Lilacs have a beautiful blossom with a wonderful scent. Following a few simple steps will keep your Lilac happy and healthy and you receive many years of enjoyment for your efforts.
LOCATION It is important to pick the right spot to plant your Lilac. They thrive where drainage is good and the ground does not stay wet for a long period of time. A sloped area, or the side of a hill this is ideal. If not, make sure the dirt around them is mixed with peat moss and raise them up three or four inches when you plant them to create better drainage. They will also blossom best if they receive good sun exposure. In southern climates a half a day is sufficient, in northern more is preferable.
SOIL Lilacs are not particularly fussy about the type of soil they grown in. But like most trees and shrubs will benefit from mulch and compost.
WATERING Even though Lilacs like good drainage, they have very deep roots and may require watering if it is dry. Their leaves will start to wilt quickly so they will let you know when they would like a drink. Water thoroughly and slowly as it will take time for the water to reach the roots.
FERTILIZER Lilacs do not need to be fertilized regularly but phosphorous will promote blooms. You can use your fire place ash for this purpose. If the soil is too high in nitrogen, the blooms will diminish.
PRUNING Pruning is not necessary, but can be done if you would like to shape your Lilac. The best time to prune is after it has finished blossoming. Remove any shoots or suckers that have developed. Larger branches can be pruned from the center to improve air circulation for a healthier plant. You can also remove any branches that stick out awkwardly. Remove all spent blooms to improve next year's blossoms.
DISEASE AND PROBLEMS The most common problem Lilacs experience is powdery mildew. This can be treated with a fungicide when first noticed. Moles and mice may also chew on the roots of Lilac causing them to diminish or die. This occurs most often in colder regions during a particularly long, cold winter.
There are many different kinds of Lilacs and come in different colors and sizes. Some have single petals and some double. The most common are lavender but can also be purchased in white, pink, blue, and purple (darker than the lavender). There are dwarf Lilacs and some that grow as tall as 30 feet.
Lilacs are easy to care for and make a wonderful addition to any garden. For a real treat attend the Annual Lilac Festival in Rochester, NY. Visit their website for more information www.lilacfestival.com.