Issue: February 7, 2004

Moving a lilac


I would like to propagate my lilac bush. I get poor blooms, so I am planning to move this fairly large bush. How can I do this? from NMSU/CAHE website


Your request for information was forwarded to me by our web site manager.

The lilac often propagates itself by producing shoots from the soil around the shrub. This is especially true of the common or French lilac. Persian lilac and dwarf (Korean) lilac are less obliging. In New Mexico, the Persian lilac and French lilac are most common, so there is a good chance you have one that has produced the sprouts.

These lilacs may be dug and moved now. The new sprouts have a much greater chance of growing than the large shrub when it is moved. To maximize success with moving either the smaller sprouts or the large shrub, prepare the soil well by rototilling and adding well-prepared compost. Do this in a large area as if you were preparing a flowerbed. Then dig the transplant with as large a root system as possible, and plant the lilac in the center of this prepared "flower bed".

Keep the soil slightly damp, watering as needed to maintain the moisture at a depth of about 3 inches. Mulch applied to the soil helps to conserve moisture and also reduces weed growth. While the shrub is dormant, this will require watering only once every two to four weeks (depending on wind, temperature, and mulch). As growth resumes and leaves are formed, watering will need to become more frequent (once a week the first year or two). After the plant has established, it can be watered once every two weeks or so during the growing season, and once a month during the dormant season.

Amaryllis not growing yet


Please help. My amaryllis leaves died, but I can see the green just above the bulb. The leaves have not started to grow after a month. What can I do to bring about the formation of new stalk from the bulb?


I am also waiting for the leaves and flowers to appear on my amaryllis. Once the temperature has warmed enough, growth should begin. It is important not to give it too much water, but do give it a little water to keep the soil slightly moist. The fact that green is still there means the bulb is probably still alive (unless it was over-watered and the roots and bulb have begun to rot). Warmth and moisture - that's all it is waiting for. If the bulb stored enough food last summer, it should be blooming fairly soon.

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Marisa Y. Thompson, PhD, is the Extension Horticulture Specialist, in the Department of Extension Plant Sciences at the New Mexico State University Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center, email:, office: 505-865-7340, ext. 113.


For more gardening information, visit the NMSU Extension Horticulture page at Desert Blooms and the NMSU Horticulture Publications page.

Send gardening questions to Southwest Yard and Garden - Attn: Dr. Marisa Thompson at, or at the Desert Blooms Facebook.

Please copy your County Extension Agent and indicate your county of residence when you submit your question!