QUICK REFERENCE PLANTING GUIDE
1. Light/Sun Exposure - Full sun (at least six hours of direct sunlight per day).
2. USDA Hardiness Zones - Most Lilacs will do well in zones 3 to 7 (-30 degrees F) with the exception of Dwarf Josee, 'Blue Skies', and 'Angel White', which are hardy in zones 3 to 9.
3. Planting Distance - As indicated below:
- Dwarfs - 3 to 5 feet apart.
- Standards - 10 to 12 feet apart.
- Hedge - 5 to 6 feet apart.
4. Mature Height/Spread - As indicated below:
- Dwarfs - 3 to 6 feet tall with a similar spread.
- Standards - 8 to 12 feet tall with a similar spread.
- Hedge - 15 to 20 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide (shorter with pruning).
5. Bloom Time - Spring/early summer-usually starting the second year after planting.
6. Planting Instructions -
Potted Plants - Dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the pot in which your plant was grown. Please note that many of our pots are biodegradable. If your plant is not in a traditional plastic pot then you may place the entire plug in the ground; otherwise, gently remove the root ball from the pot. Partially backfill the hole with soil and place the plant into the hole. The top of the root ball should be level with the ground surrounding the hole. Refill the hole with soil, firming the soil around the plant with your fingers. Check to be sure that the plant is not planted too deeply. If it is, raise the plant carefully and refirm the soil. Water thoroughly.
Bare-root Plants - The roots of your plant have been coated with Terra-Sorb Hydrogel to protect them from drying out during handling and transport. It is environmentally safe and should be left on the roots; simply plant according to the instructions below. Dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the roots of each plant. Form a small mound of dirt in the bottom of each hole and spread the roots of each plant over it so that the crown of the plant will be 1 to 2 inches below the surface of the soil after planting. Refill with soil mixture. Firm the soil around the plant with your fingers. Water thoroughly.
GET THE MOST ENJOYMENT
Nothing else evokes the feeling of nostalgia quite like Lilacs. Memories of Grandma's garden are conjured up whenever the mention of these old-fashioned beauties is brought into the conversation. Chances are most people have one or two Lilacs planted on their property, both for their unique attractiveness and for their intense fragrance that fills the air in the spring - after all; spring wouldn't be the same without them! All of our varieties of Lilac are very winter-hardy and resistant to most Lilac problems. Nothing - absolutely nothing says spring quite like the enveloping fragrance of Lilacs!
Although these plants will perform well in average garden soils of all types, we recommend having your soil tested periodically by the local County Extension Office. These tests can determine if the soil needs any amendments to enhance your plants' growth and performance. See below for our recommended practice to improve your soil without any additional testing:
1. Spade or till the soil to a depth of 12-18 inches.
2. To provide nutrients and improve drainage, add organic matter to your soil by mixing in a 2 to 4-inch layer of dehydrated manure, garden compost, shredded leaves, and/or peat moss.
3. After active growth begins, periodically feed with Cottage Farms' water soluble Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster for Acid Loving Plants. Plants in containers need more frequent watering and feeding, especially when in active growth and bloom.
Water - Your plants require 1" of rainfall (or equivalent watering) each week when planted in the ground. Do not allow plants in containers to dry out. In a container that is exposed to full sun, water it well at least once every other day, and possibly every day, during periods of intense summer heat. You may wish to temporarily move containerized plants to an area where they are shielded from the hot summer sun (i.e., in the shade of a tree, on a porch near an overhang).
Mulching - Apply a 2-4 inch layer of shredded bark, compost or other organic mulch around your plants to promote moisture retention, maintain even soil temperatures, and to discourage weed growth.
Weeding - Keep the area around your plants free of weeds. Weeds compete with all plants for food, water and light. Walk around the garden periodically and pull weeds, including the roots, as soon as you see them.
Grooming - As soon as flowers have faded in the spring, old flower heads should be cut off. At this same time, remove suckers growing from the base of the plant and cut out weak shoots, particularly those inside or toward the center of your shrub.
Pruning - It is desirable to have stems of all ages on your Lilacs. Younger stems produce strong new growth but it is the older stems that bear beautiful flowers. Eventually your lilacs may become overgrown. Overgrown lilacs can be cut to within a foot of the ground and in two or three years they will become fine free-flowing shrubs again. After severe pruning, make sure the plants are kept watered during dry weather.
Feeding - Feed your plants once every 2-3 weeks during the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer such as Cottage Farms' Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster for Acid Loving Plants. Discontinue feeding after September 1st so your plants can harden off for winter dormancy. Resume fertilizing when new growth appears in the spring.
Winterizing - Lilacs need no special winter protection. After the ground has frozen, apply a winter mulch of evergreen boughs, straws or leaves to prevent lifting of the plant's roots during alternating periods of freezing and thawing. For container planting, move plants next to your home's southern foundation for added warmth and protection.
CAUTION: Not all plant material is edible. Though most plants are harmless, some contain toxic substances which can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, or other discomforts. As a general rule, only known food products should be eaten. In case of ingestion, please contact your local poison control center at once and advise them of the plant ingested. Keep out of reach of children.