I planted a common lilac shrub, about 2 feet tall, in the spring. It
has grown very little over the past 3 months or so. Is this to be
expected? Or is it perhaps indicative that the plant is subpar or the
location is subpar. Regarding the plant itself, when purchased it
frankly didn't look so great--in part because it had sat out at the
nursery through a mid-spring freeze (in the Kansas City area). I've
pruned off some dead branches and leaves, and it looks much better.
There is healthy new growth, just not much of it. Overall, it looks
healthy, just small. Regarding the location, I have it in an all-sun
spot with plenty of room to expand. The soil can get damp but does
So, bottom line, should I be patient and give it a year or two? Or
should I consider moving it somewhere where I can "experiemnt" with it
and give it time, and get something else in there that's larger and
clearly doing well (I'm thinking a blue rose of sharon). The spot it's
in is a high-visibility part of the yard that I'd like something nice
and showy in.
If you've planted it in a nice full sun area with good, neutral pH
soil, then yes, leave it alone and be patient. Lilacs are hardy to
zone 2, so that spring freeze didn't do it much harm. It's setting
roots and getting itself established. If it hasn't shaped up by mid
spring next year then start to worry about it.
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
Don't know lilacs in particular, but generally for shrubs (and I guess
perennials too) this is pretty much what you'd hope for in the first 3
months: survival, some signs of growth/thriving. The slogan is
"sleep, creep, leap" (first year, plant doesn't do much, second year,
plant grows some, third year, plant is taking over your yard).
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