Should a Lilac Bush be in the Shade or Sun?

Lilacs produce beautiful clusters of fragrant flowers.
Lilacs produce beautiful clusters of fragrant flowers. (Image: Flowering lilac in the city park. Novosibirsk, may 2007 image by Igor Zhorov from

With its sweet fragrance and beautiful purple or white blooms, the lilac bush is an old-fashioned favorite. Once established, a lilac bush is hardy and adaptable. However, adequate sunlight is crucial to optimal bloom production.

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Sun Requirements

The lilac bush can grow in full sunlight or in partial shade. Ideally, a lilac should receive six to eight hours of full sun daily. Although you can grow a lilac in partial shade, it will produce fewer blooms and grow slower than a bush planted in full sunlight.

Location to Plant

When planting a lilac bush, always choose a sunny, well-drained location. If you are planting lilacs in a hedge, the Utah State University Cooperative Extension recommends planting the hedge in a single row with bushes spaced 3 to 6 feet apart to allow sunlight to reach the lower branches.

Established Lilacs

Sometimes an established lilac bush will stop blooming or bloom less, because the location has become shadier over time. Tree limbs or surrounding shrubs may need to be trimmed to allow more sunlight. If you're unable to change the shade situation, consider transplanting the lilac bush to a sunnier location.


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