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Like so many shrubs that can sprout again and again from their roots, the lilac can also become very old. In numerous gardens there are specimens that have been around for many decades and still sprout and bloom beautifully every year. In some parks there are even lilac trees that date back to the 19th century, when the flowering shrub became really popular through new breeds.

Lilacs can live up to 60 years

What makes a lilac grow old

An age of 50 or 60 years is not uncommon for a lilac tree, but centuries-old lilac trees are. After all, there are many things that can eventually bring down the actually robust wood. Above all, there are fungal infections to which lilacs are very susceptible, or the common lilac disease caused by a bacterium. In addition, the lifespan depends not only on the health of the lilac, but above all on its location and the care given to it.

location and soil

Plant the lilac in as full sun as possible, airy location with permeable, rather dry and sandy soil. Compacted soils, such as those that are typical immediately after building a house due to the use of heavy construction machinery, as well as heavy clay soils do not suit the lilac and should be improved.


Not only the right location, but also the right care has an influence on the lifespan of the lilac. Specifically, this means:

  • Lilacs should be dry rather than moist.
  • Waterlogging leads to root rot and premature death.
  • The shrub should still be watered during long dry periods, especially a. when he is young.
  • For lilacs planted out, one or two compost applications per year are sufficient.
  • An airy location with sufficient planting distance keeps vermin and pathogens away.
  • Respond quickly when signs of illness appear.
  • Prevention is even better: regular spraying with field horsetail decoction from the point at which they sprout protects very well against fungal infection.

To cut

If you want the lilac to live as long as possible, you must not cut it back too much. It makes sense to clean the shrub every year after flowering and to remove over-aged shoots. A thinning cut also ensures continuous rejuvenation.


On the other hand, if your lilacs are very old and dying, you may be able to - but it doesn't always work! - save with a radical cut. However, you can only do this in winter.

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