How to grow & care for lilac
Lilac shrubs or trees (Syringa vulgaris) are loved for their heavenly fragrant flowers in spring and summer. In autumn their heart shaped leaves change colour, before they lose their leaves for winter.
Lilacs grow in a full sun to part shade spot, with a free draining soil and grow best in a cool to mild climate. Depending on the cultivar you’ve chosen, they can grow from 2-4 metres tall.
Top 5 steps to growing lilacs
- Choose a full sun to part shade spot
- Mix Scotts Osmocote Compost Premium Soil Improver through the soil before planting and add dolomite lime if your soil is acidic, as lilacs prefer an alkaline soil.
- Make sure you’ve given the shrub or tree plenty of space to grow - always check the label for the plants mature height and width before planting.
- Lilacs prefer a free draining soil - they will not tolerate heavy clay soils or frequent water logging.
- Lilacs come in several colours and shades of white, mauve, pink and purple - choose one that suits your garden colour scheme.
- A potted lilac plant
- Scotts Osmocote Compost Premium Soil Improver
- Scotts Osmocote Controlled Release Fertiliser: All Purpose
- Garden Shovel
- If growing in pots, you’ll need Scotts Osmocote Premium Potting Mix + Scotts Osmocote Controlled Release Fertiliser for Pots, Planters and a suitable pot or container
- Garden Shovel
- Defender Slug and Snail Pellets
Lilacs prefer a moist, yet free draining soil that has been enriched with organic matter. Before planting prepare the soil by mixing through Scotts Osmocote Compost Premium Soil Improver and Scotts Osmocote Controlled Release Fertiliser: All Purpose.
Planting in the garden
Plant your lilac into prepared soil - dig the hole twice as wide as the original pot and the same depth. Gently remove the lilac from the nursery pot and tease the roots lightly if they’re compact.
Plant into the hole and backfill around the plant. Water in well. Mulch around the base of your lilac to retain moisture and suppress weeds, but keep the mulch away from the main stem.
Planting in pots
Smaller growing or grafted lilacs can be grown in large pots or planters with good drainage, choose a pot that is at least 50-60cm wide by the same depth.
Fill your pot or planter with Scotts Osmocote Premium Potting Mix. Gently remove the lilac from the nursery pot and tease the roots lightly if they are compact. Plant the lilac into the potting mix and backfill around the plant. Water in well and mulch over the surface of the potting mix to help retain moisture, but keep the mulch back from the plants main stem.
Fertilising & Care
Lilacs are very easy going and won’t need anything more than an annual fertilise in late winter with Scotts Osmocote Controlled Release Fertiliser: All Purpose to keep them happy.
Reapply a layer of compost and mulch around the plants drip zone each spring to help retain moisture and suppress weeds. If you live in an area without much summer rainfall, your lilac will need regular watering during dry times.
At the end of the flowering season - remove any dead wood and suckers that have appeared at the base of your lilac. Dead-head the spent flowers on younger lilac plants, but don’t fuss with them much when the plants are tall and established.
Pests & Diseases
Lilacs are very hardy and generally pest and disease resistant, especially once they are established. Younger lilacs and new plantings may be attacked by slugs or snails - if this happens, set beer traps (shallow saucers filled with beer) at the base of your lilac or sprinkle around Defender Slug and Snail Pellets.