7 Reasons a Lilac Bush Doesn’t Bloom

7 Reasons a Lilac Bush Doesn’t Bloom

7 Reasons a Lilac Bush Doesn’t Bloom

Any garden would benefit from having a few lilac bushes as specimens. Intensely green throughout the season, the garden is enhanced by the beautiful flower smells that bloom in May, which add to its overall grandeur.

The situation seems to be satisfactory until you notice that your lilac shrub is not in blossom. Then you’ll have to play detective and figure out what happened.

Here is a comprehensive list of all of the various causes that might prevent a lilac shrub from flowering, buds from opening, or just dying before they have a chance to blossom.

Let’s start with the basics:

Take a look at the sort of shrub that has been planted to see whether it is too young to bloom. 

It takes around two years for dwarf types to gather the energy to begin producing buds on their branches.

Greater varieties might take up to five years to blossom before they begin to produce fruit. The majority of their energy comes from the sun in the form of solar energy. It is not possible to accelerate bud development by feeding the plants.


It does not flower if you overfeed it with fertilizer.

Nitrogen-rich fertilizers are effective in areas where you want your lawn to be lush. The element phosphorous is used to produce flowers. In many cases, lawn fertilizers are to blame for the lack of blossoms on lilac shrubs.

The lawn fertilizer will naturally make its way into the soil if you have your shrub planted close to the grass. Excessive eating may be detected by looking for the indicators below. Without flower buds, your shrub will be a vibrant green.

Foliage growth is stimulated by an excess of nitrogen. No effect on the development of buds. If you are feeding a lilac shrub with fertilizer, you should stop immediately. If you’re putting it to your grass, take extra caution around any shrubs or mulch that has already been placed.


Feeding and Pruning in the Late Season

Plants should not be fertilized throughout the summer months to allow new growth time to harden off before the winter. Winter conditions will destroy any new growth that appears late in the growing season. There will be much more deadwood to remove next season.

The late spring frost is something that the lilac shrub has to be protected against.

During the winter, they go into hibernation. The dormant phase is interrupted by warm weather. The flower buds of a plant may be killed by a late spring frost if a short cold snap occurs after the plant has emerged from its dormant state.

The leaves and adult canes of a tree are seldom injured by spring frost, but the buds that grew the previous year can be severely damaged, making it impossible for them to blossom.

Lilac shrub buds need to be sheltered when a cold front is coming, as they do when the weather is warm.


How Long Has It Been Since It Was Pruned?

In the event that you leave your lilac shrub unpruned for more than two years, it will likely cease flowering since basal branches will begin to dominate it. Known as “suckers” due to the fact that they rob the plant of all of its energy while providing nothing in return

Suekers are an unwelcome part of growing shrubs and are a significant contributor to the amount of trimming necessary to maintain these shrubs in flower.

The basal branches do not grow to be as tall as the main plant and do not provide as much food. Generally speaking, they tend to suffocate the plant’s root system.

A lilac bush with flowers on top but no blossoms on its lower portion is most likely overgrown with basal branches, which may be seen when there are no blooms on the top of the bush.

These interfere with the blooming process on the buds at the top of the shrub and inhibit buds from developing on the lower section of the bush as well. Consequently, your garden will have less color and fragrance.


Lilac Bush Suckers: What to Do and What Not to Do

Lilac bush suckers are attached to the root system by a network of underground stems. In fact, it is one of the few portions of the plant that should not be pruned away. As an alternative, suckers should be ripped away from the parent root ball in order to get the most of them removed from it.



When you prune a bush, the plant responds by sending forth additional branches, just like it does when you prune any other plant. In the case of the basal shoots, the situation is similar. The only thing you can do is chop it back, or use a weed whacker to keep it under control, and it will quickly grow back.

The most straightforward procedure is to pull the suckers away from the shrub. Using a sharp shovel to dig them out is a more difficult (but more successful) approach.



When digging, go as near to the trunk as possible using your shovel. Dive-diving has the purpose of separating the roots of lilac suckers from the root ball of the parent plant.

It is possible to use herbicides containing napthaleneacetate to significantly decrease sucker development and increase the likelihood of your shrub blossoming.

These are plant growth regulators that cause the development of basal shoots to be slowed down significantly. The same may be done with any herbicide, but it must be sprayed distant from the root ball to have any effect.

