How to Plant Lilac Trees

Updated July 20, 2017

Lilac trees are a common sight during the spring in residential neighbourhoods. They give off a pleasant aroma and are pleasing to the eye. Lilac trees are easy to care for, attract butterflies, and make great add-ons to spring flower bouquets. They usually grow between 5 and 15 feet in height and width. Depending on the variety, the lilacs can come in an array of colours. When planting lilac trees, choose a location that has well-drained, moist soil and is very sunny.

Dig a hole that is as deep as the root ball of the lilac tree but is two to three times wider. The hole should have 1 to 2 inches of loose soil at the bottom.

Add a small amount of compost to the soil that was removed. The soil does not need compost if it is good.

Tip the lilac tree's container on its side. Remove the root ball carefully so that the roots do not get damaged.

Place the lilac tree in the centre of the hole. Hold the tree by the trunk with one hand and backfill the hole with half of the soil that was dug out.

Fill the hole with just enough water so that the soil can settle. Make sure there are no air pockets in the soil once the water drains to the bottom of the hole.

Fill the hole with the remaining soil and level it with the root ball. Water the tree. Add 2 to 3 inches of mulch around the tree to keep the soil moist and cool.

Water the tree 1 inch per week during June and July if you planted it during the spring. Decrease the amount of water you use during August so the tree can prepare itself for winter. Deep water the tree during the late fall.

Fertilise the lilac tree after it has been planted for two years. Use a 5-10-10 granular fertiliser. If you fertilise the tree any sooner than two years, you can damage the roots of the tree.


Once the lilac trees have grown between 6 to 8 feet, they are ready to be pruned. When you plant lilac trees, make sure they have plenty of space to grow.


Avoid planting lilac trees in windy areas because of the fragile flowers. Inspect the lilac trees for pests and diseases regularly.

Things You'll Need

  • Lilac tree
  • Mulch
  • Tree wrap
  • Spade
  • Compost
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About the Author

Heather Jones has been writing since the age of 7 and she began professional freelancing in 2007. Her work appears at Suite101, Associated Content, Helium and Triond. Jones has a high school diploma and was an honor student in journalism and fiction.