How to Propagate Lilac Plants


Part of the beauty of lilac plants is their lasting strength and ease of maintenance. While they are well-known for their quick flash of purple, pink and white blooms, lilacs can also live for over a century in the right soil and with the right care. Propagating lilac plants is simple and easy. Once your new lilac is planted you should start seeing blooms in two to three years.

Step 1

Look over the existing lilac base for strong new shoots coming up from the ground, which are furthest out from the main base of the parent plant. Use the shovel to dig down to expose the roots, careful not to cut the stem of the shoot.

Step 2

Sever the roots that connect the shoot from the parent with a hand trowel by giving a solid, quick thrust downward through them, making the cut as smooth as possible to keep damage and scarring to a minimum.

Step 3

Dig a 16-by-16-inch area for the lilac shoot in a location that receives full sun and drains well, preferably in the soil type the parent plant was in. Add a 5-inch layer of compost over the hole and mix it in with the existing soil to prepare it.

Step 4

Dig a small hole in the center of your prepared area and place the shoot into the loosened soil with the roots extending down vertically. Hold the shoot to plant it only as deep as it was in the ground before and press the soil around the shoot carefully without packing it down.

Step 5

Water the soil well enough to moisten without muddying it. Keep the soil moist with regular watering every few days for the first month until you see new growth appear. Once established, water only as needed if your area is experiencing drought-like conditions.

Step 6

Add a few inches of mulch in a 1-foot diameter circle around the base of the lilac to help keep moisture in and weeds out.

Things You'll Need

  • Lilac plant
  • Shovel
  • Hand trowel
  • Compost
  • Water
  • Mulch


  • "Lilacs: The Genus Syringa"; John L. Fiala; 2002
Keywords: how to propagate lilacs, how to propagate lilac plants, propagating lilac

About this Author

Margaret Telsch-Williams is a freelance, fiction, and poetry writer from the Blue Ridge mountains. When not writing articles for Demand Studios, she works for as a contributor and podcast co-host.