Lilacs – Even I can Grow Them
Durable, beautiful and fragrant Lilacs, what a great choice for your yard.
This plant gives some serious impact to your yard or garden. The most common varieties get quite large and with minimal care will provide you years of beautiful spring blossoms and an amazing fragrance.
I really enjoy the spring in our yard. We are fortunate to have so many perennials and flowers trees and shrubs. The month of May is just an ongoing series of new flowers and awesome fragrances for us. Listen, I am no more than a average gardener. If I can grow lilacs, you can too. If you follow the tips below you will soon have an amazing hedge of your own.
Let’s start with the soil conditions that work best. Fertile, well drained soil with a neutral PH near 7 is ideal. If you have soil that is not humus rich, add compost to improve the soil. Lilacs do not like wet conditions. Getting too much water will effect the amount and quality of the blooms you get. Well drained or sloping soil is best. Our lilacs are on a south facing hill with full sun.
When laying out your lilac hedge remember that these plants gets quite large so plan your hedge accordingly. This is not a great choice for small shady yards. In addition to space, lilacs need 6 hours of full sun a day for best results. Plants should be spaced 5 to 15 feet apart depending on the specific variety you plan on using and what kind of effect you are going for.
In our yard we have a very large hedge which was planted by my grandfather literally decades ago. These plants are durable and do spread out and fill in. When we built our house, we needed to move some of the lilacs my grandfather planted. We cut the lilacs down to the ground and dug up the old roots with a backhoe. We moved the roots to a new area where we wanted a hedge and filled in with dirt. Within a couple of years we had a whole new hedge that is still going strong 25 years later.
If you want to trim your lilacs it is recommended that you wait until they have bloomed. Spring is the best time to prune. Don’t do the chop job we did many years ago, but rather remove any dead wood. Prune out the oldest canes (down to the ground). Remove the small suckers. If you have really old plants like we do, spread out a major pruning over three years. Prune one third of the old canes each year. This will minimize the shock to the plant. (Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet when we hacked our old lilacs so we didn’t know any better) The backhoe driver assured me that lilacs were so tough that you couldn’t kill them if you wanted to. I think we were lucky that the lilacs did so well in spite of the harsh pruning and transplanting we did.
Basic care for you lilacs should include adding a layer of compost around the base in the spring. Grass growing under your lilac will effect the blossoms. To be honest, we have never watered our lilacs although it is recommended if you get less than 1 inch of rain per week. (see even I can grow these as you can get away with ignoring your plant once it is established) Just like too much water, too much fertilizer will inhibit your blooms. A small amount of 10-10-10 fertilizer in the winter should be all you need give your lilac.
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