Can you plant a lilac bush in a container?

Updated November 21, 2016

Lilac bushes are not well suited to growing in containers. The bushes are rather large and proper planting requires a wide, deep hole. Even dwarf lilac varieties have the tendency to spread, making them best suited to outdoor gardens.


Lilac bushes are known as tall, wide spreading bushes, ideal for a floral hedge. According to Cornell University, lilac bushes reach a height between 15 and 30 feet and spread up to 25 feet wide. The smallest variety of lilac still reaches a height of 5 feet, according to Montana State University.


Planting a lilac bush in a container would require a very large pot. Cornell University reports most lilac varieties require a hole about three times the size of the root ball.

Container Growing

For adventurous gardeners who wish to attempt to grow container lilacs, choose the smallest varieties available such as the Wedgewood Blue or the Korean Dwarf. Check the lilac regularly. If the roots become visible and begin to wrap around one another, the container is too small for the plant.

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