How To Plant A Lilac Bush In A Pot

Before planting, transport any large or heavy containers or planters into their final location.

Lilacs need a site with full sun and at least six hours of sunlight each day. They also require humus-rich, fertile soil with a pH range of 7.0 to 7.5 that is neutral to alkaline and well-draining.

A two to three inch layer of drainage material, like broken pottery or pebbles, is what I like to use to line containers.

A healthy soil mixture richly supplemented with aged compost or well-rotted manure, as well as moisture-retentive material as specified below in the section on soil demands, should be placed halfway up the container. Avoid peat moss because Syringa species can’t handle its high acidity.

Add some bone meal, then insert the roots. Keep the top of the root ball level with the soil when backfilling. To prevent water runoff from the top when you water, be sure to leave some room at the rim.

At the soil level, water gently and deeply. Water should only be applied when the top one to two inches of soil are dry. The soil should be kept softly moist but not soaked.

Feed indoor plants with a balanced 10-10-10 (NPK) fertilizer once a year in the early spring.

Soil Needs

Syringa species, cultivars, and hybrids need fertile, sweet soil to grow successfully in containers because they don’t fare well in acidic environments.

Add aged compost or manure to the soil to amend up to half of the volume. Add another 25% of moisture-retentive materials to this mixture, such as coconut coir, hemp fiber, perlite, or vermiculite; avoid using peat moss, which has a pH of about 3.5 and is very acidic.

If the soil is still too sour, test it again and add one cup of dolomite lime for every two cubic feet of dirt to sweeten the mixture.

Do lilacs thrive in containers?

Lilacs grown in small containers require a lot of room for their roots. They thrive when their roots can spread out and grow into larger plants. We advise using a container that is at least 12 inches deep and 24 inches broad, whichever is larger. Greater root protection from harsh heat or cold results with larger containers. Additionally, it guarantees that the roots won’t be frozen or subjected to extreme heat. The lilac requires less frequent watering as the pot size increases. Black containers should be avoided because they can cause the lilac to become overheated.

Where should a lilac bush be planted?

When the lilacs begin to blossom, it is a solid indicator that spring has arrived for good. While many people only have a limited knowledge of common lilac (also known as French lilac) shrubs that can reach a height of 15 feet or more, there are now a lot more options available than there were fifty years ago. Some varieties that rebloom enhance the garden’s appeal the entire growing season.

How to Choose Lilacs

The common lilac is what you will most likely find when you go plant shopping. This traditional plant comes in a variety of cultivars and variations, each of which yields fragrant spring flowers in pink, purple, white, or even combinations of those hues. Common lilacs can get rangy and big, but are usually the most fragrant type of lilac.

Rebloomers have arrived in the garden center thanks to recent introductions of hybrids between the common lilac and other shrub-type lilacs. Some of these more recent types are a little less fragrant, but they also tend to be smaller, bloom more frequently throughout the growing season, and have fewer powdery mildew issues.

The tree lilac is another common variety of lilac. It can grow to a height of around 20 feet and blooms with cream-colored flowers in the middle of the summer. Though it doesn’t require much trimming, keep in mind that the tree lilac is a tree, not a shrub.

Where to Plant Lilacs

Lilacs should be planted in full light (at least 6 to 8 hours per day), as too much shadow will prevent them from blooming. Lilacs also prefer moist, well-drained soil that is slightly alkaline.

When to Plant Lilacs

Before the ground freezes in the late fall is the ideal time to plant lilacs. After the earth thaws in the early spring, that is the next ideal period to plant. Lilacs will likely need to be planted as soon as you can locate them at the garden center, which is great; if you choose to do so during a warmer season, they might require additional watering.

How to Prepare the Soil for Planting Lilacs

A soil test should be performed prior to planting since lilacs thrive in slightly alkaline (6.5 to 7.0 pH), moist, well-drained soil that is high in organic matter. Lime must be added to raise the pH if it is below 5.5. It’s time to get the soil ready when you’ve obtained the ideal pH. Improve individual planting holes by mixing Miracle-Gro Garden Soil for Trees & Shrubs in a 50:50 ratio with the natural soil to give lilacs a nutrient-rich start. Iron and phosphorus are also present in this garden soil to promote root development and ward off leaf fading.

How far should a lilac bush be planted?

