full bloom pink lilac bushes

Growing Lilacs

Lilacs are hardy, long-lived plants that can add beauty to a landscape for years to come. Proper selection, siting, and care will ensure healthy lilacs for generations.

When choosing lilacs for your garden think about fragrance. Some lilacs offer a familiar sweet scent, while others are spicier. If selecting multiple lilacs, try to include early, mid-, and late bloomers to extend the season. If garden space is limited, consider looking for smaller-stature lilacs.

Good drainage is critical when planting lilacs as they will not tolerate saturated soils. Neutral, slightly acidic, or slightly alkaline soil is best (learn more about soil pH here). These plants also require full sun, with limited shade in order to produce the fullest flower set. Remember to prune dead, dying, diseased, or damaged limbs. This helps with air circulation and reduces the likelihood of powdery mildew, a common lilac pest.

Be sure to plant lilacs in early spring before the flowers open or in late summer to fall. Though they are hardy, lilacs still need ample water, especially after transplanting. Once established (typically after three growing seasons), an inch of water once a week is sufficient.