Rooting Lilacs from Cuttings is a wonderful way to propagate this Spring favorite. Heirloom varieties are the sweetest smelling but finding them in garden centers can be difficult.
Moving? Rooting Lilacs from cuttings is a sure way to take your beloved Lilacs with you to your new home.
May is typically when my neighborhood is filled with the scent of Lilacs. You know Spring has arrived in White Pines when everywhere you walk smells so sweet. It is one of my favorite things about living here. The lilacs filling the yards and gardens here are all mostly heirloom varieties planted back in the 40’s. White Pines was established for the workers of the old lumber mill. Highly fragrant and tough as nails, even the abandoned lilacs are performing with no irrigating or tending.
Tough, reliable plants are the best foundation for any garden.
Just so you know, you can also propagate Lilacs from Suckers! It is a faster way to get a blooming plant and I feel, is even easier than cuttings.
(For my latest method that works on a windowsill check out this post: ROOTING ROSES, it will work for the lilacs too!)
Garden Safe Take Root (some of I have used in the past and did fine with)
Old wine crate or DIY WOOD CRATE
Peat Moss (I at one time used Coconut coir but have reverted back to peat moss after having some issues with the coir)
10 Gal. Fish Tank (I found mine at Wal-Mart)
Prepare Container for Lilac cuttings
First I prepare my propagation box.
I fill it with my own mixture of 2 parts compost (I get this from a local company that composts garden debris on a huge scale, it is similar to potting soil you buy at a garden center), 1 part perlite and 1 part sand or peat moss. (I am sure there are better mixtures but I used what I had on hand and I have had success with this in the past).
The crate has slats on the bottom but there are wide gaps between the slats so this drains very well.
I have it sitting on the gravel floor of my greenhouse in an area that direct sunlight will not hit but it still gets plenty of bright light.
I will fill the box more with my potting mix until it is nearly full.
Cover for Humidity
These fish tanks come in handy in creating a mini greenhouse effect while being tall enough for longer cuttings. They last for years if proper care is taken.
When & How to Take Lilac Cuttings
Choose new growth just after the Lilacs is done blooming. This varies by your growing Zone. For me that is June. Cut a branch about 8 to 12 inches long.
Take plenty of cuttings, there is about a 50/50 success rate so the more you try to start the more chance of success.
How to Prepare Lilac Cuttings
I haul them all to my potting bench and begin.
If the cutting is 8 inches I leave it that long, if it is 12 inches I cut it in half. Strip most of the leaves from the cutting.
Coat the ends into the rooting medium aka cloning Gel.
I use a small paint brush to cover the length of stem that will be under the growing medium.
Below you can see nodes on the stem, that is where roots begin and you want a good portion of nodes below the soil line. You want to try and get at least 3 nodes under the soil line.
You may have noted some of these are also rose cuttings. I like to fill up my box when I am doing cuttings.
Once they are all dipped in the cloning gel sink them down into the potting soil mixture. First use a dauber (a pencil works well) to create a hole to slide the cuttings down into the soil without removing the cloning gel.
I place them far enough apart they do not touch each other and away from the edges so they will not touch the glass of the cover.
I should take off more leaves, the leaves tend to be where the fungus starts but for photo purposes I will leave them on, easier to see where the cuttings are.
After placing all the cuttings in the box I carefully set the cover over them.
Note there is s space around the fish tank where potting soil shows. That is how to water without lifting the tank. You want to keep the soil moist but not too wet. You shouldn’t need to water often. The tank cover will keep the soil moist for long periods of time.
Put something under the tank edge to prop it up half an inch or so for air flow. I use a small flat stone, nothing fancy.
How long for Lilacs to Root?
You should have roots in one to two months. You can leave newly rooted cuttings in place to develop further or you can pot up into individual pots to grow on. I let mine grow in pots until firmly established and hardy enough to take the rigors of garden life.
How long before Lilac cuttings will bloom?
Lilacs can take three years or more to bloom from cuttings. Want faster bloom then visit How to Propagate Lilacs from Suckers and get a larger plant faster!
Before you know it you will be picking beautiful bouquets like this one.
And create heavenly scented displays for your home.
Need tips on growing and caring for your Lilacs? Click here for that info! How to Grow Lilacs.
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