Propagate beautiful lilacs and grow them yourself - this is how you will succeed

Propagate beautiful lilacs and grow them yourself - this is how you will succeed

Particularly easy. Propagation via root runners

Many lilacs form so-called root runners, which you can simply cut off with a spade in spring or autumn and plant again in the desired location. There is no easier way to reproduce lilacs - but it cannot be implemented in all species. You can use the method well with the varieties of wild lilac, which forms a lot of root runners. Noble lilacs (for example 'Charles Jolie' or 'In memory of Ludwig Sp├Ąth') can develop runners, but these are those of the wild form on which the noble variety is only grafted. You only get true-root runners with noble varieties that have been bred using the in-vitro method - however, experience shows that they only develop very rarely.

also read

  • How to grow roots from lilac cuttings
  • Can you transplant lilacs? How the project works best
  • Cultivate magnificent lilacs on the balcony - this is how it works

Works with almost all varieties: Propagation via cuttings

If propagation via root runners is out of the question - for whatever reasons - you can cut cuttings from almost all varieties and try rooting. Depending on the type and variety, this works sometimes better and sometimes less well, but it can definitely be tested. Propagation by cuttings works very well with dwarf lilacs (e.g. Syringa x meyeri 'Palibin') or the popular Preston hybrids (Syringa x prestoniae), whereas with the more sensitive noble lilacs you have significantly more losses. You should be successful if you proceed according to this method:

  • Cut the shoot or head cuttings during the flowering period in May / June.
  • To do this, select non-woody offshoots with at least three leaf nodes.
  • Remove the bottom leaves, leaving only two or three.
  • Cut the leftover leaves in half.
  • Mix the potting soil from lean soil, sand and algae lime.
  • Fill small pots with the substrate.
  • Put the cuttings in there.
  • Moisten the substrate well.
  • Put a cut off PET bottle over it as a greenhouse.
  • Alternatively, you can stick shashlik skewers in the ground
  • and put a translucent plastic bag over it.
  • The leaves must not touch the plastic, otherwise it will mold quickly.
  • Place the pots in a bright (but not directly sunny!) And warm location.
  • Water and ventilate regularly.

Now you have to be patient: Many lilacs take up to a year to develop roots, so that the cuttings often only sprout in the following year.

Seldom successful: Propagation of cuttings

If you want to propagate a Chinese lilac (Syringa x chinensis), a Hungarian lilac (Syringa josikaea) or the bow lilac (Syringa reflexa), we recommend the uncomplicated propagation using cuttings. However, this method is not advisable for the noble lilac varieties, as very few woods actually grow here - depending on the variety, only every tenth to fifteenth actually forms roots. With the species mentioned, however, you can look forward to new young plants after a year. And that's how it works:

  • Timber cuttings are cut in late autumn after the leaves have fallen.
  • In contrast to cuttings, these are no longer allowed to have leaves.
  • Cut annual shoots about the length of a pencil.
  • These should each have a pair of buds below and above.
  • At the bottom, peel a strip about two centimeters wide from the bark.
  • You stick this end in the prepared bed outside.
  • This should be in the penumbra.
  • Dig up the earth here thoroughly and enrich it with compost.
  • The cuttings must be about a third or half into the ground.
  • Cover the bed with fleece over the winter.
  • In the following spring you can see which cuttings have grown and which have not.

If you still have no way of tucking the pieces of wood in autumn, you can also wrap them in a clean cloth and store them in the refrigerator over the winter. In the spring it is finally plugged.

Surprises: sow lilacs

Many lilacs develop capsule fruits after flowering, which you can only let ripen and finally harvest in autumn. Pour out the fine seeds, carefully separate them from other parts of the plant and sow them in a bowl with potting soil. Leave them outside in a shady and cool place over the winter and cover them only from January. At this point, put them in an (unheated) greenhouse and keep the substrate slightly moist, the seeds will germinate soon. The young plants are first pricked out in pots in spring and only planted outdoors in autumn. Please note that the seedling propagation is not single-variety and you can often experience surprises. If you want to grow your own varieties yourself,you will likely succeed with this method.


Noble lilac is often propagated via inoculation - ie the grafting of a shoot on a shoot of the wild species. In contrast to in-vitro propagation, which is more commonly used in professional horticulture, you can carry out this method yourself at home.