The lilac (Syringa) inspires with its lush flowers. In order to be able to form these and grow healthily, it needs a location that meets its requirements.

Free field and bucket farming

The roots of the “common” lilac grow very deep and spread out in a ring. The plant needs enough space for this, which a bucket cannot offer for most varieties. The open land is therefore the perfect location for lilacs.

Only smaller varieties are suitable for a place in the bucket. You can easily cope with the available space, although this must of course be adapted to the respective growth. Whether outdoors or in a bucket, it is important that the location is sheltered from the wind.

The smaller varieties include:

  • Zwergflieder „Tinkerbelle“
  • Meyers Flieder, Syringa meyeri “Palibin”


Which light conditions the lilac needs depends on the variety. As a rule, you can’t go wrong with a sunny spot. However, for most lilac varieties, a lot of sun is a must for a lush flower dress. If they are darker, you can expect significantly fewer flowers and slower growth. This applies above all to the wild lilac. The ideal location gives the lilac six hours of sun a day. Since it can deal with drought, the midday sun doesn’t hurt either. Most lilacs , on the other hand, can cope with partial shade without expecting a loss in the number of flowers.

soil condition

The Syringa is supplied via the soil. In order for this to work ideally, it must meet certain conditions:

  • rich in humus
  • Loose and water permeable
  • May be dry and slightly sandy (mix with compost or similar if there is too much sand)
  • No nearby wet zones with permanent moisture
  • No waterlogging
  • Slightly calcareous (lime tolerant – exception: Preston lilac)
  • pH: between 5.5 and 7.0
  • Use conventional substrate for buckets (pay attention to high quality, since inferior soil compacts quickly)
Note: If the pH is below 5.5 or falls below this level over time, liming is recommended.


If the lilac is restricted by too little space, in the worst case this will result in massive regression. The formation of new shoots and flowers decreases continuously. It becomes more and more bare and unsightly and often dries up because too little moisture remains on too small an area. If it stands in the garden bed next to weakly rooted plants, it can also displace them. In short: it needs space from the start, as described below:

  • Planting distance: between 1.5 and five meters depending on the variety
  • Planting depth: several meters depending on age (planting sites above, for example, underground water cisterns are therefore unsuitable)
  • Height: be sure to pay attention to the possible growth height, which often reaches up to seven meters
Note: Lilac roots that reach several meters deep can one day become a problem when there is a change of location or the lilacs are to be completely removed. If you use a root barrier directly when planting, you can prevent this.

bucket size

If a young plant is to be placed in a pot, it should be chosen significantly smaller than for a lilac with an extensive root system. The following information is used to help you find the right size:

  • Tub size for young plants: twice the size of the root system
  • Pot depth for adult dwarf lilac varieties: about twice as deep as the roots are long
  • Pot diameter for adult dwarf lilac varieties: around ten centimeters from the edge to the main trunk
  • Pot size for larger adult lilacs: tall containers with a diameter three to four times larger than the root are ideal
  • When repotting, either shorten the roots or choose a new planter two sizes larger

Suitable plant neighbors

If the lilacs are to be placed in a bed that has already been planted, care must be taken not only to plant the planting distance, but also to ensure that they do not become competitors by competing for space for the roots as well as existing nutrients and moisture. Less thoughts are to be made with smaller specimens. For example, the following plant neighbors are ideal for fast-growing lilac varieties:


If a lilac does not do well in one place, if it becomes too big, too dark or just in the way, a change of location may be necessary. Basically, a move from the old to a new place means stress for the plant. If it is still unavoidable, care should be taken to ensure that the new place has at least the same good qualities that it is used to. Above all, the soil should be optimal for the Syringa so that it takes root quickly and has the best conditions for good care in order to quickly recover from the stress of moving.


All lilac varieties are hardy. Some specimens occasionally freeze back their roots and shoots, but they will sprout again in the spring. This is often the case with summer lilac , among other things .

The situation is different with lilacs, which are located in the bucket. Theoretically, they have just as good winter hardiness, but their roots are almost defenseless against the winter cold. In the garden bed, the earth has an insulating effect. In pots, the layers of soil are only minimally thick, so the roots can freeze or at least be seriously damaged. The following therefore applies to the winter location:

  • Be sure to protect it from the wind
  • Under a roof as protection from rain and snow is optimal (soaked earth increases the risk of frostbite)
  • Bucket standing on insulating ground due to ground frost (e.g. polystyrene, wood and cardboard)
  • Alternatively: moving the bucket to a frost-free, bright place (e.g. garden shed or garage with daylight)

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