Trees and Shrubs forum→Lilac suckers?

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Name: Bria
Northern VA (Zone 7a)
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Nov 5, 2020 9:01 PM CST
Hi friends!

I watched a youtube video about propogating lilac trees by digging up suckers. I did this in early spring and put them in pots because I wasn't sure of a spot to plant them/ I was contemplating giving them as gifts for mother's day.

My question is: what should I do now? They still look ok but haven't grown much. Should I keep them in pots over winter or plant them before frost in the yard somewhere?

Name: Kim
Black Hills, SD (Zone 5a)
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Nov 6, 2020 1:09 PM CST
Hello @Bschmuck!

Either is fine, but here is my info on both options:
1. Keeping them in their pots until spring or late winter ensures that when they are planted in the ground (in spring) they can establish roots in a month or two, without weather interruptions.

2. Planting them now before the first frost could mean that they will establish roots throughout the winter and will be grown and ready in summer. But it might not work out. They could die while establishing roots in the winter, so this option isn't as guaranteed for your lilacs to live.

I don't know much about lilacs, but upon seeing that nobody else had answered your question, I figured I'd give it a shot. You also might want to ask your local master gardener for his/her advice.

Either way, I hope everything goes well with your lilacs!
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Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
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Nov 7, 2020 8:43 AM CST
Sink the whole pot in the ground for the winter. This keeps the root systems at an even (versus fluctuating) temperature throughout the cold period.

Come spring (or whenever), it will be easy to lift the pots and decide what you want to do next.
Name: SkirtGardener
Central Pennsylvania (Zone 5a)
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Nov 24, 2020 7:28 PM CST
Lilacs are pretty hardy, so I imagine they'll do fine through the winter even in exposed pots. (That's what I'm doing in zone 5.) But if you can plant them where you want them in the ground, so much the better. Fall is the best time to plant! (Especially extra hardy or deciduous things large enough to hold their own against critters outside the sprinkler zone; it give them the most amount of time to get established before summer drought.) And I suggest planting them deeply, so they'll both root along the stem to establish better, be better anchored against frost heave (if it's a small start), and attract less attention from critters while they're establishing (so as not to be pulled out of the ground by deer).

Best wishes!

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Name: Jen
The Dry Side of Oregon (Zone 6b)
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Dec 13, 2020 10:56 AM CST
Bria ~ you and I are in the same situation!

My amazing auntie sent me suckers from my Grandmother's home in Minnesota. Lilacs do well in my region, so I just decided what to do with them yesterday. We don't have hard soil yet so I dug a nice deep hole and plunked mine in the ground yesterday. The good news is that lilacs are SUPER hardy (think Minnesota cold!) and I have never had one die on me.

If you are nervous to lose them, I recommend keeping them potted in a cool (not outdoor) area, well mulched, and watering them every few weeks. An insulated garage is good. I opted to go straight into the ground because a foot under the ground is much warmer than in a plastic pot on my back patio!

Good luck! :)
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