En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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
1 rating

Friday - July 14, 2006

From: Calgary, AB
Region: Canada
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Care of non-native lilac
Answered by: Nan Hampton


How and when do we prune lilacs bushes ?


Our focus and expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center are in plants native to North America. Common lilac or lilac bush (Syringa vulgaris) is a European native that has been naturalized in North America. We can, however, guide you to sources that will have the answers to your lilac bush care problems. According to The Gardener's Network, the most important thing about pruning your lilac is to do so as soon as it has finished blooming. and before its seeds have completely formed and set. This will encourage the plant to bloom heartily next year. Another reason to prune immediately after the trees has bloomed is that the flower buds for next year's flowers form early. If you wait too long after this year's blooming has finished, you risk the possibility of trimming off next year's buds. Your can read more about care of your lilac on the International Lilac Society webpage and on the Syringa Plus webpage.

More Non-Natives Questions

Leaves shriveling on non-native Japanese maple in Redmond WA
July 18, 2009 - My husband and I bought a Japanese Maple 3 years ago which we planted in an old wine barrel for our patio, along with some ivy and grass to keep the surface covered. Until recently, it has been doing ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Cleyera in Georgia
September 30, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I had a landscaper plant 4 Cleyera around my front porch. I have had them for about 9 years now and they are very hardy, each one being about 4 feet in width, 5 feet high ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Kokias
January 27, 2005 - I am searching for seeds of different Kokias (Kokia cookei, K. drynariodes and K. kauaiensis) and Thespesias (Thespesia grandiflora, T. thespesioides, T. nerifolia and T. popul...
view the full question and answer

Native alternative to tulips from Milford MI
October 15, 2013 - What could be a good alternative to tulips? I have not seen a native plant quite like a tulip (except a tulip tree). A good alternative should bloom in April or May and have showy flowers. I searched...
view the full question and answer

Care for some non-native salvias from Austin
November 12, 2012 - Mexican bush sage and Salvia "indigo spires" are both blooming in my Austin beds right now. Once they stop blooming and/or frost gets them, could you tell me by how much they should be cut back? R...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center