Texas.girl
Cool Member
Posts: 73
Joined: Tue May 10, 2011 3:03 pm
Location: Western Edge of the Texas Hill Country

How much water do lilac's need?

I am trying to decide where to plant a couple of Old Fashioned Lilac's, which just arrived from the nursery. The decision will be made as to whether or not they will need to be watered by hand once established. I would like to plant them in a location far from my well, but only if they will survive on their own. I live in zone 8, TX, hot and dry here in the summer.

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

"Established" can be a tricky word when talking about plants. For some, it simply means "after their first year," but for others it can mean as long as three years.

Don't withhold water from your lilac if it appears to be undergoing stress.

I speak from experience here in the Bay Area with new gardeners and lavender plants. They want to grow lavender for the admirable qualities of the plant, including its drought tolerance. However, that drought tolerance is only active after the plant is "established."

Imagine the disappointment of these new gardeners when their lavender seedlings wither and die in the first summer (always rain-free except in very odd circumstances) here in northern California. "But it's drought tolerant!" they exclaim. :(

*sigh* "Yes, after it's established. Water it faithfully through its first summer and, sometimes, its second as well."

It sounds like a similar situation with the lilac in the Texas Hills Country.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

Texas.girl
Cool Member
Posts: 73
Joined: Tue May 10, 2011 3:03 pm
Location: Western Edge of the Texas Hill Country

Thanks for the input. Based on this information I decided to just plant the lilac's in pots. The idea of having to carry water 1/4 acre away from the faucet to water the plants for the rest of my life does not appeal to me. I knew I would have to water the plants at least through next years hot season to make sure they were established, but I had hoped a day would come I could just let nature take over and I could ignore them. So for now, the plants are in pots on either side of the steps to my front door.

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