What To Do When Lilac Flowers Turn Brown?


Not all flowers will simply fall off their stems when they’re done blooming. Instead, old lilac flowers will turn brown as the seeds begin to form. While this can be a natural and beautiful part of the flower’s life cycle, many gardeners want their shrubs to look neat and tidy. Thus, it’s important to know what to do when lilac flowers turn brown—deadhead them.

What is Deadheading?

Deadheading is the process of removing spent flowers from a plant. This encourages healthy new growth and helps the plant focus its energy on creating more blooms rather than making seeds. It’s also an important part of keeping your garden looking neat and tidy.

Why Deadhead Lilac Flowers?

The main reason why you should deadhead lilac flowers is because it helps encourage new growth in your shrub. The removal of old flowers prevents the plant from expending its energy on making seed pods, which can lead to new buds and blossoms forming in their place. This can help your shrub look fuller and healthier overall.

When to Deadhead Lilacs?

Ideally, you should deadhead your lilac flowers just before they begin to set seed pods. This is typically around late spring or early summer, depending on where you live and how warm it gets in your area. If you wait too long, the flower may have already gone into seed production mode and won’t produce any more blooms this season.

How To Deadhead Lilacs?

Deadheading your lilac flowers is quite simple and straightforward—all you need is a pair of sharp pruning shears or scissors. Start by taking off any wilted or brown flower heads from the stems, removing them as close as possible to the base of each flower bud without damaging any other parts of the shrub. It’s also important not to prune too far into the woody growth as this can damage the plant’s overall health and hinder future flowering potential.

Benefits of Deadheading Lilacs

Deadheading offers many benefits for your lilac shrub: it encourages healthy new growth, prevents the plant from expending energy on producing seeds, helps keep your garden looking neat and tidy, and increases flowering potential for next season! So don’t forget to deadhead those old blooms before they set seed pods—it will do wonders for your garden!

Tips For Deadheading Lilacs

Here are some tips for deadheading lilacs: use sharp pruning shears or scissors, remove only wilted or brown flower heads, don’t prune too far into the woody growth, wear protective clothing such as gloves, aim to do it before the plants go into seed production mode, keep an eye out for pests such as aphids (they tend to congregate around wilted flower heads).

Mistakes To Avoid When Deadheading Lilacs

While deadheading may seem like a simple task, there are some common mistakes that could potentially harm your plants if done incorrectly: using dull tools—this could cause damage to both stems and leaves, pruning too much—don’t take off more than necessary, neglecting pest control—keep an eye out for aphids or other insects that could be hiding in or around wilted flower heads, waiting too long—if you let them go into seed production mode, then there won’t be any more blooms this season!

Alternatives To Deadheading Lilacs

If you don’t want to go through all that effort of deadheading every single bloom on your lilac shrub, then there are some alternatives that may be worth considering: cutting back large branches instead of individual blooms, planting annuals (such as pansies) near the base of your shrub which will help distract from any wilting blooms, harnessing natural predators such as ladybugs which will eat pesky pests like aphids (which often congregate around dying flowers).


In conclusion, when lilac flowers turn brown it’s important to know what steps need to be taken in order for them not only look nice but also encourage healthy new growth in your shrub. The process of deadheading is quite simple—just use sharp pruning shears or scissors, remove only wilted or brown flower heads close to their base without damaging other parts of the shrub, and do it before they go into seed production mode!

However, if you don’t feel like going through all that effort then there are some alternatives such as cutting back large branches or planting annuals near the base which can also help keep your garden looking neat and tidy while providing other benefits at the same time!

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