM CST
Lilac cuttings root easily.
Dip them in rooting chemical, and plunge into a pot of soil.
Both old fashion lilacs and the "little leaf" lilacs have rooted this way.
Take the cuttings in the spring.
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
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Paul2032
Dec 5, 2011 11:22 AM CST
Dig and transplant the suckers in early spring just as the buds swell. Easy
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
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RickCorey
Dec 20, 2011 7:59 PM CST
>> Dig and transplant the suckers in early spring just as the buds swell.

My nehigbor's lilac has no suckers; I keep checking.

I suspect that pruning would encourage them. I'm opretty sure it has seen zero prining in many years.

Also, any mulch, compost, fertilizer or decent soil might encourage suckers!
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
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Paul2032
Dec 20, 2011 8:10 PM CST
Another method might to take one of the newest stems, bend it over and break it partially...bury the break and it often will root at the break. Transplant the following year.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

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PollyK
Feb 28, 2012 11:38 AM CST

Gone But Not Forgotten

I take cuttings when the new shoots are green, cut to include 2-3 nodes. Dip them in rooting hormone. Plant immediately as they wilt quickly. Keep well watered. Cuttings should root within about a month. Check for the roots, and then harden off the plants, and they can be planted right away if it's not too hot out.
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
Gardening dilettante, that's me!
Plays in the sandbox Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Dog Lover Daylilies The WITWIT Badge
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bluebonnets Birds Region: Georgia Composter Garden Ideas: Master Level
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fiwit
Mar 3, 2012 9:41 AM CST
I went out this morning after the 'who knows how much" rain we had last night and dug up some suckers, and potted them. We'll see if they survive. If they do, I'll be highly impressed and eternally grateful to y'all for the advice given here.

Thanks, y'all!
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
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kqcrna
Mar 3, 2012 2:22 PM CST
I imagine it would do real well by layering too, though I never tried it. I actually got rid of the two I had because I couldn't contain it- it spread and grew like wildfire. I've never seen so many suckers.

Karen
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jul 17, 2012 2:39 PM CST
When bending a branch to the ground, it will root faster if it's not broken. Just set a brick or rock on it to keep it in contact with the soil. Some leaves may need to be removed so the stem touches the ground well. This works for lots of plants, not just Syringa. If it won't bend that far, try bending it to contact the surface of a pot full of soil.

Pruning will cause suckering. Try not to trim much if you want a tree form. So few people let lilacs be the little tree they want to be. The key is to plant a single sucker and leave it alone. Unless you start hacking at it, it should rarely make suckers.

kqc - have you ever seen Nandina?

fiwit - how are the separated suckers doing? Lilacs and violets are on the top of my list of plants I miss from the north.
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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Jul 17, 2012 3:06 PM CST
They can also be propagated from seed. How do I know this? Because I've been having to dig the little rascals out of my planters this year!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
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kqcrna
Jul 17, 2012 4:21 PM CST
No, I don't don't think I've ever seen Nandina

Karen

Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
Gardening dilettante, that's me!
Plays in the sandbox Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Dog Lover Daylilies The WITWIT Badge
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bluebonnets Birds Region: Georgia Composter Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
fiwit
Jul 18, 2012 4:44 AM CST
They're growing well in their containers. I'll let them get bigger before transplanting or gifting them.
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...

3pete
Jul 20, 2016 6:07 PM CST
I have not been successful in propagating lilacs with both kinds of layering,
1. ground layering and air layering
3. cuttings, and
4. grafting.

1 & 2 I did ground and air layerings for quite some time; after about 2 years there were still no roots. Lots of info on the web.
3. Cuttings never rooted. I understand commercial growers propagate lilacs with cuttings, but they use expensive mist setups. You might try the following. It looks thorough:
https://sites.psu.edu/corinnespropagationwebsite/2014/10/10/...
4. I used the side by side grafting of two lilacs where both plants were well rooted in the ground. The graft just didnโ€™t take. If you have a privet hedge, you might want to root a piece of privet. It roots more easily than lilac and is a close relative to lilac. Once the privet is rooted, graft a piece of the desired lilac onto it.
5. Some lilacs produce suckers which grow out of the ground and have roots. I dig a bit around each one carefully. If I feel it is sufficiently supplied with roots, I pot it up and put it into the shade and water well. Months later it can be put anywhere, even into the ground if in the right season. If, when I dig around each sucker, I do not find enough roots, I cut through the "umbilical cord" between the parent lilac and the sucker. Then I leave it alone for another year to grow more roots.
6. I have not done the following, but it is generally a good way to grow sprouts. Remember : pruning encourages growth. I know how youโ€™d hate to hurt your favorite lilac, but there is a type of propagation called stump. Look it up under stump, mound, or stool propagation. You cut to within inches of the earth and stand back. Youโ€™ve probably seen an overgrown tree thatโ€™s been cut down, but the stump sends up sprouts up in no time. Here is a web site to get some stump information: http://www.fao.org/docrep/006/ad231e/AD231E03.htm Cut your lilac in that manner, but letโ€™s do a couple things differently. I would add an aluminum collar which you fill with soil. Etiolation means depriving of light. Etiolation also causes the area deprived of light to be pale and causes the cells to be more likely to produce roots. The soil you put into the collar does the etiolation for you. If you can get the May/June 1988 issue of Fine Gardening pp. 43-45, there is a fine article on etiolation.
7. Then there is tissue culture (tc) which is quite another matter. Here's a free tc protocol for syringa (lilac). https://sites.psu.edu/corinnespropagationwebsite/2014/10/10/...
Some protocols are for sale; others are free. Look for them with the genus plus words like in vitro, micropropagation, or tissue culture.
Order or borrow from your library Plants from Test Tubes: an Introduction to Micropropagation by Kleyn & Kyte It also is a source of protocols for many genera.
Tissue culture can extend gardening to a year-long hobby.
Good luck fiwit, if youโ€™re still there. 3Pete



[Last edited by 3pete - Jul 29, 2016 7:05 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1218748 (16)

3pete
Jul 21, 2016 8:20 AM CST
8. One more idea for propagating lilacs. Root cutting. Yes, cutting a piece of root itself. Here is a URL for it. I haven't done it myself but certainly am going to try. http://www.weekendgardener.net/plant-propagation/rootcutting...

Read the following, too. It's a terrific find. https://www.ndsu.edu/pubweb/chiwonlee/plsc368/lecture/cpt11/...
[Last edited by 3pete - Jul 26, 2016 9:58 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1219224 (17)
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 21, 2016 10:29 AM CST
That could be a nice article!

3pete
Jul 24, 2016 6:30 AM CST
Sorry. There is a word with incorrect spelling in my July 20 message above. Number 6. speaks of etoliation. It should be etiolation.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
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kqcrna
Jul 24, 2016 6:51 AM CST
You can edit your own post, Pete. On the lower right hand corner of the box click "edit"----
make your changes---- then click "finished"

Karen

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