7 year old white lilac not blooming

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I have had this white lilac bush in the same place for 7 years it is getting plenty of sun. But still not blooms. The Bush is at least 10 to 12 feet tall. I have not pruned it in the seven years. Is there anything i can do to get it to flower or will i never have flowers. Tired waiting!

-- paul miller (millerclan@alltel.net), June 17, 2001


Perhaps your soil is too acid. In that case, work in wood ash or lime around the base out to the drip line.

-- Laura (LadybugWrangler@hotmail.com), June 17, 2001.

Lilacs DO love manure. I top dress mine with rotted manure every year, and they have bloomed within a couple years of planting that way. I'm skeptical as to the soil being too acid. Our soil is acid around here naturally, and I've had lilacs blooming with moss growing around their roots. I also believe that Jung's catalogue sells a soil acidifier for rhododendrons, blueberries and lilacs. I would try fertilizer.

-- julie f. (rumplefrogskin@excite.com), June 17, 2001.

In my experience the three main reasons for failure to bloom are immaturity, which is not applicable in your case, or not enough sunlight, which is also not applicable, or too much nitrogen, which can happen if the shrub is in a heavily fertilized lawn or if you've simply been giving it a lot of high-nitrogen fertilizer. This stimulates leaf growth at the expense of blossoms. Even a lilac shrub with insufficient nutrients should produce at least some flowers given enough sunlight. A shrub 12 feet tall doesn't strike me as one that has been consistently deprived of nutrients, especially if the leaves are richly colored and not pale, so my guess offhand would be too much fertilization rather than not enough.

-- Leslie A. (lesliea@home.com), June 18, 2001.

I just heard this question on public radio's show, "Garden Talk" the other day. The woman did bring up the need for fertilization, but she said to make sure the nitrogen content in the fertilizer you "buy" is lower than the other part (the "second number higher than the first" for commercial fertilizers, I think she said, if you use commercial ones), like the other person said, and for the same reason (leaf growth). The first suggestion was to prune it well, and prune it NOW. Pruning stimulates the growth, and it needs to be done now, because the grow off of "old" wood, so you want to give it time for stems to grow back before fall.

-- Marcee King (thathope@mwt.net), June 18, 2001.

If you are going to apply fertilizer, apply a 0-10-10 bloom food, or mix epsom salts, bone meal, and wood ash, 1 cup each, for a good substitute. Do remember that next year's blooms would be forming now on this year's wood.

-- Laura (LadybugWrangler@hotmail.com), June 18, 2001.

How cold does it get there? Most lilacs (except for heat tolerant ones) need a solid month or so of freezing temps to bloom properly.

-- Soni (thomkilroy@hotmail.com), June 19, 2001.

first i did do a soil test. As there was not and excessive amount of anything/ So i just added according to direction some fertilizer and other amendments. As far as winter goes we are in pennsylvania and i thought it was awefully cold this year. I had no problem with purple lilacs blooming just the white.

-- paul miller (millerclan@alltel.net), June 20, 2001.

paul-- we had the same problem. once the bush is mature, pruning is critical. you have to prune the oldest growth ie the largest branches. it's really hard to make yourself cut it back so hard, and it will reduce your display next year (not a problem for you yet!) but.... it will ultimately make for a much healthier lilac.

i was told to prune 1/3 of the old growth for 3 years in a row. - johnny

-- johnny d (j.frierson@frimee.com), July 18, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