How to Take Care of Lilac Bushes


Lilacs are one of the most recognizable of all spring flowering bushes. The bush starts off barren in early spring and then grows into a nice shade-producing bush in the heat of summer. Once they bud and flower, they're identifiable by their fragrant scent followed by their hues of either white, deep purple or light purple. The lilac bush is very low-maintenance and most varieties colonize or spread rapidly each season. Taking care of your lilac bush will provide years of enjoyment each spring and summer.

Step 1

Plant lilac bushes or their seedlings in slightly elevated areas or on the sides of hills. This will allow water to flow away from the roots --- preventing root rot. Lilac bushes prefer areas where their roots can drain after a good rain. Most lilac bushes prefer a light, sandy soil with a pH ranging between 6.0 and 7.0.

Step 2

Weed underneath and around your lilac bush. Heavy and tall weeds can damage the roots and prevent nourishment from reaching the bush. Add a 2-inch layer of wood mulch to the base every spring to prevent additional weeds from forming.

Step 3

Trim the bush back as needed. This is generally done in very early spring before any buds have formed. Look for tree-like branches with a large trunk near the main trunk. If the branches between the base of the bush and the top are dead, cut them back or remove them. A lilac should have buds starting on a healthy branch at least 12 inches from the base of the bush.

Step 4

Propagate seedlings that grow around the original bush. Lilacs can multiply. These new seedlings must be replanted at least 3 feet apart from other lilac bushes. Propagate as needed in the early spring or late fall when there no leaves or active buds are on the trees.

Step 5

Drive pests and insects away. Rodents are attracted to lilac bushes. They can damage the bark and roots. Replace mulch each spring to prevent rodents from digging and making holes and nests. Set up a catch-and-release mole trap if they are a problem. Use an insecticidal soap to kill aphids. Spray over the entire bush to prevent them from eating the leaves.

Things You'll Need

  • Gardening gloves
  • Pruning shears
  • Insecticidal soap
  • Catch-and-release mole tap (optional)


  • Tips For Growing Lilacs
  • Lilac Care -- Growing And Planting Lilac Bush Plants
  • Bayer Environmental Science: Sevin Carbaryl Insecticide

Who Can Help

  • Care and Culture of Lilac Bushes
Keywords: lilac bush, lilac care, spring flowering bush

About this Author

Julie Boehlke is a seasoned copywriter and content creator based in the Great Lakes state. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Boehlke has more than 10 years of professional writing experience on topics such as health and wellness, green living, gardening, genealogy, finances, relationships, world travel, golf, outdoors and interior decorating. She has also worked in geriatrics and hospice care.