Potted Lilac Care

The lilac can be kept in a pot

Lilacs are trees which, with their beautiful flowering and easily controllable growth, invite the question of whether it is possible to grow them in pots throughout their lives. And the answer is yes, since with a few small prunings carried out at the end of winter – and not every year – it will be relatively easy to have beautiful specimens in good health.

But of course, for plants to look like this, we need to know how to care for potted lilacs. This involves knowing their needs for light, water, nutrients and other things that we are going to tell you about.


What type of pot is best for lilacs?

Lilacs need big pots

The pot is a very useful element for the lilacs that are going to be grown in it; not in vain, it is in them that they will find the land that we will irrigate and fertilize whenever we deem it appropriate. But they can also cause problems if the wrong ones are chosen. For it, we are interested in acquiring some that have holes in their base.

If you have been following us for a long time, you are surely tired of reading this, but the fact is that pots that do not have a single hole through which water can come out, should only be used for aquatic plants, because all the others can die in a few days because of the water that accumulates inside the container, precisely where its roots are.

But in addition to having holes, they should be wide and tall. More or less, and bearing in mind that lilacs don’t grow very fast (in fact, I’d say they’re quite slow when young), I recommend planting them in a pot of no more than four inches wide and taller than normal which measures the one you currently have. It is important that it is not too big, because the more land it has, the more water it will have to use for irrigation and, therefore, the more likely it is to suffer from excess water. .

How often should you transplant them?

Still on the theme of the pot, it should be noted that, from time to time, our lilacs must be transplanted so that they can continue to grow. This is especially important if our intention is to prune them in such a way as to turn them into small trees. So, we will plant them to the bigger ones every 3 years or soas long as the roots come out of the holes.

you have to do it in the spring, when they still have no leaves, but their buds have already begun to awaken. This way they won’t suffer much when removing them from the “old” container and planting them in the new one.

What substrate to put on lilacs?

Lilacs grow in almost any type of soil, but when planted in pots, try to put a light, spongy substrate that filters the water well. There are many brands, but from my own experience I recommend the following: Westland, Flower, Fertiberia. If you want one, just click on the link.

Sometimes we buy one which, yes, is very cheap, but it may not be the most suitable, because it may contain insects, pieces of dry branches or even eggs. Others, at first glance, look very good, but if they dry out completely they become an impermeable block of earth which has difficulty in absorbing water, for which it must be put in a basin with plenty of water and leave it there for at least half an hour.

For all that it’s often better to spend a little more money and get a better quality substrate.

When to water potted lilacs?

The lilac is not very resistant to drought

Lilacs do not require abundant watering. Yes it will be necessary to water them especially in summerand even more during a heat wave since the earth dries much faster, but these are not really plants that need to be rehydrated daily, far from it.

Also, I have one in Mallorca (where the climate is Mediterranean, with temperatures up to 35 ºC in summer and -2 ºC in winter, and a dry spell that can last up to six months) and I only water it twice a week. But yes, when you water them, pour plenty of water over them until they come out of the holes in the pot.

When is the best time to pay them?

In spring as in summer it will be the right time to pay for lilacs in pots. It is during these months that they grow and may even bloom. Therefore, it is advisable to give them “an extra energy” by fertilizing them with fertilizers, or with liquid fertilizers, such as guano (on sale here) or seaweed fertilizer that you can get on this link.

But as I will never tire of repeating, you have to follow the instructions on the packaging. We must not fall into the mistake of thinking that by adding more quantity they will increase more or faster, because that will not happen. In reality, in the event of an overdose of manure or fertilizer, the roots burn and die. Therefore, you should always follow the instructions on the packaging.

Do potted lilacs need pruning?

Syringa vulgaris, a tree that can be potted

If we take into account that the lilac is a plant that, if kept in the garden, can reach 6 meters in height, if we want to keep it in a pot all its life, we will have to prune it from time to time. Maybe not every year, it will depend on the size of our plant and if we want it to be a low growing shrub or a small tree, but it is something that will have to be done. The ideal time will be at the end of winter, when its leaves are not yet growing.

The way to proceed is as follows:

  1. First, dry or broken branches will be removed.
  2. Then, if you want to train it like a small tree, you have to remove the lower branches; If you are more interested in having it as a compact bush, you need to see if it has a branch that grows a lot and cut it off.
  3. In order to have a more branched crown, whatever shape you want to give it, the ideal is to take an anvil pruner, and cut two or three centimeters -always above a bud- all Branches.

Remember to clean and disinfect tools before and after use. So you can have healthy potted lilacs.

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