How to Feed Lilac Bushes


If you value low-maintenance gardening then the lilac bush (Syringa vulgaris) is the perfect plant for you. Lilacs provide the garden a light, sweet fragrance in the spring and the fragrance can be brought indoors with cut flowers. A deciduous shrub, the lilac thrives in almost any type of soil, it isn't bothered by insects and doesn't require a lot of fertilizer. If your lilac bush is growing in or near the lawn, keep lawn fertilizers away from the lilac's root zone as excess nitrogen will cause the plant to produce more foliage and fewer flowers.

Step 1

Fertilize the lilac bush in early spring with a high-phosphorous fertilizer or bone meal, according to the rate suggested on the package. Rake up old mulch and any garden debris. Spread the fertilizer on the soil around the lilac; rake it in to the top 1/2 inch of soil and water.

Step 2

Apply a fresh layer of mulch around the lilac bush. Pour 3 inches of mulch onto the soil, 2 inches away from the bark, and spread it out to the widest part of the bush.

Step 3

Apply lime to the soil in the fall, if you live in a region with acidic soil. Apply the lime at the rate listed, and according to the directions on the package. Do not apply lime at the same time that you apply fertilizer.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer or bone meal
  • Dolomitic lime
  • Rake


  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Lola And Milton Flack Lilac Collection
  • North Dakota State University Extension Service: Questions On Lilacs
  • Old Fashioned Living: Lilacs In The Spring
  • "Taylor's Master Guide to Gardening"; Roger Holmes, Rita Buchanan; 2001
Keywords: feed lilac bushes, fertilize lilac bushes, lilac bush fertilizer

About this Author

Victoria Hunter has been a freelance writer since 2005, specializing in gardening-related topics and the real estate industry. She is a former broadcaster and real estate agent who has provided audio and written services to small businesses and large corporations worldwide. She writes for, GardenGuides and ProFlowers, among others. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.