Idiot Proof Spring BeautyThe most popular of the deciduous flowering shrubs, lilacs are highly valued for their appearance and fragrant flowers. The common lilac and its many cultivars come in a variety of colors purple, white, pink, blue and dark red are all favorites here at the Grass Pad.
Vigorous growth habit of the lilacs make it ideal for tall screen plantings, hedges, borders, and in mass plantings for their tremendous display of flowers. Few shrubs can rival lilacs for bloom even under difficult conditions of the Mid-West. They are useful as accent or specimen plants at the corners or along houses and buildings. Most popular of the lilacs is the Dwarf Korean lilac which rarely grows larger than 4 feet. This plant makes an attractive hedge with its fragrant, purple-lilac flowers.
Hardy in cold climates, a lilac requires full sun to flower well. Lilacs are easily grown and do well in either acid or alkaline soil but respond with improved growth to applications of lime every three or four years where soils are acidic.
Prune a lilac right after it flowers in the spring. Pruning consists of removing old flower clusters and thinning out the oldest branches at ground level to encourage new growth from the base of the plant. The strongest new shoots should be left to take the place of the older stems which will eventually be cut out.
Renew an older overgrown lilac by cutting the whole plant down to within six inches of the ground. It’s a drastic means of rejuvenation. But, don’t worry, the plant will survive. The best way to treat old plants is prune out one third of the older stems each year for three consecutive years. In this way the plant can maintain a reasonable height in the landscape and still flower from the remaining wood. By the time the last pruning is completed, replacement wood should be strong enough to support the plant and promote flowering
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