Lilac Care

Written by Debra Wyatt (last updated January 27, 2023)

Lilac bushes have been known for a long time as a favorite to the home gardener. That could be because of the low maintenance that the bush requires. There is very little care needed for the lilac bush.

The bush has beautiful flowers that range from the palest pink to the deepest purple. There are even some varieties that are yellow and white and they all have a great fragrance. The lilac bush is also a good source for shade and privacy when planted as a hedgerow. They range in size from a dwarf variety up to some bushes growing as tall as thirty feet.

While lilacs don't require sun they do their best when being in the full sun. Lilacs that are planted in partial sun or shade don't flower well. After a bush has been planted it can take up to four years for it to establish itself. The amazing thing about the lilac shrub is that after it has been established they can live for centuries.

To be sure that you are getting the most abundant flowering from your lilacs, trim or cut off the blossoms each year after they have bloomed and lost their flowers. Then cut the flowering stems back to the leaves. This will help the flowers to bloom again next year.

Springtime is the best time for pruning your lilac bush, right after it stops blossoming and the flowers have faded. Then remove anywhere from 1/5 of the bush to 1/3 of the bush of the oldest stems at ground level. Then the next year remove the next 1/5 to 1/3 of the bush keep doing this until the bush has been pruned. While pruning the bush also remove any dead, damaged or diseased branches, basically anything that looks out of place or ugly on the plant. Then trim the plant to the size that you like.

Lilacs are pretty tough plants and can take a lot of abuse, but they do need their water—at least an inch per week. Don't over water the plant to where it is in standing water. They need to be planted on a hillside, on slightly elevate ground or on level ground as long as the drainage is good.

If there is a drought or an extended dry spill lilac bushes can survive, provided that when they are finally watered they are watered thoroughly. This is due to the fact that the roots of the lilac run deep.

Even though the lilac bush is a hardy bush there are times that the bush may be bothered by insect pests. Once you see a problem you will need to treat the bush immediately. Usually, spraying the bush with soapy water is enough to take care of the insect problem. If, for some reason, the infestation is heavy then there may be a need to prune the entire bush.

While it is not necessary to fertilize your lilac bush it does help to promote blooming. If you do decide to fertilize your bush then use a general-purpose fertilizer. The best time to fertilize is in the spring, and then fertilize again after the flowers have died off.

To keep your bushes or lilac hedge looking good then you will want to weed around the bush and add mulch to give a better appearance. Mulching will also aid in retaining moisture while keeping the weeds down. When putting mulch around the bush you will want to be careful that you don't add so much mulch that the new shoots can't sprout or develop.

When proper care is given to lilac bushes they will be around for you to enjoy for years.

Author Bio

Debra Wyatt

Deb has a communications degree and applies her talents to her position as Marketing Specialist at Sharon Parq Associates. In her spare time she spends time with her children and grandchildren and devotes time to her church. ...


Learning to Let Go

Organizing things can be very difficult if you've let clutter take over your life. Clutter can overcome your life to the ...

Discover More

Keeping Craft and Hobby Materials Organized

Your creative juices are flowing, but where to work on those projects? Just don't have room or simply can't find what you ...

Discover More

Making Eyes Look Bigger

There are some basic things that can be done to enhance your eyes. You can give the illusion that your eyes are larger or ...

Discover More
More Gardening Tips

Tips for Taking Cuttings

Plant cutting is a great way to get new plants out of your old ones. Hang your cuttings in a bag of soil to protect them ...

Discover More

How Can You Encourage Flower Propagation?

If you have noticed that your flowers are not thriving as well as you would like you may want to look into propagation. ...

Discover More

Growing Prize-Winning Flowers

The most important thing about growing prize-winning flowers is making sure that your flowers get the right nutrients. ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured gardening tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 1 + 1?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured gardening tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)