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Hi I have looked at other posts on lilac but would welcome advice. When I moved into our old cottage 4 years ago I had the beginnings of a cottage garden and wanted to develop it, I love lilac and the first thing I bought, from a newspaper offer I think, was a lilac tree. It has grown well, 8 foot tall, is in shelter/ sun but has only ever produced 4 flowers that I remove after flowering. 

Someone advised me to dig it up as a dud. Should I keep waiting? Should I cut it back in October, if so how? Should I feed it or will that just promote leaf growth? It's a great specimen if only it flowered like all the ones I stop to sniff over other people's fences!


  • weejennyweejenny Posts: 386

    No leave it I was told it takes eleven years to flower. I dont know if thats an old wives tale but my lilac cant have been far off that when it flowered. Its flowered every year since

  • Thanks for giving me hope weejenny! So it might flower by the time it gets too big for the garden! Did you leave yours to its own devices or cut it during those 11 years to keep itsshape/size?


  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    If you cut lilac back in October, you cut off all the wood upon which it could flower the following Spring.  The time to prune lilacs is immediately after flowering, so that they have a chance to have hardened shoots for the next year upon whch they will flower.

    If you cut it back very hard, i.e. ground level,  you will get lods of smaller 'trunks' instead of the central one I am assuming you have now.  Some folk like this and do so, you just want to think about it before you begin. 

    Some plants do take a long time to begin to flower, much will depend whether it is a grafted tree or not.  We have a clematis that took 7 years before it fldowered, and does so prolifically every year now.  Patience is often a virtue in gardening. 4 years is not long in a trees life, especially if it is not a grafted specimen. 

  • Thanks bookertoo, So it sounds as if I haven't done anything wrong and must just wait. The first 3 years it had flowers on one branch and I wondered if it had been grafted - probably - and the rest of the tree was 'infertile' or something (sorry to be so ignorant, but like roses are grafted onto vigourous stock but you dont want that to emerge and take over..) This year there was one sorry looking flower and I didn't notice if it was on the same branch. 

    It will soon have some sweet peas to wind through and flower on it so I will continue to be hopeful. It is just that I notice andcovet 'abandoned' ones in wasteland/carparks flowering their socks off! I have 2 reluctant clematis as well but the honeysuckle is compensating!

  • Hi,could anyone tell me when and how i should prune a rhodadenrun?at the moment it's about 7ft tall but i don't want it to grow into a tree,three years ago it had 1 flower and this year it had 7 flowers and the new shoots are about 8ft tall,is there a certain time of year?i also was going to ask about lilacs, but i think greengirl mentioned cutting them back in october,is this right.Thanks.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,945

    No, you've misunderstood about pruning lilacs - have a look at the post by Bookertoo above and  you'll see she explains that they should be pruned immediately after flowering.  If you prune in October you will get no flowers the following spring.

    Rhododendrons shouldn't need much pruning - just occasional cutting out of the old wood to rejuvenate the plant.  It won't grow into a tree, but some varieties are quite large shrubs.  Do you know which cultivar you have?  Did it come with a label with a name on it?

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Thanks for giving me hope weejenny! So it might flower by the time it gets too big for the garden! Did you leave yours to its own devices or cut it during those 11 years to keep itsshape/size?


  • daituomdaituom Posts: 83

    Don`t prune the Lilac, leave it to it`s own devices, BUT start feeding weekly with a high potash fertiliser. This should encourage flowering next nyear.

  • weejennyweejenny Posts: 386

    Ive not touched mine. Mine turned out to be a white lilac I was so happy with that

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