How to plant a lilac bush from seed

Written by d.c. winston
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How to plant a lilac bush from seed
A purple blue lilac shrub in full bloom. (lilac image by Henryk Olszewski from

Lilac seeds can readily be germinated to produce young lilac plants, according to the University of North Dakota. While seeds taken from a hybrid lilac will likely not produce an exact replica plant, it will produce a viable lilac. So with the low cost and ease of propagation, you get the added element of suspense waiting to see what lilac will result. Lilac seeds should be sowed when fresh from the plant for optimal germination rates.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Fresh lilac seeds
  • Newspaper
  • Potting soil
  • Nursery pot or seed tray
  • Clear plastic sheeting, pot or tray lid
  • Water

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  1. 1

    Harvest mature lilac seeds when the flower heads dry on the plant and the seeds take their place.

  2. 2

    Spread the seeds out in a single layer over a few sheets of clean newspaper. Choose the largest and fattest seeds of the bunch for planting. Choose more seeds than you want plants to make up for any germination failures, as any excess young plants can easily be thinned or transplanted after germination.

  3. 3

    Plant the seeds in outdoor garden soil or in nursery pots or seed trays filled with fresh, sterile potting mix. Bury the lilac seeds 2 inches under the surface of the soil at intervals of 2 to 4 inches.

  4. 4

    Water the seed and surrounding soil until drenched and water runs out the drainage holes or the ground soil is soaked to a depth of 4 inches. Keep the soil moist at all times.

  5. 5

    Cover the pot or seed tray with a clear plastic sheet or tray lid to create a greenhouse effect. The larger amount of moisture-holding soil in ground plantings is sufficient to create ambient humidity but keep it moist at all times.

  6. 6

    Allow the seeds to remain at an ambient temperature around 5 degrees Celsius for 30 to 90 days for germination.

  7. 7

    Seedlings can be planted in larger pots or a permanent location in the ground soil when two sets of leaves have been set.

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