Sunday, March 02, 2014

Creating a Bouquet Lilac Bush. 3.2.14

Three of the freshly grafted lilacs.

First steps of Bouguet Lilac.   First graft onto original sucker.
Bouguet Lilac.  Fall of 1st year & Spring of year 2.
 Here is my thought about how to develop a Bouquet lilac.

Step 1.  Spring of year 1.  Graft first new variety onto suckers of a parent lilac bush.  Leave in place at least first Spring and Summer, so the new plant can draw nutrients from the parent bush.

Step 2.  Fall of year 1.  The connecting stolon can be severed and the new little bush planted in a garden bed.

Step 3.  Spring of year 2.  Lilacs have buds in pairs.  Assuming the first 2 pairs of buds made adequate stems, graft new varieties on to each of the new stems.  Graft them above the first 2 pairs of buds, which will be allowed to grow.

If a bud or 2 grew from the rootstock, which itself is a nice lilac, then allow that to grow as well.  At this point, if all grafts take and all varieties grow, there would be 4 varieties.

Step 4.  Spring of year 3.  Additional varieties can be grafted.  I depicted grafts onto the new grafts from Step 3.  It depends on whether the grafts take, and which is the most vigorous. 

I think, if the new shrub produces suckers, those would need to be removed.  If not, the original rootstock variety may take over with more vigor, and overtake the grafted varieties.

I don't know if this will work.  It will be an interesting project to work on.  It takes a certain amount of confidence in the future, to plan a 3-year grafting project.  Then again, so does growing almost any tree or shrub.

This also assumes that my grafts take.  I've read that lilacs can be grafted.  I don't know if my technique will be good enough.
Bouquet Lilac.  Spring of year #3

The big lilac bush is an "OK" variety.  Not very fragrant, and not as lavish as some.  It must be pretty rugged, to have survived here and grown as large as it is.


  1. Anonymous9:56 AM

    Good morning! It's your Ridgefield neighbor here. I'm fascinated by this post about lilac grafting! Have you yet visited the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens in Woodland? Hubby and i purchased a few baby bushes from there, and all are doing fairly well. Let me know if you want a sucker!

    Meanwhile, i hope all is well in your world.



    PS: Our bees should arrive soon! Hubby and i had better get those hives set up so we have a place to put them! :)

  2. Barbara, thank you!

    I've been to the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens a few times. Some of our lilacs came from there. We must have a dozen or more varieties. Some were bought as blooming size shrubs, some as bare root, some as tissue culture starts only a couple inches big. Most are blooming size now.

    I wanted to add some to the Battleground place. The ones that made suckers supplied some starts. Meanwhile, there are the ones that have not made any suckers, which is why I decided to try grafting them.

    I'll update as they grow. I'm not so good about updating failures.

    If these succeed, I have lots of others to try!

    There is a saying, "Give a man a hammer, and he starts looking for nails". I'm sort of that way about gardening techniques. Now that I know how to graft, I continue searching for new things to graft. I'm the same way about other propagation techniques. Plants are amazing, at what they can do.

  3. Update: None of my lilac grafts have taken. I was not able to get Lilac whip and tongue, or T-buds, to take. So, no bouguet tree.