How to Care for Lilac Flowers

Lilacs are prized for their short-lived clusters of small flowers. image by Sherry Bubble:


Lilacs are planted as often for their far-reaching scent as they are for their attractive flowers. Lilacs have a short blooming window, approximately two weeks, which can be lengthened by planting a mix of early- and late-blooming varieties. Low-maintenance, the green foliage adds shade and visual interest to your garden long after the blooms fade with very little effort from you. Properly caring for your lilac ensures maximum blooming and a healthy shrub year-round.

Step 1

Water lilacs during extended dry periods only. Water deeply once each week, as opposed to frequent light watering.

Step 2

Work compost into the top two inches of soil yearly in the spring. This adds needed nutrients back into the soil.

Step 3

Weed around the lilac bush as needed. Remove any garden debris, such as fallen leaves and twigs.

Step 4

Place a two-to-four inch layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips, around the base of each shrub. This preserves soil moisture and prevents weeds.

Step 5

Apply a general-purpose fertilizer in early spring right before flowering to encourage lush blooming. Apply a second fertilizer treatment once all the flowers have died and fallen from the shrub. Follow package instructions for proper application for the specific brand.

Step 6

Prune the lilac shrub after it completes flowering. Use sharp pruners to remove scraggly branches and shape the bush as desired.

Tips and Warnings

  • Lilacs will rot and die if left in standing water. Avoid over watering or planting in poorly drained areas. After the blooms begin to fall off but before next year's buds form, prune the lilac branches.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruners


  • The Helpful Gardener
Keywords: lilac care, growing lilacs, flowering shrubs

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.

Photo by: Sherry Bubble: