Planting lilac bushes in the summer


Hi, I read that it is best to plant lilacs in the spring or fall, it is now mid June and I have 4 lilac bushes in planters. I’m wondering if I should keep the lilacs I just bought in their planters until September to plant into the ground or do it now? Thanks!


Thank-you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners with your question.

Early spring and early fall are the recommended times for shrub planting. Both seasons tend to have the mild temperatures that make easier for the plant to re-establish itself in its new location before a more difficult season arrives. As well, it is best to transplant these shrubs when they are going into or coming out of dormancy, rather than in a period of growth. The idea is to focus the plant’s energy on root growth rather than vegetal growth. Given that is is a bit late in the season for the spring planting, fall is your best option. The risk in the Toronto area is that the plants may not have established a strong enough root system to get through our harsh winters. As long as you are available to ensure the shrubs are watered, mid-August planting should ensure that there time for the roots to grow before winter sets in.

Please take a look at the following links to information on planting lilacs. When choosing your planting site, do ensure that there is at least 6 hours of direct sun each day. Sufficient planting space and excellent drainage are also prerequisites for healthy lilacs with plenty of flowers.

The first link is to another post on the Toronto Master Gardeners website:

The resource below includes some more general information:

Good luck, and enjoy your lilacs!