In late spring and early summer, the deciduous Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) blooms for two weeks. Lilac bushes, with their dense foliage and pink, purple, or white fragrant blooms, are very simple to care for and can be trimmed. Sunlight, rich soil that drains well, and yearly light trimming are all required for all lilacs to thrive. The flowers may be used to brighten your home in early summer, and cutting off the blossoms encourages new growth.
Lilac bushes come in a variety of sizes, from tiny 4-foot (1.2-meter) shrubs to bigger bushes that may grow up to 20 feet (6 meters). Lilac plants come in a variety of bloom periods as well. You can enjoy your lilac blooms for up to 6 weeks in the summer if you place them strategically in your garden.
You’ll discover what a normal lilac bush and other lilac bushes look like in this article. In late spring, this huge tree-like shrub brightens gardens, and you’ll get tips on how to care for it.
Lilac Bush (Syringa vulgaris) Overview
The common purple lilac plant, Syringa vulgaris, resembles a robust flowering bush with thick leaves and cone-like flowers. Lilac bushes are connected to the olive, jasmine, ash tree, and forsythia bushes, and belong to the Oleaceae family. The fragrance of common lilac blossoms, blue, pink, purple, or white is beloved by gardeners.
Lilac plants are robust shrubs that may grow practically anywhere and need minimal care. You may grow a towering hedgerow or cut the branches of the lilac bush to make it look like a tree, depending on how you trim them.
Is Lilac a Shrub or a Tree?
Because it contains multiple stems that develop into a giant bush, lilac is a thickly branched shrub. The common lilac is a huge bush or shrub, even though it may reach heights comparable to certain trees. A typical lilac bush has up to ten canes that branch out from a central stem, generally below the soil. When the flowers bloom in late May, a fully-grown lilac bush will have a thick layer of foliage and produce varying hues of purple and pink.
Lilac Trees – Japanese Lilac Tree and Pekin Lilac Tree
Lilac trees, which may create stunning blossoms at the conclusion of spring, are available in a few varieties. Beautiful white or yellow blooms appear in early summer on the Pekin lilac tree (Syringa pekinensis). The white fragrant flowers of the Japanese lilac tree (Syringa reticulata) may reach a height of 25 feet (7.5 meters).
Lilac blooms resemble small flower clusters that are conical or pyramid-shaped. Lilacs’ blooms may range in length from 6″ to 8″ (15 cm to 20 cm). Light purple or a vivid lavender hue are the most frequent lilac flower hues. White, yellow, burgundy, and a variety of pink tones are among the other colors of lilac flowers. Lilac blooms signals the arrival of summer and lasts for a brief period of time.
The beauty and sweet fragrance of flowers on the common lilac bush are usually visible from eye level. Cutting the flowers to fit in a home vase is also simple because of this. Some blossoms in flowering lilac bushes are made up of single flowers, while others have double flowers, as seen in the images below. Lilac blooms in the double or French form look like they’re jumbled together, giving the impression of tiny blooms.
When do Lilac Shrubs Bloom?
In late May, the common lilac blossoms bloom and last for around two weeks. Planting various varieties of lilac bush will allow you to enjoy the blossoms for longer. Lilac bushes that bloom at different times of the year may be purchased. You may experience lilac blossoms for nearly 6 weeks in the summer if these kinds of lilac bushes grow together.
What do Lilac Flowers Smell Like?
On warm sunny days, there is nothing quite like the scent of blooming lilac. When the sun is shining, the light purple or pink blooms have powerful, sweet scents that seem to grow stronger. Lilac blooms are excellent for adding a lovely sweet fragrance to any room in your house. To ensure that your flowers last as long as possible, all you have to do is place the stems of chopped lilac flowers in a vase of water.
Common Varieties of Lilac Shrubs (With Pictures)
Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of lilac bushes.
