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Should a Lilac Bush be in the Shade or Sun?

By Charlene Williams
Lilacs produce beautiful clusters of fragrant flowers.

With its sweet fragrance and beautiful purple or white blooms, the lilac bush is an old-fashioned favorite. Once established, a lilac bush is hardy and adaptable. However, adequate sunlight is crucial to optimal bloom production.

Sun Requirements

The lilac bush can grow in full sunlight or in partial shade. Ideally, a lilac should receive six to eight hours of full sun daily. Although you can grow a lilac in partial shade, it will produce fewer blooms and grow slower than a bush planted in full sunlight.

Location to Plant

When planting a lilac bush, always choose a sunny, well-drained location. If you are planting lilacs in a hedge, the Utah State University Cooperative Extension recommends planting the hedge in a single row with bushes spaced 3 to 6 feet apart to allow sunlight to reach the lower branches.

Established Lilacs

Sometimes an established lilac bush will stop blooming or bloom less, because the location has become shadier over time. Tree limbs or surrounding shrubs may need to be trimmed to allow more sunlight. If you're unable to change the shade situation, consider transplanting the lilac bush to a sunnier location.


About the Author


Based in the Atlanta area, Charlene Williams has been writing and editing since 1988. She has over 15 years of experience working as a technical writer in the software industry. She has worked as a freelance writer for the past five years, and is a contributing writer for eHow and Answerbag. Williams holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Kennesaw State University.