Hand reaching out toward purple lilac blooms
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Avoid These Mistakes If You Want Your Lilacs To Thrive
Planting In Shade
If lilacs are planted in partial shade, their foliage can become infected with powdery mildew fungus, and their blooms will not develop properly in the spring.
Before planting, check your yard for areas that receive at least six hours of unobstructed daylight. If you’re planting multiple bushes, ensure they don’t overshadow each other.
Overdoing Fertilizer
Adding too much fertilizer takes the plant’s energy away from producing flowers to promote leaf growth, resulting in lots of green foliage but no flowers.
In March, apply a thin layer of a balanced fertilizer to feed your shrub without overloading it. Add a few inches of compost or bone meal to inject nutrients into the soil as well.
Not Pruning Correctly
Pruning must be done at the end of spring to avoid accidentally snipping the next year’s flower clusters, which can result in fewer blooms and stunted growth.
Not pruning causes overgrown, less vibrant bushes that are vulnerable to disease. Snip back dead branches and base growth, then thin out the center to promote airflow and light.
Ignoring Air Circulation
Stagnant air causes blight, powdery mildew, and stressed blooms in lilacs, so always plant your bushes 5 to 15 feet apart to promote proper air circulation.
Neglecting The Roots
If a lilac’s root system is cramped, it can’t access the water and nutrients it needs to thrive. This leads to less stable, smaller shrubs with stunted growth.
To prevent this, plant your root ball in a hole double its size using loose soil like loam. Periodically check the soil conditions and aerate it annually to let the roots breathe.