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?

Share

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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - November 05, 2012

From: Toomsuba, MS
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Propagation, Transplants
Title: Transplanting a young lilac
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

This past spring I planted a hybrid lilac in the ground. The weather here has started to get cold, and much more so at night. Also, the temperatures go from warm to cold and back again as if unsure what season it is. The plant is still young, only about 13 inches tall. I want to dig it up, pot it, and bring it indoors (we may also be moving soon, and I want to take it with me). How can I do this safely, without damaging the plant? A. Lopez

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants specializes in plants native to the U.S.  Your lilac, Syringa, is not a native, although it is very widely grown in American gardens, especially in colder regions, since it needs winter dormancy in order to bloom profusely.  My best guess it for you to wait, if posslble, for the leaves to drop as colder weather arrives.  It can be safely transplanted at that time.  If you must move the plant while still in leaf, stop watering it now to promote dormancy.  Dig it up with as much soil as you can manage and place it in a large pot.  Water it with rooting hormone.  Leave it outside to allow cold weather to force it into full dormancy.  Don't let the soil become completely dry until you can transplant it back into the soil at its new destination.

Lilacs do best in slightly alkaline soil.  If your soil is acidic, mix a little lime into the soil when you place to lilac back into the ground.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Care for a non-native Syringa vulgaris (lilac)
February 19, 2008 - I inherited a lilac bush when I bought my house. It grows in a bed right in front of the house but grows away from the house, not in a straight up and down manner. This winter we had a 12" snow fall ...
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

Use of non-native jasmine for wedding in Salt Lake City
January 08, 2010 - I am getting married mid summer in Salt Lake City. I want to incorporate jasmine plants/flowers into my bouquet, centerpieces, etc. Is that feasible living in Salt Lake City? Would they survive long e...
view the full question and answer

Pruning of non-native oxblood lilies from Austin
March 27, 2014 - My Oxblood Lilies flowered quite late last Fall. Their foliage is still very green. Can I cut it down now or do I have to wait until it goes brown?
view the full question and answer

Could lilacs grow in Georgia?
April 27, 2010 - Hi Mr Smarty Pants, First off, I want to commend you on your promotion of native plants. I am passionately anti-invasive plants (in fact, it was the subject of my master's thesis). That being said...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center