Caring for Your Lilacs

Lilac bushes are fairly low maintenance, but that doesn't mean you can't give them a little nudge in the right direction

Credit: Martin Staffler / GAP Photos

Whether they’re budding or fully matured, make sure to nurture your lilacs

When caring for lilacs, make sure to pay special attention to the following tips:

Sun Power: Lilacs flower best in full sun. They are undemanding, drought-tolerant plants that will grow in most soils as long as they have good drainage. Feed with a sprinkling of lime and some well-rotted manure or an all-purpose fertilizer in early spring.

Lilace Facelifts: To rejuvenate a straggly plant, remove one-third of the trunks at the base every year for three years. Keep the strongest of the new growth and remove any additional suckers on a regular basis.

Summer Buds: Spring blooms emerge from buds that developed during the previous summer. So, do any additional pruning immediately after the flowers fade.

Pest and Diseases: French lilacs in particular can suffer from powdery mildew in summer. Most gardeners turn a blind eye to it, knowing that it will not affect the vigour of the plant. Choose one of the little-leaf lilacs like ‘Miss Kim’ for better health.

Leaf miner is an occasional problem, showing up as scorched brown blotches. Remove leaves as soon as you see symptoms, bag them and put into the garbage.

Originally published in BC Home & Garden magazine. For regular updates, subscribe to our free Home and Garden e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the magazine.