Loving Lilacs

Are you looking to add some intoxicating fragrance and color to your spring garden? If so, lilacs (Syringa species) are the plant of choice. Flower colors, from light to deep shades of purple, are determined by variety. And there are many varieties to choose from. Some of our favorites include Lilac ‘Scentara Pura®’, Lilac ‘Pocahontas’, and Lilac ‘Scentara® Double Blue’. Can’t decide? Plant several different varieties if you have space in your sunny landscape.

A few rules to keep lilacs happy: make certain that your planting soil is slightly acidic (although lilacs are pH adaptable), fertile, and well drained. Existing soils can be amended with organic matter such as compost or composted manure prior to planting. Lilacs are not heavy feeders; a spring application of a complete fertilizer is adequate. Avoid fertilizers that are high in nitrogen. Excessive nitrogen pushes leafy growth at the expense of flower development. Want the best flowers? Plant in full sun.

The million-dollar question: when do you prune lilacs? Any pruning should be done immediately after flowering. If you wait too long to prune, you will remove next year’s flower buds.

Worth mentioning:

– Lilacs, old-fashioned favorites, are perfect as cut flowers for indoor enjoyment.
– Newer varieties are reported to be disease resistant.
– Heights and widths vary by variety. Read the label for specifics.
– Lilacs are not a preferred food of deer.