Common Lilac Shrub (Syringa vulgaris)
Syringa vulgaris cultivars range from traditional lilac hues to deep reds or brilliant yellows, and they produce blossoms of all colors. Single lavender-blue flower clusters bloom on this lilac shrub. Syringa vulgaris “Charles Joly” is a tough and fungible lilac plant that blooms for 4 weeks. In late spring, this magenta-colored lilac plant produces gorgeous blooms.
Dwarf Korean Lilac Bush (Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’)
The dwarf Korean lilac bush grows to be around 4 or 5 feet (1.5 m) tall and is smaller than other lilac cultivars. Little gardens appreciate this sort of “mini” lilac bush. The dwarf lilac blooms for approximately two weeks in late spring or early summer, as it does with most lilacs. The little flowers produce a fragrant aroma and appear as light-pink clumps. The leaves change color to a rusty brown in the autumn, which can help bring some “fall effects” to your garden.
Persian lilac (S. persica)
Persian lilacs grow to 8 feet (2.4 meters) tall and spread out to 10 feet (3 meters) wide in warm regions. The large bush has fragrant lilac flowers that are 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7 cm) long and bloom throughout the season. Lilacs of this kind flourish in sunny environments best.
Littleleaf Lilac (S. microphylla)
The Littleleaf lilac produces reddish-pink blooms with tiny petals (also known as “Superba”). This late-blooming lilac variety may help your lilac bushes continue to bloom longer into the season. This purple plant thrives on bright sunlight and requires regular watering.
Early Flowering Lilac (Syringa hyacinthiflora)
This early blooming lilac shrub is a very hardy plant that bears bright red to pink blooms in abundance. By encouraging you to prolong the blooming period of your lilacs, this easy to grow lilac begins to bloom a week or 10 days earlier than other sorts of common lilac.
Tinkerbelle (S. bailbelle)
Tinkerbelle is a beautiful tiny lilac shrub that blooms late in the year and is ideal for smaller gardens. From late spring to early summer, mixing Tinkerbelles lilac bushes with ordinary lilac shrubs will provide you with plenty of lovely blossom.
How to Grow Lilacs
Even for the novice gardener, growing lilac shrubs or tiny trees is simple. Lilacs require very little upkeep in general, and late summer or early autumn is all that is required for them to trim their branches and stems. Miniatures of lilacs, such as the “Bloomerang” or “Miss Kim,” are popular among certain gardeners because they are used as foundation plants.
For privacy in the summer, other gardeners plant lilac in rows to create dense foliage hedgerow. Lilac makes lovely specimen plants that resemble little blooming trees when it is properly pruned.
When to Plant Lilac Bush
Lilacs should be planted in the autumn. The root systems of the new lilac plants have a chance to develop before they start growing in the spring. In the spring, you may also plant bare lilac roots purchased online or at garden shops once the ground has thawed out.
It is simple to relocate the lilacs you bought in pots to your garden if you plant them in pots. Make certain that the lilac roots are thoroughly covered in topsoil before you plant.
Where to Plant Lilacs
Lilacs should be planted in locations of your garden that get a lot of direct sunlight. Therefore, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, avoid cultivating lilacs in shady places or on north-facing sides of your garden (Southern Hemisphere). You should also make sure that the land you want to plant your lilac bushes on drains well. If the roots of lilac bushes are immersed in too much water, they won’t bloom. You should plant 5 to 15 (1.5 to 4.5 m) apart depending on the size of the lilac bushes you want to grow, so that their leaves create a barrier hedge.
How to Care for Lilac Bush
There are still a few things you can do to care for your lilac so that it may thrive, even if it will grow without much care or attention. Maximize the number and size of blossoms you can expect around late May or early June by pruning at the appropriate time and using the correct fertilizer.
Light requirements for growing lilac plants
Lilacs prefer full sun and grow best in a location in your garden that faces south. As the sun shines at its brightest, your garden will be permeated with a fragrant lilac scent.
The best soil for growing lilac plants
The pH of the soil needs to be neutral to slightly alkaline for your lilac bush or tree to flourish. Digging in organic compost around the roots of your lilac can help improve the soil quality. Lilacs, on the other hand, are robust shrubs that can tolerate clay soil.
