No companionship? #682666 - Ask Extension


No companionship? #682666

Asked March 04, 2021, 1:33 PM EST

Good afternoon.. We have a lilac bush we purchased at a box store 4 years ago. It has grown a few feet and now stands at just under 5' tall. Each summer it gets heavy foliage but zero flowers. I have read that over-fertilyzing can cause this but we have not used much fertilizer. In spring of 2019, I used Miracle Grow (a blend for both flowers and veggies) and last spring, I used fresh grass clippings, around the base, as a mulch but i have made no other attempts to fertilize. We have no other lilac bushes on our property or neighbor's properties. We have a mixture of perennials and will add annuals each spring but most of these flowers are a few hundred feet away from the lilac bush. It's closest neighbors are two pine tree's immediately to the east and west of the bush, the limbs of these trees are approx 10' away on either side. To the south is a large field, typically used to grow soybeans, corn or wheat. To the north of the bush, aprrox. 20' from the bush,, I have a small veggie garden that I typically have at least one annual flower or two growing as well. I am wondering of the lack of another lilac bush close by is our problem, or maybe I should reconsider fertilizing? Could my neighbor (growing the soybeans etc) spraying his crops for pests be a cause of my lack of flowers? Thank you in advance for any advice you can provide.

Shiawassee County Michigan

Expert Response

Hopefully the lilac is in full sun and not getting any shading from the pines nearby.  Grass clippings are FULL of nitrogen, so by using these as a mulch, in essence you are adding nitrogen.  You were giving correct advice to slack of on any supplemental fertilizer and allow the shrub to acclimate to your site.  The down side is, some of the old fashioned cultivars do take several years to bloom.  I have one I now have planted for 5 years, and I think there is one flower bud on it!  I will covet that flower.  Be patient.  

All great observations, but none of the other factors you mentioned will affect the blooming of this plant.  
Rebecca Finneran Replied March 04, 2021, 3:38 PM EST
Thank you so much for the info! 
I am happy to hear we may have blooms in our future yet!

Kind Regards,

B. Frogg

On Thu, Mar 4, 2021, 3:38 PM Ask Extension <> wrote:
Bull Frogg Replied March 10, 2021, 7:21 PM EST

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