Why Is My Lilac Dying?

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Healthy lilac bushes have large blooms that come in blue, purple and pink.
Healthy lilac bushes have large blooms that come in blue, purple and pink. (Image: Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Lilac bushes are known as particularly hardy plants and are relatively easy to take care of. However, if you notice your lilac is not blooming regularly, leaves are falling off or you notice wilting, your lilac may be dying. Do a little detective work to figure out the cause.

Sunlight

A lilac must have exposure to full sun. If the lilac is getting partial or shaded sunlight, it can cause wilting and flowers will not bloom. Though it will take some time, eventually, under-exposure to sunlight will kill the plant. Either cut overgrowth above the bush or transplant the plant to a sunnier area to prevent damage due to low light.

Fertilizer

Lilac bushes do not need much fertilization and if you are using a strong chemically based fertilizer, the plant may die from overfertilization. If you believe this has happened, try replacing some of the fertilized soil with regular soil. Going forward, fertilize your lilac only with natural products such as compost and then only sparingly.

Pests

Pests like aphids or ladybugs can destroy the foliage on your lilac, which can kill it over time. To get rid of pests, you can spray the lilac bush once a week with an over-the-counter pesticide. If you still see pests after one to two months, you will need to call a professional exterminator.

Crowding

Lilac bushes grow to be quite large and can have roots that grow 6 to 9 feet underground. If you have a lot of bushes in the area, they can strip the soil of nutrients. When this problem occurs, lilac bushes can shrink and then they will start showing signs of malnutrition (spotting, wilting, etc.) To solve this problem, either transplant the lilac or uproot the plants that are too close to it.

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