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Roses are indisputably America's favorite flower. Lilacs are a very respectable second. Easy to grow, homeowners and gardeners alike, anxiously await the bloom of these fragrant flowers. The wait is long... a year. Then, they bloom for just 2-3 weeks, before the next year long wait begins. You can prolong it just a little, if you plant early and late varieties.
Lilacs are so beloved, that there are many Lilac Festivals around the country, and in Canada. None is larger than the Rochester.N Y. Lilac festival. Highland Park in Rochester, boasts over 500 hundred varieties and 1,200 bushes.
Did You Know? There are over 1,000 varieties of Lilacs. That means there is a color, and shape to fit everyone preference. Lilac colored varieties are the most popular. But, the purple lilac is the most fragrant.
Lilacs are and easy to grow, low-maintenance shrub. They grow several feet, and offer summer shade. With just a little care and maintenance, the knowledge of growing Lilac bushes, and how to replenish the old wood with new shoots, lilac bushes last a lifetime.
How to Grow Lilacs:
Perhaps the most important thing to know about Lilacs, is that they do not like to get their feet (roots) wet for any extended period of time. Keep this in mind when selecting a planting site. They grow best on hillsides and elevated areas with good drainage. Lilac roots run deep. If you have an extended dry period or drought, water infrequently but thoroughly.
Weed around young lilac bushes, to maintain a clean, aesthetic look. Pile mulch high around the plants, for a neat and tidy appearance and keep weeds down..
Lilacs will tolerate most soils, from clay to sand, with a pH of 6.5 to 7. The bushes benefit from compost and humus worked into the soil at planting time. This helps to retain some water during dry spells, and it provides nutrients.
Fertilize lilacs with a high Phosphorous formula in early spring, to promote blooming. Too much nitrogen in the soil, results in poor blooms. Use a general purpose fertilizer once in early summer.
Flowers bloom in May for a couple weeks. Weather affects the duration of blooms. Cool weather will help extend the blooming period. A hot spell can seriously shorten the blooming period.
Transplanting Lilac Bushes:
Transplant lilacs in the spring. Dig deeply, to get as many roots as possible. Mix plenty of compost into the planting site. Plant the bush at the same depth as it was originally. Lightly tamp down the soil. Thoroughly water the site, and keep the soil moist until the new roots have time to re-establish themselves, about 4-6 weeks.
Note: Smaller bushes transplant more successfully than larger bushes.
When pruning lilacs, it is important to do so immediately after the blooms die off. Two or three weeks after the blooms have died, the ends of the branches form flower buds. Pruning after this point, results in lopping off next years' blooms. Read important information on pruning lilacs.
Winter Protection for Arborvitae
Lilacs are hardy plants. They require no extra winter protection. Cold winters actually helps to promote blooms.
Diseases of Lilacs:
Powdery mildew is very common, in hot and humid conditions. It makes the bush unsightly, but usually has no long term affect on the bush. Lilacs seldom have problems with plant disease.
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