Just Getting Started
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Location: Cleveland

Do Lilac trees like partial sun and shade?

I have an area close to my back door that has 30% mid day sun and 70% shade that I would really like to plant a lilac Bush/Tree. Will it grow there? Is there a variety of lilac that would work there? I also have other areas that are mainly shaded. I like the smell of the lilac and would like to put more of them in my gardens, so what can I do?

Thanks,

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Tom Rohlfs

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Sun/shade

Sounds a little too shady to me (no pun intended). I had to transplant my lilac a few years ago - I had put it in a spot that didn't get enough sun. It had stopped blooming - now it's in a sunnier location (more like 60% sun) and it's much happier - blooming again. Good luck.

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Kisal
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I agree that the site sounds a little too shady for a lilac. Why not a nice camellia, rhododendron or azalea? They have lovely flowers and like shady spots. :)

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Shady Spot for Azalea

Kisal,

Now that you mentioned Azaleas as liking shade, I have 4 of them in various shadey spots and they all are not doing real well. Do you think that is because I live in Cleveland and the winters are so cold. What can I add to the soil to make the Azaleas do better?

I'm a real knucklehead on this stuff,

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Tom Rohlfs

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Kisal
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They like to be pruned, and they need acid soil. You should sprinkle some azalea/rhododendron food around them early each spring, very gently rake it in a bit (be careful, they have shallow roots), and if it isn't going to rain within a day or so, water the plant. Repeat this procedure after blooming is finished, but no later than mid-July.

Prune them immediately after they have finished flowering, or you'll be cutting off the buds that will become next year's flowers. Don't prune away more than 1/3 of the living branches, and remove all deadwood. If the plant is already the size you want it to be, then just clip a few stray ends here and there to keep the shape nice.

The do need some sun. In the wild here in Oregon, rhodies grow around the edges of the forest, just inside the tree line, and in little open areas among the trees. In those areas, they get the early morning and/or late afternoon sun. You won't find them growing in the dark depths of our rainforests or out in the middle of a meadow, just around the edges. Deer prune the wild rhodies. :)

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