Quick facts and care essentials
• Climate zones vary
• Full sun or partial shade
• Regular watering
These multistemmed shrubs are cherished for the showy, usually fragrant flowers that cluster at their stem tips. While their foliage and overall appearance are somewhat less than striking, many gardeners consider the bland out-of-bloom looks a small price to pay for the blossoms. Be patient when you buy a lilac: plants usually don’t bloom until they reach 2 to 5 years old.
Lilacs do best in climates with winter chill, since they need cold to set blossoms. They prefer sun but need some shade where summers are hot. Give them regular water and well-drained, well-amended, neutral to slightly alkaline soil. If soil is acid, adjust the pH before planting.