En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Non-native lilac in a pot in New Hampshire

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - May 18, 2009

From: Portsmouth, NH
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native lilac in a pot in New Hampshire
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in an apartment with a balcony that gets morning sun but is in the shade by 3 pm. Can I plant a lilac in a pot? What perennial would do well in New Hampshire? I love lilacs and would like to have a lilac on the balcony. HELP!!

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown. Plants accustomed to the climate, rainfall and soil of an area will need less water, fertilizer and maintenance. Syringa vulgaris, common lilac, is native to southeastern Europe and therefore out of our range of expertise.However, a probably more compelling reason for you not to plant a lilac in a pot on your balcony is that a lilac bush is just way too big. They can grow to 8 to 15 feet tall and 6 to 12 feet wide. Worse, they only bloom about 2 weeks in the Spring. 

Without the protection of being in the ground, the roots of a potted plant are very susceptible to freezing and you likely don't have room to bring your pots in during the winter to keep them in dormancy. We would recommend that you go to a nursery and ask for advice on what they have that will accept your planting conditions. They probably won't be native plants but since it's unlikely that potted plants on a deck will escape cultivation and invade native habitats, we doubt that is a problem. 

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

How to care for non-native gardenia
May 10, 2010 - My gardenia is about 20 years old about 5 feet tall and for the first time is leggy looking this year, not too many leaves and they don't look real healthy. Do I need to cut it back some. Last year...
view the full question and answer

Non-native, invasive Rapistrum rugosum
April 02, 2008 - What is the name of the alien, spindly, yellow mustard that we see blooming around Austin now ? Is it Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale) ?
view the full question and answer

Care of the non-native Aralias (Genus Polyscias)
January 04, 2008 - Today I purchased a POLYSCIAS common name "Aralia" I was told that can be happy inside, little light. Please could you inform me how to take care: feeding, fertilizing, watering needs? Does it bl...
view the full question and answer

Freeze damage to non-native Philodendron selloeum in Deltona FL
June 22, 2010 - My philodendrons selloeum died this past winter in the freeze,came back slowly this spring and now are suffering with very small deformed leaves. Some do grow but are getting large brown dry areas on ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native jade plant from Pauline SC
August 24, 2012 - Do jade plants grow in South Carolina; if, so where?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center