How to Plant a Common Purple Lilac

The purple lilac is the scent of spring. This flowering shrub can live up to 50 years. The purple lilac blooms with clusters of flowers and grows dark green heart-shaped leaves. Emitting a powerful fragrance, the purple lilac makes an attractive flowering hedge. 

Why Plant a Purple Lilac?

The purple lilac can create a natural boundary along a property line because of its dense growth. The added bonus of planting the flowering hedge is its pleasing scent.  

The flowering shrub can reach a height of 13 feet and spread up to 23 feet wide. Purple lilac blooms from mid-May to June. It is a hardy shrub that can withstand cold temperatures, to -31 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 1 - When to Plant the Purple Lilac

Lilac bought in containers should be planted in the early spring or fall. 

Step 2 - Finding the Right Spot to Plant

You need to find an area that gets sun. The purple lilac can tolerate some shade. The flowering shrub likes alkaline soil with a pH level of 6.5 to 7.8. Soil should also easily drain water. 

Step 3 - Adding Organic Matter to Soil Before Planting

The site should have a 50% to 50% ratio of soil and organic matter before planting the purple lilac. Add peat moss or compost to the soil. 

Step 4 - Preparing the Hole

When digging a hole to plant the purple lilac make sure it can accomodate the roots without bending or breaking them. Shovel some soil back into the bottom of the hole before planting the purple lilac. 

Step 5 - Removing the Purple Lilac from Container

Lay the container on its side and gently slide the shrub out. Loosen the roots and soil with your hands before planting. 

Step 6 - Planting

Place the flowering shrub in the middle of the hole. Be sure that the root crown is level with the ground. Pack in the remaining soil and water the area. 

Step 7 - Spacing a Row of Purple Lilac

When you plant a flowering hedge of purple lilac they should be spaced at least 12 to 15 feet apart. To reduce competition for sun and water, avoid planting the purple lilac near other trees or shrubs. 

Step 8 - Watering

Regularly water the newly planted purple lilac. If the shrub starts to wilt you may be over watering it. Cut down on the watering until the shrub perks up. During dry periods, water the soil around the flowering shrub twice a week. The purple lilac benefits from long deep watering. 

Step 9 - Fertilizer

It is not necessary to add fertilizer to the purple lilac until the root system is established. After the first planting season you can lime yearly to raise the pH level of the soil. Never use nitrogen based fertilizer. 

Step 10 - Mulch

Placing mulch around the purple lilac alleviates the growth of grass and weeds. It also helps the soil retain moisture, keeps the soil from becoming compacted, and protects the shrub’s roots in the winter. Spread 2 to 3 inches of mulch around the purple lilac. Do not let the mulch touch the base of the flowering shrub. 

Step 11 - Maintenance

The purple lilac requires little maintenance. Once the shrub is doing well it only needs supplemental watering during drought conditions.