Did you know that the National Gardening Bureau has designated 2022 as the “Year of the Lilac”? They have a sweet, eerie aroma and are among the easiest shrubs for your landscaping to maintain that bloom in the spring. Find out how to plant, nurture, and prune your lilacs.

About Lilacs

Syringa vulgaris, or common lilac, is prized for its tenacity, dependability, and scent. Lilacs are so hardy that they can live for more than 100 years and frequently outlive the houses they were planted near.

This tiny, multi-stemmed deciduous shrub (or tree) has approximately ten canes and blooms at eye level. The height of a common lilac can range from 8 to 12 feet, depending on the cultivar. The aromatic flowers attract butterflies and make good cuttings.

There are lilac types that come in white, cream, and even pink and yellow, though the blooms are typically lilac/purple in hue (ranging from very pale to extremely dark). Flowers can be solitary or double in number.

Lilacs bloom in northern states from mid- to late spring for around two weeks. However, there are lilac varieties for early, mid, and late seasons that, when cultivated together, guarantee a consistent bloom for at least six weeks.

Lilacs do best in soil that is fertile, humus-rich, well-drained, and neutral to alkaline (at a pH near 7.0). Add compost to your soil to improve it if it is in bad condition. (Learn more about adding amendments to the soil and getting it ready for planting.) Lilacs don’t enjoy having their feet wet and won’t blossom if they are kept too moist, so make sure the planting area drains well.

Lilacs should be planted in full sun, which is defined as having at least six hours of sunlight each day, for the finest blooms.

How to Plant Lilacs

  • If you’re fortunate, a friend may offer you a sucker, or offshoot, of the plant’s root system. The sucker will first appear pitiful, but all you need to do is dig a hole, fill it with soil, and then insert the sucker. water next, and then wait. You’ll be rewarded with enormous, fragrant blossoms in 4 or 5 years.
  • Lilacs purchased from nurseries can also be planted easily. If the plant was cultivated in a container, spread its roots out as you plant it; if it was balled or burlapped, gently remove the covering and any rope before doing so. Set the plant 2 to 3 inches deeper than it was while it was growing in the nursery and cover the roots with topsoil. in water Then add more topsoil to the hole to finish it.
  • Depending on the kind, place multiple lilac bushes 5 to 15 feet apart.
  • Apply a layer of compost under the plant each spring, followed by a layer of mulch to keep moisture in and weeds under control.
  • If the weekly rainfall is less than 1 inch, water during the summer.
  • If lilacs receive too much fertilizer, they won’t bloom. In the late winter, they can manage a few 10-10-10, but no more.
  • Spread some lime and thoroughly composted manure around the base of your lilac bush once it has finished blooming. Remove suckers while you form the shrub by trimming it.

Pruning Lilacs

  • Since lilacs blossom on old wood, it’s important to prune in the spring immediately following their bloom. You risk removing the wood if you prune later in the summer. A word of advice: It’s time to prune if your lilac flower clusters are getting smaller!
  • After bloom each year, cut away any dead wood. Remove the oldest canes by pruning (down to the ground). Take out the tiny suckers. Reduce weak branches until a robust shoot remains. Reduce tall canes to eye level.
  • Remove one-third of the oldest canes (down to the ground) in year one, half of the remaining old wood in year two, and the remainder in year three if your lilac is very old and in poor condition. Cutting the entire plant back to a height of approximately 6 or 8 inches is another option for elderly lilacs. Although it sounds dramatic, lilacs are remarkably resilient. This option’s drawback is that it takes some time for the hair to grow back. The lilac will grow back bursting with blooms, so there will be less work and more reward.
  • It is important to understand that extreme trimming causes bloom loss for one to three years. For these reasons, a smart pruning program gives the bushes yearly attention in an effort to avoid making dramatic and severe cuts.

The Syringa vulgaris kind of lilacs is the most widely grown and fragrant:

  • Try the double magneta variety “Charles Joly” for an early bloom.
  • Lilacs in the middle of the season include “Monge,” a deep reddish purple, and “Firmament,” a delicate blue.
  • Late-season beauties include ‘Miss Canada’, a reddishpink, and ‘Donald Wyman’, a single purple.

Syringa x hyacinthiflora, an early-flowering lilac cultivar, opens 7 to 19 days before those of the common lilac. Hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to its fragrant blossoms.

