Dear Gardening Life,
I planted a lilac two years ago and it has not flowered yet. What can be wrong?
*- John McFadden*
First, lilacs need full sun for optimum bloom, so make sure your shrub isn’t being too shaded.
Second, they need pruning at the right time—right after flowering. If you prune at other times, you risk cutting off all the flower buds. Never shear a lilac, but cut individual branches back to keep a nice open shrub and a good natural shape. Spent flowers should be nipped off.
Third, they like neutral to alkaline soil that has lots of humus in it, so try applying a good mulch of chopped leaves mixed with well-rotted manure.
Fourth, lilacs don’t like wet feet so make sure the site has good drainage.
Fifth, don’t crowd your lilac with lots of other plants—good air circulation will help prevent powdery mildew.
Finally, don’t feed lilacs high-nitrogen fertilizers, which encourage leaves but not flowers; also, watch for drift from any sprayed lawn fertilizer as it is usually high in nitrogen and can affect nearby plants.
*Karen York, GL Botanical Editor*
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