forcing lilac to bloom - Knowledgebase Question

Homer, Al
Avatar for lanalamoureu
Question by lanalamoureu
July 13, 2010
How old do lilac trees need to be before they bloom? Is there something you can do to force them, ph and fertilizer seem to be all right.

Answer from NGA
July 13, 2010
Lilacs sometimes won't flower until they are 7 years old. It's frustrating to say the least when you give them TLC and they refuse to respond. In general, lilacs flower best in full sunshine (8 hours of direct sun each day) and they prefer alkaline soils. I find that they bloom best when they do not receive fertilizer. This is because nitrogen can encourage lots of lush green growth but at the expense of flower production. Lilacs produce new growth in the summer months which also includes flower buds for the following year's floral display. If you prune them too late in the year you can accidentally prune off the flower buds and you won't get flowers the following spring. My advice is to withhold fertilizer this year and water as usual. next spring, whether or not your lilac blooms, prune them back a little in early summer to promote new growth. With any luck at all this will encourage flowering the following spring. And, next summer, feed with a bloom booster type fertilizer. Once that's low in nitrogen but high in phosphorus and potassium. I hope this combination of tactics will result in flower production. Good luck with your lilac!

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