Lilacs in Medium to Heavy Shade?

HFK123(Oklahoma City)February 23, 2005


I have a 1.3 acre lot in Oklahoma that is densly covered with mature oak. I have posted pictures

I've planted Common Lilac (Syringa Vulgaris) root stock 10' back from the proerty line at four foot intervals to form a privacy hedge (about 220 plants).

I have read that shaded lilacs are much less lilely to bloom. I'm not terribly worried about that, but I am concerned that the plants will not grow properly (10-12' tall and wide). Have any of you seen lilacs grow well in medium to heavy shade? Have you sen them flower in such an environment.

Folks, I've heard tons of opinions, many of which are contrary: I'm interested in responses by people that actually have first-hand experience with such things. Don't mean to be rude, I suppose I'm just tired of trying to decipher fact from fiction. For example, you may wonder why I'm posting this AFTER planting them. Various non-Internet sources said it wouldn't be a problem.

I wish I'd known about this forum before planting. I posted to the Oklahoma forum, and they were very helpfull, but I realize now that I should have pursued the shade question more thoroughly...

Many thanks for your help.

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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

In heavy shade, lilacs are doomed. I have lilacs that were gradually shaded out by weed Norway maples over time, and it was very obvious to see the decline in the lilacs -- blooming and plant growth -- as the maples' shade got denser.

I have limbed up the trees, hoping that this will let enough light through for the lilacs to survive. You may find that you will have to remove a tree or two for the same purpose.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2005 at 10:19AM
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springcherry(6/7 Philly,PA)

I had a lilac in medium shade(2 or at most 3 hours of sun a day) that grew well but never bloomed. Gave it to a friend with a new house and lots of sun. But it did get bigger, grew well, with mostly shade.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2005 at 10:29AM
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mlark(z4 WY)

I have an lilac bush on the east side of my house that only gets about an hour of early morning direct sun. It is heavily shaded by several huge honey mesquite trees on one side and our 3 story house on the other. It is approx. 7 ft. tall and wide and although it is not as full as my lilac that is in full sun, it looks healthy and gives us quite a bit of privacy. I get a few flowers (probably only a dozen or so) but only on the side that gets the 1 hour of sun. It is still a beautiful bush and I am very happy with it's location.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2005 at 1:31AM
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stacyp9(5 Chicago)

I have two lilacs, the one in full sun blooms great. The other one is partially shaded by a large horsechesnut. It does get partial sun on one side. It only blooms on the side of the plant that gets the sun, which sadly is my neighbor's side. At least I don't feel bad about cutting blooms and bringing them in.

Is it too late for you to relocate the lilacs you planted?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2005 at 9:32PM
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cherrisa(z6 MID TN)

the place that I used to live had a lilac on the back side of the house. Half of it was completely shaded and never got any sun. A few branches got a lot of sun. It only bloomed on the section that got sun.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2005 at 5:44PM
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This post really helped me. I almost planted a lilac bush in full shade thinking it would be fine. Phew! I will definitely be choosing something else. Thank you!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 3:59PM
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Try viburnum, its just as big an better able to handle the shade. Goats beard (a perinial will grow real tall as well). I do have a lilac in shade and its about to bloom. only gets about3 hours of sun. Slow growing though.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 1:31AM
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A few years ago I got some root stock from a neighbor. He said it would take five years for that sort of transplant to bloom. I put it under some oaks hoping the fact the lilac blooms before oak trees are leafed out would be enough sun for blooms. I live in an area of homes with heavy oak tree shade and my neighbors have lilacs that bloom. So far I would call my transplant a fail. The bush is nice, spreading etc. but NO BLOOMS to speak of, one sprig two years ago. In February I had a pine tree a few yards in front of it and behind the lilac and another tree removed. I am hoping this will give the needed sun. We will see. I would say it has been getting more than 2-3 hours of sun..and I would not say that is "medium" shade. 2-3 hours of morning sun is not much...IMHO. Saying that I am reminded the stella Dora day lilies planted in front of the lilac bloom nicely.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 7:47AM
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When I first moved to my home I planted a Lilac in a spot that received about 3 hours of sun a day. It did grow, but slowly and it never bloomed. After 7 years in that spot I finally moved it to a spot that gets 6 hours of sun. It bloomed the first year and has doubled it's size in two.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 9:02PM
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