How to water lilac plants to encourage healthy growth
In the summer, only a little watering is required for established lilac plants. Throughout June and July, when there is minimal rainfall, you usually only need to water them once a week. Mulching the roots can help keep the soil moist and nurturing for propagation gigantic blooms by keeping it warm. During the fall and winter, you should reduce the amount of watering for shrubs.
The best temperature conditions for lilac plants
Lilac plants do not do well in extremely hot or humid environments, despite the fact that they need plenty of sunlight. USDA hardiness zones 3 through 7 are suggested for growing them.
Lilac fertilizer for healthy shrubs
In the spring, putting fertilizer around the roots of lilac bushes can help them grow healthier. This will aid the lilac leaves in blooming well the following year by feeding them. Too much fertilization can stunt lilac shrub blossoming, so don’t overfertilize.
Can You Grow Lilacs Indoors?
Since they grow into enormous bushes taller than humans, most lilac plants should be cultivated outdoors. Lilacs need at least 6 hours of sunlight every day to flourish indoors. If you plant tiny lilac varieties in containers near your home, you might have some success growing them. Your front door, porch, or decking may all benefit from this.
Josée, Tinkerbelle, and Bloomerang are some of the small lilac types to choose from. But, the little purple shrub in your garden’s roots will outgrow the pot after a year or two, so you’ll have to relocate it.
When and How to Prune Lilac Bush
Lilac bushes don’t need to be trimmed, but if you want to keep them from growing too tall, you can trim them. To provide new shoots adequate time to develop for the following season, pruning lilac bushes is best done immediately after they finish blooming. Lilac shrub pruning too late in the season may inadvertently kill emerging buds that will develop the following year.
Remove any little suckers near the root of the stems to help your lilac bush grow. Trim canes back to eye height to control the height of your lilac. You should also remove around a third of the inner canes or branches. This will allow air to circulate and help prevent lilac plant leaves from becoming too thick.
Propagating Lilac Shrubs
Lilacs may be easily propagated from suckers or sprouts growing at the root, and they grow quickly. Digging out the suckers and roots of existing lilac bushes is all it takes to encourage new growth. Dig a hole, place the sucker in the hole, fill with topsoil, and water well in a sunny spot in your garden.
Lilac shoots can also be propagated in containers. You’ll need a 1-gallon bin with neutral or slightly alkaline soil. So that they grow well, keep the containers in direct sunlight. It’s important to remember that lilac bushes take many years to grow and blossom if you want to grow them from seed.
How to Transplant Lilacs
Transplanting lilac shrubs soon after they bloom is the best time. To avoid damaging the roots, you should dig around them carefully with a garden fork. The roots of the lilac bush should be removed. Dig a new hole, tamp down the topsoil, water it well, and cover with mulch. It is extremely easy to transplant your lilac from a pot. Plant the plant in its new location after removing it with its roots.
Diseases that Can Affect Lilac Shrubs
Lilac plants are robust deciduous shrubs that require very little attention and are virtually never afflicted by pests or diseases. Some kinds of Syringa vulgaris, on the other hand, are more vulnerable to illness. The most prevalent disease affecting lilac plants is powdery mildew. This can make lilac bush leaves unattractive, even though it isn’t a serious plant disease. White spots on the leaves that progressively turn the whole leaf white are symptoms of lilac powdery mildew.
In the summertime, the finest method to avoid powdery mildew is to trim your lilac shrubs. This helps lilac roots stay dry and encourages air circulation. The lilac borers, a kind of moth, may attack the shrub’s branches. In the fall, cut the branches of freshly pruned lilac trees if you see eggs. To get rid of the annoying flies, you may also try a natural neem insecticide spray.
Where to Buy Lilac Plants
In many garden centers or online shops, lilac shrubs are readily accessible. Bare root types of planters are the most common type of lilac plant sold online for indoor garden planting. To grow your shrub, all you have to do is dig a hole in the ground. Various kinds of lilac shrubs are often sold in large containers at garden and landscaping stores, making them simple to bring into your garden.