The lilac bush is a popular perennial plant grown for the fragrant flowers it produces. Lilacs are a low-maintenance bush often planted as a hedge, because most varieties grow to a height of 8 feet or taller. Grow more lilacs by propagating your lilac bush through softwood cuttings taken in the months of May through July. Take your softwood cuttings--the green, new growth on your lilac's woody stems--to start new plants.
Cut 4- to 6-inch softwood cuttings from new or 1-year-old stems on your lilac bush. Use a pruning clipper or sharp knife to make clean cuts.
Place the cuttings in a plastic bag with moist paper towels to prevent water loss from the stems.
Remove all leaves from the bottom half of the stem and all flowers and buds. This will focus the stem's energy toward rooting instead of flower growth.
Lightly moisten sterile rooting medium with water, and place it into a rooting tray.
Dip the lower cut end of the stem into powdered rooting hormone, and gently tap it to remove excess.
Stick the stem into the rooting medium at a depth of one-third the length of the stem.
Water the medium and cuttings, and place a clear plastic cover over the tray. This will increase the humidity around the cuttings to assist with root development.
Place the tray in a warm location with indirect sunlight. The top of a refrigerator is an ideal location if light is available. Do not place the tray in direct sunlight.
Monitor the stems for three to four weeks, keeping the medium damp, but not wet.
Gently pull on the cuttings after three to four weeks of growth to check for root development. Resistance when you pull on the stem is a sign roots have formed.
Transplant rooted stem cuttings to individual planting containers filled with sterile potting soil once the roots are at least 1 inch long. Grow the cuttings in containers for the first growing season to strengthen their root systems.