A few months back my wife Pam became the proud owner of a donated French Lilac Shrub. Although there are literally hundreds of diverse varieties of these types of Lilacs, we have no idea which one this actually is, perhaps in the springtime we will have some insight into its variety.
As soon as we arrived home, my wife’s first order of business was to place the shrub into a large pot and to continue to provide it with loving care. Needless to say, it grew well.
These plants are well known to grace your visual and auditory senses with both beautiful white blossoms and delicious aroma scents, for at least 10 days in the late spring. This pleasant plant is a low maintenance shrub that has no problems taking care of itself during most of the year. The strong smell emitted from this shrub is why most of us gardeners appreciate this wonderful plant.
The lilac shrub grows best after a 45-degree winter chill. At maturity these plants are capable of reaching as high as 15 feet in height. They frequently need some extra elbow room since they can get as round as 15 feet, however if planted about 6 feet apart they become an attractive hedge. They enjoy lots of sunshine and need a considerable amount of water.
Soil requirements are similar to any other plant. It needs well drained soil with a neutral pH or slightly higher. They do best in a slightly alkaline soil. If your soil is sandy or consists of heavy clay you should add some compost to it in order to liven it up. Lilacs grow rather slowly from seed, usually involving 3 or 4 years before it will bloom, on the other hand those purchased as container plants will likely show their blooms in early spring or fall. We are looking forward to this as we will be taking some cuttings to create a Lilac Hedge around some of our property.
Now we come to the part which I like best, growing the Lilacs from cuttings. To accomplish this feat, take 6-inch cuttings from new terminal shoots of the bush. Dip these root ends in rooting hormone and plant them in a damp peat, perlite, or vermiculite. In three to four weeks your cuttings will develop their roots and can be transferred to your home garden shortly after.
Plant the lilacs where they can get afternoon shade but with at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. During their first year be sure to water then daily, after that an occasional soaking will be sufficient. Mulch should be used to keep the soil moist. One month after planting in the ground, you can fertilize the bush with 18-6-12 fertilizer at the rate of 2 ounces per 4 square feet. Fertilize annually in the early spring or in October.
Now you know the tale of my wife’s French Lilac bush. I cannot wait to start some of my own from cuttings in the springtime. You might wish to try doing some cuttings yourself.