Stubborn Lilacs

Question:

I have searched the Q&A for answers on lilacs. I have done all that is suggested, no cutting after July, right amount of nutrients. All day light and still no blooms. It suckers like crazy, new sprouts all around the parent bush, but no blooms. What to do?

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Hardiness Zone: 6b

Jenny from Nashville, TN

Answer:

Jenny, Don't despair; you're not the only one out there with cranky lilacs. Here are a couple of suggestions. Try driving a spade into the soil around the base of the plants to cut off some of the roots (but not all). This may be enough to shock your lilacs into flowering next season. Is that your lilacs are planted too deep? Pull back some of the soil so the tops of the roots are slightly exposed. Lilacs really don't need any additional fertilizer other than nutrients taken from the soil. If you fertilize the lawn near your bush, your lilacs could be getting too much nitrogen, which will cause them to throw energy into producing leaves rather than flowers. I would also suggest going at least one full season without doing any pruning at all just in case you are inadvertently cutting off the flower buds. (June or July may already be too late to prune for you).

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August 28, 20060 found this helpful

I am no expert but I think the problem may be all those suckers. You need to dig them up and transplant them or give them away. They are probably taking all the food from the mother plant.

Good luck !

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August 28, 20060 found this helpful

I'm not sure either but I think lilacs need a cold winter. Are there other lilacs growing around you? Ask their owners what they do (people love to give advice). Or find out if you need a particular type of lilac for your climate. I know that lilacs grow easily in NH, but not in RI. And that's just 2 zones diffference.

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August 29, 20060 found this helpful

I have stubborn lilacs too. I live in a very cold climate gets down to -30 or colder zone 3. My lilacs flowered when I first planted them and never again, cut them, fertilze, and put them in the sun. Still no luck, I have many varieties. Same way with my apple and plum trees, they are dwarfs about 4 years old and I get plenty of flowers covered with bees, but no apples or plums. Anyone have any ideas? please help

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August 30, 20060 found this helpful

I also have a very subborn lilac bush. I am so jealous when I see huge gorgeous lilacs in bloom. I read somewhere that if you prune them, you are cutting off the next years blooms. I don't know how true this is but I am willing to try it this year. I kept the pruning shears far away!!

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November 10, 20060 found this helpful

My lilacs are 50 years old and they thrive on neglect. No chemicals, some modest trimming after they bloom, nothing special. Remove suckers for cosmetic appearances only.

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