Use specialised herbicides near to the root system of lilac plants that are experiencing out-of-control sucker development. Use the usual (and less expensive) herbicides on the suckers farther away, where they may be more than a foot distant.

Lilac bushes that have reached the end of their useful life may need replanting. Pruning

Pruning for regrowth is a strategy that may be used to any mature shrub that has been neglected. Congestion occurs when a wild lilac shrub is allowed to grow unchecked. It develops inward development; the stems begin to overlap, resulting in a reduction in total air flow and daylight.

A lilac shrub will cease flowering if this occurs. It takes time to get it back.

Lilac bush resilience is one of the qualities that gardeners like about this plant. Despite being pruned down to near-ground level, mature lilac bushes will continue to produce new branches. Take advantage of the fact that you may start again from the beginning!

It is especially useful if you discover one of these shrubs in a neglected state in a new house. Instead of removing a neglected lilac bush, it may be pruned back to allow it to re-enter the growth cycle. You should plan on it taking at least one year.

You should make the reduction cuts to your lilac shrub in late winter if your lilac bush has grown to such a monstrous proportion that it must be trimmed down. Blooms should not be expected the following year.

Its new development will concentrate on the woody stems and leaves that the plant need for flowering in the first year after a significant drop in its size. For the plant to have enough energy to produce buds, it may take two or three years.

In order to bloom, you must be at least 18 years old.

On a lilac shrub, the greatest flowers appear on the canes that are still young. Although this sort of plant is considered young, it has been growing for more than five years. Bud formation is less common in elder growth.

It is necessary to do judicious trimming on these plants in order to maintain them in bloom. Choose the oldest canes and cut them all the way down to the branch collar to complete the task. As a result, new growth is allowed to emerge, and the bush is kept from getting overcrowded, allowing for adequate air circulation.

The Damage Done by Birds to the Top Buds

A few insects may create issues on the lilac shrub, despite the fact that it is largely pest resistant. Lilac leaves are mostly curled towards the ends.

Borers, leaf miners, and mites are among the most common pests that attack trees and other plants. A bird’s primary diet consists of insects, therefore if you have bugs lying about, the birds will most likely go chasing them.

In any case, even if they aren’t, a variety of birds will eat on dormant buds during the winter months. Always keep a watch on your lilac shrub throughout the winter months since birds may be preying on the latent buds, which will prevent the bush from flowering.

No, the blossoms are not consumed by birds. Lilac bushes may be damaged by either consuming the insects that would otherwise harm the plant or by pinching the latent buds off of the plant’s branches.

A bacterial disease that affects lilacs.

Blight caused by bacteria affects just a few lilac kinds, and these are the ones you want. Your plants’ blossoming will be compromised if they are not protected from this illness before it can take hold. Depending on how much is used, buds will either blacken or not open at all.

Whenever a sick bud finally opens, it will die within a few days. Unlike what you may assume, the blossoms do not persist as long as you might want.


The frigid temperatures that follow a rainstorm are the most significant risk factor for this illness. Foliage that has been frozen and moist creates an ideal environment for diseases to infect the plant. In most cases, it affects the foliage first, causing black streaks to appear on the leaves, lilac leaves to become brown, and the buds to become black in color.

Selective pruning will be required to combat bacterial blight. 

Remove and burn all of the leaves and branches that have darkened as a result of the fungus. The fungal spores may spread to other sections of the bush, ultimately destroying it if you don’t take the necessary precautions.

a Lilac Bush is not to be confused with another plant When there is no bloom, the bloom is poor.
A biennial blooming period is typical for the ordinary lilac shrub. If not completely, but at least to a reasonable degree. They have a propensity to bring forth a large number of blooms one year, followed by a less number the next year.



There’s a reason for this, since the lilac bush is a long-lived shrub. You may expect it to take in whatever reserves it need. Likewise, keep the reserves in reserve as well. Exerting considerable physical effort to arrange a bouquet of flowers is time-consuming.




As a result, anticipating the same sort of flowers to occur every year is a little unrealistic given that it might take up to five years for its initial blooms to develop.

If your lilac shrub is not flowering, you should only be worried if there are no blossoms on its branches. A bad blooming season occurs every other year if the number of flowers is just slightly lower than normal. You shouldn’t be concerned about it since it is typical.

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