All of the lilac bushes I've ever grown have been in the sun. I assumed that was important for their survival.

When cleaning up the yard yesterday in preparation for spring planting, I found a lilac in an area that gets very little, if any, sun, especially on a regular basis. It's under large branches from a pine tree, and has some shade-loving plants and ground cover around the base.

The bush is healthy, and beginning to show buds, so obviously it's thriving. We don't need or want it in that spot though, as we can't see and enjoy it. Can I transplant it to a sunny area near our others, or does it need to be in the shade? Is it an anomaly, or are there shade-growing lilac varieties of which I was unaware?

  • Not an answer, but unless it's a grafted variety, you can use a spade and dig out a few of the new stalks coming up from the roots. Might be easier than transplanting a grown bush.
    – Stephie
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 18:28
  • a picture would help, the different species grow differently...some sucker like crazy some don't
    – kevinskio
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 22:33
  • How big is the lilac?
    – J. Musser
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 5:25
  • 1
    @J. Musser, kevinsky, Stephie. I haven't posted pictures because upon further inspection, I found that it's one of seven lilacs, each an inch around or bigger, the tallest being six feet. It's set apart, but the roots are likely close enough that getting one out wouldn't be easy. If I add new info, post pix and ask for advice as to which stalk or sucker to use, does that change the nature of the question? Thanks! Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 22:38

1 Answer 1


No, doesn't need to be in shade - lilac does prefer full sun, but that doesn't mean it won't cope with any shade. It may be getting more sun than you're aware of, but whether you can move it successfully or not is dependent on how long its been there - if you don't know that, then it depends how big it is, and whether its a dwarf variety. If it's been in that position for longer than three years, it will have a significant root spread, particularly if it's not a dwarf variety, but it might also be difficult to tell the difference between its roots and those of the tree growing behind. If it's showing flower buds, moving it now means they will probably abort, unfortunately. It's down to how keen you are to remove it from where it's currently growing whether you risk it or not.

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