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For a complete guide to lilac care and planting, see the Lilac Planting and Care
Lilacs are usually fairly reliable bloomers, but sometimes they fail to flower. Here are some tips to make sure yours bloom:
About 20 years ago I had just moved to a home in the suburbs of Portland, Ore. (in the spring). There was a small tree in the front yard, looking very lonely and unattractive. I soon recognized the leaves as a lilac, but no blooms that year. The next year it had grown, but still no blooms. Because it still looked unbeautiful, that fall I talked to it. Yes, I know that talking to your plants helps! But it's what you say that counts, and what I said was something like this: "If you don't bloom next year, your days are numbered!"
You guessed it, it bloomed and was a beautiful dark French lilac. Every year after that it bloomed, more profusely each year, and people would stop to ask where I got it. I am sure that it hadn't bloomed because it was just too small and wasn't ready, but I like to think that the "talking to" it got helped it along. So talk to your plants, and if they don't perform, warn them.
–Elizabeth, Yachats, Ore.
I would like to add to the reader's tip about talking to
your lilac bush.
Like her, we moved last spring to a home with an
established lilac that had never bloomed. I explained my
plant philosophy to the recalcitrant bush"I will love,
feed and cherish you as long as you in turn produce
flowers (or fruit etc.)otherwise, your spot will be
given to something else."
The lilac is evidently a true adolescent and put out two flowers! So, does it stay or does it go? "OK bush, give me more than two flowers, or else!" And this year, there are three!
My tip: when you talk to your plant, be VERY explicit
about the rules :-)
–Mary, Poplar Bluff, Mo.
Last updated: 10/24/15
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