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lilac bush foliage

Planted the lilac bush in a pot last summer.  It now has two clusters of lilac beginning to blossom.  There is a lot of foliage on the bush, should this be pruned?  Thank you.


  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 6,731
    Do you know what sort of lilac you have?  The old varieties get very large (up to 7m) and aren't suitable for growing in a pot, but there are now smaller ones - for instance, the Flowerfesta ones reach only 1.2m, and can be grown in a reasonable sized container.

    The bush needs its foliage to make food for the plant by photosynthesis, so you shouldn't cut it off.  Prune off the dead flowers once it's finished, but don't cut the bush back;  you can prune out one branch in 3, in the winter, if you need to.

    Unless it's a dwarf variety it won't be happy in a pot...
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • luis_prluis_pr Hurst, Texas Zone 8aPosts: 52
    edited 4 May
    Regarding pruning, wait until after blooming stops. Lilac flower buds start to form in very early spring, and then flowers bloom from early spring to midsummer, depending on the variety.

    After the blooms fade and die off, selectively prune the branches to control the height, increase sunlight, reduce areas that are too bushy and basically, reform its shape to your aesthetic taste if needed. Remove the dead flowers and broken/injured limbs before the plant sets out its buds as it prepares for next year's blooms.

    To reinvigorate an older plant and to encourage more blooms, remove about one third of the plant each year by cutting the selected shoots and branches back to ground level.

  • Thank you for the advice re: pruning lilac bush.   I have photocopied the information for future reference. 
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 17,231
    @Liriodendron has it spot on,  if you can plant it in the ground it would be better, if not a very large pot.
    Im not sure if Luis in Texas’ info always applies to us in the Uk although in this case he has repeated what Liri had just said. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

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