The cutleaf lilac, a fragrant pale lavender, is one of the common lilacs that may flourish as far south as Zone 9. Common lilacs appreciate cold weather. The beautiful shrub Syringa patula ‘Miss Kim’ has light lilac-blue flowers that eventually become white.

There are tiny kinds for gardeners who simply don’t have the space for the conventional larger lilacs, particularly those in urban settings. Even in a container on your balcony or patio, they will grow.

  • ‘Baby Kim’ has a lovely rounded shape, only grows 2 to 3 feet high (and 3 feet wide), and has purple flowers that draw butterflies. Hardiness from Zones 3 to 8 extended.
  • Compact lilac ‘Little Lady’ (Syringa x) has dark pink buds that open to lilac-pink flowers and grows to be 4 to 5 feet tall and wide at maturity. Zones 2 to 7 are tough.
  • Syringa vulgaris cultivars “New Age Lavender” and “New Age White” were developed for mildew resistance and are quite compact, growing from 4 to 5 feet tall and wide. Hummingbirds and butterflies are drawn to their fragrant blossoms. Zone 4 hardy.

The ideal soil for lilacs is…

Lilacs grow best in a sunny area with alkaline to neutral, fertile, well-drained soil that is rich in humus. Lilacs grow well in alkaline or chalky soil.

How to plant lilac

Create a deep trench, then plant your lilac until the earth is just above the surface. Gently compact and backfill the soil surrounding the plant. Well with water. Mulch the area after planting to assist the soil retain moisture. If you’re growing lilac in a pot, pick one with a minimum diameter of 60 cm. Plants should be placed in John Innes No. 3 compost that has drainage added using sand or grit.

What distinguishes a lilac bush from a lilac tree?

Lilac bushes (also known as shrubs) are characterized by their numerous woody stems that emerge from the plant’s base. In contrast, the trunk of the majority of lilac trees is the only woody stem. However, your neighborhood garden center might also sell shrub lilacs that have been grafted onto a single stem to give them the appearance of miniature trees.

The choice between a lilac tree and a lilac bush is typically determined by the amount of space available. Lilac bushes come in a range of sizes and can be placed in more compact areas of a garden. A lilac tree requires space to reach heights of 20 feet and widths of 15 feet. Both require sunlight to bloom well.

A lilac shrub can it be kept small?

Keep in mind that there are new dwarf types of lilacs available, such as the repeat blooming “Boomerang,” that tend to stay much shorter in height and can easily be kept shorter than 6 feet tall with yearly pruning.

Are lilacs suited for coffee grounds?

Lilac plants don’t require a lot of food or fertilizer. A 10-10-10 fertilizer mixture applied yearly in the early spring is what we advise. (The amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, or NPK as they are popularly known, are represented by the digits 10-10-10 in the formula.) Early spring fertilization of lilacs with a high phosphorus solution encourages blossoming.

Coffee grounds and grass clippings are also excellent sources of nitrogen. Use in moderation since an excess of nitrogen in the soil can lead to subpar blooms. The ideal soil conditions for lilacs are slightly alkaline (6.5–7.0 pH), wet, and well-drained. The soil may become more alkaline by adding bone meal to it. Use Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed Flowering Trees & Shrubs Plant Food in the spring if you decide to feed your plant. Last but not least, lilac plants dislike acidic soil. Epsom salts can be used to encourage blossoming while the plant is dormant.

How frequently do I need to water a lilac bush?

A traditional flower garden, outdoor space, or decorative pot should all contain lilac plants as they are a staple flowering shrub. Zones 3 through 8 are suitable for growing these fragrant shrubs, and they require very little maintenance. Lilacs need at least 6 hours per day of direct sunlight to produce their best flowers. Lilacs benefit from regular watering after initial planting, throughout active growth seasons (spring), and during prolonged dry spells. Lilacs are fairly drought tolerant once they are established.

It is advised to water your lilac plant once every 10 to 14 days from spring till blooming is finished. The ideal irrigation for lilacs is deep, infrequent watering. Make sure the planting space or container has good drainage. These plants don’t appreciate having their feet wet and won’t bloom if they are overwatered. By saturating air pockets with water and reducing soil oxygen levels, excessive water can strangle the lilac tree’s roots. The first indication that the lilac is overwatered is the plant wiggling.