Lilac shrub - Knowledgebase Question

ashford, Co
Question by amacmanes
May 4, 2010
We have lilac that we planted 3 years ago. It is in well drained soil, getting about 4 hours of sun a day (that is if Ct gets sun), the shrub has more than doubled in size, looks great but has never flowered. We have fertilized it in the fall and spring. Any thoughts?

Answer from NGA
May 4, 2010


The most common reasons for lilac to fail to bloom are lack of sun and/or pruning at the wrong time of year. Lilacs do best with full sun all day long, or a minimum of six hours of sun including the hour of noon. Lilacs bloom on wood that grew the year before, so pruning in fall or early spring will remove the flowers for the coming season. The time to prune a lilac is in early summer right after it blooms. Lilacs are best pruned by thinning out a few of the oldest stems each year. Do this immediately after it blooms. Cut them off at the base. Remove only about one fifth of the plant this way each year. Also, at the same time, remove any shoots from the ground that are thinner than a pencil. This promotes vigorous new growth while allowing for good air flow and light penetration into the plant. You would not want to overfertilize a lilac; some gardeners will top dress with compost or a general purpose granular or slow release fertilizer per the label instructions each spring. If your lilac is adjacent to a lawn that is being fertilized, or if your local soil is naturally good and rich, you may not need to fertilize it separately. I hope this information helps.

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