For many of us, lilacs remind us of a simpler, slower moment in time. The fragrance and shape of these lovely flowers announce spring is slowly melting into summer. The blossoms are typically large and fragrant making excellent cut flowers.
Here are some tips for making the most of your lilac:
- Plant lilacs in full sun (6 hours minimum) in soil with good drainage.
- Lilacs need proper pruning to impress. Prune right after flowering, typically June, by cutting out individually the most mature stems at the base of the shrub. Buds set in August or September so spring pruning means NO flowers that year.
- The biggest blooms will grow on the tips of younger stems. June pruning will stimulate fresh growth for buds.
- Lilacs prefer sweeter soil. Adding a shovel full of lime will help the plants take up and use nutrients already in the soil.
- Lilacs prefer dry soils in late summer so do not water unless the plant is wilted. They despise clay soil that stays wet but they will smile upon you with good drainage.
- Fertilize with an organic fertilizer with a higher middle number (phosphorous for bud and bloom production) only between March and April. Apply the fertilizer away from the base of the shrubs near the outer edge of the canopy.