How to Propagate a Lilac Tree


Lilac is a robust tree shrub that can grow in a variety of locations. This simple plant is desirable due to the eclectic nature of the species; it comes in a large variety in colors, shapes, flower sizes and sizes. Lilacs can be placed into your garden for shade, as a wind break, as an accent piece or for fragrance. There are about 26 different species of lilac, with more than 4,000 varieties. Most varieties of lilacs are propagated in the same manner, by taking a sampling of the root sprout.

Step 1

Dig down around the base of the plant to expose the roots of new shoots that have started growing from the base of the trunk. Dig using a shovel only at the surface, then slowly scrape away the dirt by hand to avoid damaging the root.

Step 2

Cut the shoot away from the plant, making sure the shoot is soft at the top, yet older and harder at the bottom. This ensures the shoot is mature enough to place in a new container. Take a cutting that is 6 to 8 inches long.

Step 3

Fill a small pot, about 3 inches in height, with potting soil. Dip the base of the cutting in a hormone rooting powder, which can be bought from a garden center. Place the cutting into a hole in the soil so that one third of its length is covered.

Step 4

Water the soil, then cover the pot and plant with a plastic bag to prevent moisture from escaping. Put the pot in a warm place. Keep the cutting's soil moist until the cutting has taken root. The cutting should be rooted in about a month and can then be moved to the garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Knife
  • Pot
  • Soil
  • Hormone rooting powder
  • Plastic bag


  • Garden Action: How to Take a Semi-Ripe Cut
  • Gardening Know How: Lilac Care
  • UNL: Lilacs
Keywords: lilac tree, propagate lilac, lilac cuttings

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.