Lilac Seed Propagation: Harvesting And Growing Lilac Seeds

Lilac Seeds
lilac seed pods
(Image credit: skhoward)

Lilac bushes (Syringa vulgaris) are low-maintenance shrubs prized for their fragrant purple, pink, or white blossoms. These shrubs or small trees thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, depending on the variety. Read on for information about how to harvest lilac seeds and lilac seed propagation.

Do Lilac Bushes Have Berries?

If you ask, “Do lilac bushes have berries?” the answer is no. Lilac bushes do not produce berries. However, they do produce seeds.

Growing Lilac Seeds

Lilacs produce seeds in seed heads. Lilac bushes can be propagated from those seeds. The seed heads form after the flowers finish blooming. They are brown, large, and not very ornamental. You will not get seed heads the first year you plant your lilacs, nor, probably, the second. The lilac bushes do not bloom immediately after they are established. It usually takes at least three years before you get blooms on your lilacs. Once your lilac bush starts flowering, your plant will start producing lilac seed pods that, in turn, start growing lilac seeds. If you are thinking of growing these bushes from lilac seed propagation, you will have to wait until your bush produces seed pods.

How to Harvest Lilac Seeds

If you want to grow additional lilac plants, collecting and storing seeds is an efficient and inexpensive alternative. First, you have to learn how to harvest lilac seeds. If you want to plant seeds, your best bet is to handpick seeds from the best lilac blooms. Selecting lilac seed pods from the most attractive flowers ensures healthier and more beautiful plants. Lilac bushes generally bloom in springtime for several weeks. Once the flowers are wilted, the lilacs produce clusters of brown, nut-like fruit. This fruit also dries in time and splits open to reveal the lilac seed pods within. The basic procedure for how to harvest lilac seeds is simple. You pull seeds from the dried lilac seed pods after the flower blooms have dried on the bush. You can store the seeds until you are ready to plant them.

Lilac Seed Propagation

The lilac seeds sprout quickly, but before you rely too heavily on lilac seed propagation, check and see if your lilac is a hybrid. Plants grown from hybrid seeds rarely grow true to the parent plant. Since most lilacs are hybrids, lilac seed propagation can often be disappointing. If this is the case, perhaps growing lilac cuttings would prove more effective.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.