Do Lilacs Transplant Well: Learn How And When To Transplant Lilacs

Do Lilacs Transplant Well: Learn How And When To Transplant Lilacs

By: Teo Spengler

Small, young shrubs almost always transplant better than older, established plants, and lilacs are no exception. When you think about relocating a lilac bush, you’ll find it much easier to transplant root shoots than to actually move the mature plant. How to transplant a lilac? When to transplant lilacs? Do lilacs transplant well? Read on for all the information you need about moving lilac shrubs.

Moving Lilac Shrubs

Lilac bushes are lovely, fragrant additions to any home garden. They are also versatile shrubs, filling in as border plants, specimen ornamentals or as part of flowering hedges.

If you are thinking your lilac would look or grow better in another location, consider transplanting a root shoot instead of relocating a lilac bush. Many species of lilac, like the French lilac, propagate by producing shoots around the base of the shrub.

Do lilacs transplant well? The lilac shoots do. You can dig them out and replant them, and odds are good that they will thrive and grow in a new location. It is also possible to move an entire mature plant, but only if necessary. You’ll just have to invest a little more time and muscle into the effort.

When to Transplant Lilacs

If you are wondering when to transplant lilacs, you have two choices: autumn or spring. Most experts recommend that you act in spring. The optimal time is after the plants bloom but before summer’s heat arrives in force.

How to Transplant a Lilac

If you are wondering how to transplant a lilac, your first big step is to select a sunny location for the new site. Then prepare the soil well. You can maximize success with moving lilac shrubs – either the smaller sprouts or the large mature shrub – by rototilling the soil and mixing in aged compost. Prepare a large area for the plant before you begin digging out the lilac.

If you want to transplant a lilac shoot, separate the transplant from the mother plant with as large a root system as possible. Then plant this shoot in the center of the prepared area.

If you are transplanting a lilac that is mature and large, expect to work hard at digging out the rootball. You still need to take out as large a rootball as possible, and you may need help to lift the mature plant’s rootball onto a tarp to move it. Plant the rootball in a prepared hole twice as large as the rootball. Tuck soil around the rootball and keep it watered well and regularly for the next year or two.

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Read more about Lilac Bushes


Transplant a Common Purple Lilac Bush

Purple lilac bushes are an excellent flowering shrub that add a beautiful aroma to your garden. The following provides some tips for transplanting lilac bushes.

  • The best time to transplant lilac bushes is in the autumn season.
  • When transplanting these bushes, remember to dig fairly deep around the lilac plant. This is because the plant’s underground root structure can become quite large and improper digging can damage it.
  • When you have taken the plant out of its current place, take away the soil from around the roots by lightly watering them.
  • After the soil has been removed from the roots, you can plant your lilac bush in the desired area. Remember to dig the hole where you will transplant the bush first and then take the plant out of the soil.
  • Ensure that the replacement hole is large enough to accommodate the entire root structure without cramping it.
  • Spreading out the roots and adding a little soil at a time to provide support for the plant is important.

You should also ensure that the new location meets the requirements of this flowering hedge. It should have well drained soil and receive an adequate amount of sunlight.


Answer #1 · Maple Tree's Answer · Hi Patrice-The best time to transplant a lilac is in the fall or early spring. This being said, it doesn't sound as though you have a choice if you are going to save this plant. It would be best to transplant this lilac as soon as possible as Lilacs, like most plants, don't do as well transplanted in hot dry weather. Lilacs normally transplant easily without much problem and recover fairly quickly.

As the plant is fairly large it may be best to prune stems back by 50 percent. This will make it a lot easier to work with when digging it up and replanting. Transplanting and hard pruning will hurt the chance of any flowering this year as blooms develop on last years growth. The transplanting could affect next springs blooming also, but in two years it should be blooming normally again. This pruning back though will help the plant focus on developing new roots and not flowering.

You will want to dig the hole as deep and wide as possible to save as many roots as possible. The more roots you get, the more successful the transplant will be with less shock to the plant.Dig a hole in your new location about twice as big as the removed root system.

Place the lilac in the hole with the plant sitting at the same height as it was with the original soil level.

Mix a lot of compost into the soil removed from the hole and backfill with this soil around the root ball. Tamp down lightly around the roots as you fill to remove any air pockets.

Water the lilac thoroughly and continue to deeply water regularly to keep the soil moist, not wet, for a month or two.

I noted a link to a good article in gardenality on How To Relocate And Transplant A Shrub Or Tree. Just click on the link to go directly to the article.

It is great that you want to save this lilac. Hopefully you will continue to enjoy it for years.


3. When is a good time to transplant?

Timing is everything. As a general rule, and for the greatest success, transplant your plant before it flowers. If your plant blooms in spring, then you want to make your move early, way before it showers itself with petals.

Or, wait a bit after it’s finished. If your early bloomer is very hardy, you can move it in the fall. For summer-blooming beauties, move them in the fall, too. Also to keep transplant shock to a minimum, choose the coolest part of the day, either early morning or late afternoon. Basically, the summer is the worst season to move plants.


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