What is your first thought when you see a lilac bush? Do you think of your grandma or an older couple that had the beautiful bushes in their yard? Lilac bushes used to be a staple in every yard, but they are becoming less and less common. If people understood the benefits of having a lilac bush in their yard, maybe they would become popular again.
A lilac is one of the most easy care shrubs you can plant. Most lilacs have are purple, hence the name lilac. However you can get varieties that blossom anywhere from white to a deep magenta/purple. They have large, rich green foliage that provides a beautiful backdrop for almost any flowering plants from larkspur to daylilys. Picture a calm garden, planted with white flowers against a green hedge. A lilac can do that for you. Since they bloom in the spring before most perennials and annuals have started to bud, lilacs can provide a showy interest while the other plants are getting their start. Then they quietly provide the green contrast for the other plants. It is a perfect complement for any garden!
The reason so many people shy away from lilacs these days is because of their size. Lilacs can grow eight to twelve feet high if you let them. However, there are a few dwarf varieties that you can purchase at nurseries. But you can keep even old fashioned lilacs from becoming too big. Simple prune them to keep them the size you want.
When you prune a lilac you want to take special care to prune them at the right time of year. Lilacs bloom on old wood, so that means any new growth they get during the summer is what they will bloom on the following spring. That means if you want to prune your lilacs, you need to do it immediately after them blossom. This way you can trim them to the general size you want and get rid of the spent blossoms at the same time. Any new growth that occurs after you prune is where you will get the blossoms next year.
Lilacs grow well with very little intervention from the gardener. However, you may want to fertilize them occasionally. This is especially important if you have large trees in your yard that could be depleting the soil of nutrients. The best fertilizer for lilacs is one that is high in phosphorous. You can buy a bag of bone meal and spread it around the base of the bush. Gently work it into the soil and then water it in. Bone meal is a good organic fertilizer that encourages healthy blossoms. It is a good fertilizer to put around all your flowering shrubs and trees.
Other than the occasional pruning and fertilizing, lilacs require little care. They are a beautiful shrub that rewards you with gorgeous blossoms year after year. Who wouldn’t like that?