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Syringa vulgaris, the common lilac, is a shrub or small tree that can grow up to six meters tall in good conditions. Remarkable are its flower spikes, which are up to 30 centimeters long and contain numerous small violet or white flowers that exude the characteristic lilac scent. Lilacs are usually found planted in the garden, but under certain conditions you can also cultivate them in pots.

Not all lilac varieties are suitable for keeping in buckets

Which lilac species and varieties are suitable for keeping in buckets?

For pot culture, you should choose a variety that stays as small as possible, as it can naturally arrange itself better with the limited space in a planter. The various dwarf lilacs such as the well-known variety 'Palibin' are well suited. Dwarf lilacs grow slowly, only reach a height of between 120 and 150 centimeters and bloom at least as beautifully as the significantly larger garden lilac. Of course you can also plant it in a pot, but then you have to keep it small by cutting it.

How big does a bucket have to be? Which material is particularly suitable?

Instead of giving the young plant a large pot from the outset, it is better to transplant the lilac into a larger one about every two years. The rule of thumb is that the pot should have about twice the volume of the root ball. If the plant gets a large pot from the start, it will grow all the faster; if the planter stays smaller, on the other hand, it adapts to the existing conditions. If possible, choose a natural material such as clay or ceramic, as plastic pots (especially if they are black!) heat up quickly in the sun - which in turn doesn't like the roots.

Properly keeping and caring for lilacs in the pot

Otherwise, potted lilacs are just as easy to keep as planted specimens. To ensure that the plant thrives and you can enjoy the flowers every year, you should pay attention to the following points:

  • sunny location
  • water and fertilize regularly
  • repot every two years
  • Cut back regularly after flowering
  • Protect roots from winter frost

Choice of location

Lilac is a pronounced sun plant, which blooms more beautifully and luxuriantly the more sunny it gets. Therefore, a south-facing balcony or terrace is best, and the plant is also quite insensitive to heat and wind. Lilacs can often be cultivated in the light penumbra, as long as they receive direct sun there for more than four hours a day. For more shady locations, however, there are more suitable shrubs.


Choose a well drained, sandy substrate such as a mixture of potting compost, sand and clay pebbles.(£15.00) Good drainage is extremely important to avoid waterlogging.

watering and fertilizing

The substrate should always be kept slightly moist (but not wet!), especially immediately after planting, during budding and flowering. Water moderately and do not let the pot dry out completely. Fertilize every two weeks between April and September with a low-nitrogen, liquid container plant fertilizer.

cut lilac

Lilacs are always cut after flowering, avoiding radical pruning.


Since lilacs are hardy, you can also overwinter them outside as a container plant. But then you should wrap the pot with a protective fleece and place it on a piece of wood or polystyrene.

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