Lilac Won't Flower - Knowledgebase Question

North Las Vegas, Ne
Question by cherchioglor
February 6, 2009
I live in North Las Vegas, NV. I bought and planted a lilac bush in 2001, and can't get it to flower. I have tried not cutting it, I have tried cutting it, and still no flowers. One time about 2 years ago there was one bud with about 5 flowers on it. That was it. What can I do? Thanks, Gloria


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Answer from NGA
February 6, 2009

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I think you're on the right track. Lilacs should be pruned immediately after flowering because they spend the summer producing flower buds for the following years floral display. Pruning encourages new growth and flowers will be at the tips of the stems. Not pruning won't stop new growth, but pruning will encourage additional new growth, and the potential for lots of flowers. Lilacs need a pronounced winter chill. If your winters have been mild for the past few years, that may account for lack of flowers. I know you recently had snow so this winter may have been cold enough for your lilac and it should produce flower buds this summer for next spring's floral display. I hope your lilac is in full sunshine and that you don't have a late frost that might nip the flower buds before they can open next year. Aside from full sun, adequate water, no fertilizer and a cold winter, there's not much you can do to encourage more flowers. There are some varieties (Descanso) that will flower even in mild winter areas so perhaps you'll decide to replace your non-flowering variety with one that performs better in your climate. Best wishes with your lilac!

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