How to Plant Lilac Trees


The lilac is a close relative of the olive tree, though rather than bearing edible fruit, it offers homeowners several weeks of striking purple flower clusters known as panicles. These fragrant and impressive blossoms combine with general plant hardiness to make the lilac one of the most popular plants in America. Given moderate water, full sun and well-drained soil, a lilac will grow approximately 2 feet per year until it reaches full height, somewhere between 6 and 15 feet.

Step 1

Measure the pot or bag the lilac is currently in. When purchased, lilac trees will be brought home in some sort of temporary container. When you remove the tree from its current environment and transplant it into the ground, you won't want to disturb the roots any more than you have to.

Step 2

Find a sunny location for your tree and dig a hole that is approximately the same depth as the temporary container and at least twice as wide. Blend two cups of bonemeal into the loose soil.

Step 3

Remove the lilac tree from its temporary container by placing your hand at the base of the tree and turning the container upside down. Splay your fingers around the base to hold the majority of the soil in place around the tree base. Gently tug the tree from the container. If the roots are tangled or appear to be in the shape of a tight ball, brush a few of the larger root strands from the main cluster.

Step 4

Place the tree inside the hole ensuring the top of the soil the tree came packed in is level with the surrounding turf. If this is not the case, adjust the planting depth prior to filling the hole back in.

Step 5

Fill the hole with the soil-bonemeal mixture, pressing down lightly on the loose dirt as you go. Water the new tree generously and add a thick layer of mulch in a 12-inch circle around the tree base.

Tips and Warnings

  • Aphids and underwings can be problematic for lilac trees, so you might want to consider dusting the young plant with a pesticide.

Things You'll Need

  • Lilac tree
  • Shovel
  • Bonemeal
  • Water
  • Mulch


  • Lilac Tree
  • Common Purple Lilac Trees
  • Tree Planting Guide
Keywords: lilac, plant lilac, lilac tree

About this Author

Lisa Parris is a freelance writer covering a variety of topics, particularly health and wellness. Her work has appeared in various publications including the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology" and "The Monterey County Herald." She holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Peru State College.