How to Care for Dwarf Korean Lilac

By Elizabeth Hannigan , last updated January 19, 2012

Dwarf Korean lilac plants require a certain kind of care. Dwarf Korean lilac is a dense, multi-stemmed deciduous shrub extremely popular with urban gardeners for its resistance to pollution and slight disturbances such as wind. Before you go planting your new dwarf Korean lilac in your tiny backyard or in a pot, however, you should note that although this species is called "dwarf," it can actually grow up to eight feet high and eight feet wide. If you do have space for a shrub this size, a dwarf Korean lilac is a great choice. This round, compact shrub fills out with panicles of fragrant lilac flowers every May for two weeks. These stunning purple blooms blanket the shrubs from the ground up and you can smell them from several meters away. When this shrub is not in bloom, it is covered with small, delicate, pointy leaves that do not change color in the autumn.

Dwarf Korean lilacs make an excellent choice for a hedge or informal privacy barrier. This species should be planted in full sunlight. This is a hardy plant, adaptable to both moist and dry spots, and it is not too picky about soil type or pH levels. Choose a spot with good air circulation if you want your shrub to bloom profusely. Visit the nursery and pick out young, healthy dwarf Korean lilacs to plant after the last frost has past in early spring and make sure to keep the roots moist before you plant.

Once you have your spot picked out, clear it of weeds and grass. Cover the area with compost to give the soil the nutrients your plant needs to thrive. Next, dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the root ball of your young plant. Fill the bottom half of the hole with a mix of half soil and half compost. Make a cone and set the root ball on top of it in the hole. Continue to fill up the hole slowly with your half soil and half compost mix. Make sure that you fill the spaces between the roots completely and you don't leave any air pockets. You should plant your root ball so that the top of it is just below the top layer of soil. If your plant is already quite large, use the soil to build a water well around the roots. Finish your planting by covering the area with mulch to prevent the growth of weeds and to conserve moisture in the soil. Water your shrub well until it is established in your garden.

Apply a fertilizer that contains phosphorus as recommended on the package during the plant's first growing season. Follow with a general fertilizer yearly after that. You are going to need to prune this shrub on a regular basis. When the plant is young, pinch the stem tips to promote branching. Next, thin your shrub by removing dead or diseased wood all the way back to the trunk. This will improve circulation and prevent disease. Shear the surface level of your shrub to maintain the shape of your hedge. Finally, always remove old branches from both the inside and the outside of the shrub to keep your shrub's size down and your lilacs looking healthy for a long time to come.

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