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Congo lilac (pictured) is one of the early flowering varieties. Used to form alleys in parks, looks good in compositions with other trees and shrubs. The culture is self-sufficient as a tapeworm. A description of the Congo lilac with a photo will help you get to know the variety in more detail, learn about its advantages and disadvantages, breeding methods and other nuances of agricultural technology.
Description of lilac Congo
According to the description, common lilac Congo belongs to tall varieties, its length is 3-4 m. The crown of the seedling is thick and dense, round in shape. The foliage is glossy, green, presented in the form of a heart.
The shrub of the Congo variety is photophilous, but tolerates moderate partial shade. In the shade, it loses its decorative effect, ceases to bloom. The plant prefers moderately moist soils, grows well on fertile lands and loams.
How the Congo lilac blooms
Congo lilac variety - early flowering. Dark purple buds bloom in early May. The flowers are bright, purple-purple, fade in the sun and change their shade, becoming light purple. The smell of the buds is sharp, characteristic of lilac shrubs. The petals of the flowers are broadly oval; after blooming, they become flat. The flowers are collected in dense, wide-pyramidal inflorescences, the length of which reaches 20 cm.The diameter of the flowers does not exceed 2.5 cm.
There are several breeding methods for the Congo lilac variety. At home, a shrub is not bred with seeds; vegetative methods are more suitable for these purposes:
For planting on the site, you can purchase grafted or self-rooted shrubs. The advantage of the latter is that they are less demanding on growing conditions, tolerate winter better and recover faster after freezing, and can also be used in the future for vegetative propagation. In addition, the lifespan of self-rooted lilacs is much longer than that of grafted seedlings.
Planting and leaving
A correctly chosen planting site is a guarantee that the Congo lilac will bloom and delight with its decorative effect for many years.
In Central Russia, the best time for planting is the last decade of August and the whole of September. This time for lilacs is considered a state of rest, and before the onset of frost there is still time for rooting.
Lilacs can be planted in early spring, but in this case there is a risk of damage to the shoots by recurrent frosts.
If a seedling is purchased from a nursery and has a closed root system, then it can be planted at any suitable time from April to October.
Site selection and soil preparation
For planting Congo lilacs, sunny areas with fertile soils are chosen. The optimal conditions for the lilac of the Congo are:
- a site located on a plain or gentle slope;
- fertile soil with good drainage;
- the occurrence of groundwater at a level of 1.5 m;
- neutral soil acidity;
- good lighting;
- wind protection.
Pre-prepare the seat, remove weeds. Standard pit sizes are 50 cm in diameter and 60-70 cm deep. The dimensions of the pit depend on the condition of the soil and the development of the root system. The older the seedling, the larger the hole it needs.
How to plant correctly
A drainage layer is poured into the pit at the bottom, which is used as gravel, small stones, broken bricks. The next layer is a nutritious soil mixture. To prepare it, you will need to mix humus or compost with earth (in equal parts).
The earth is poured into a hole in the form of a hill. The prepared seedling is placed vertically, the roots are spread over the filled soil. They fill the hole with the remaining soil mixture, carefully tamping each layer.
Important! The root collar in self-rooted specimens is left at the soil level, in grafted specimens it is 3-4 cm higher, this helps to reduce the formation of root shoots.
Cultivation of lilac Congo
In order for the Congo lilac bushes to please with abundant flowering every year, some rules must be followed. Watering and feeding is important for the plant, mulching plays an important role, as well as timely pruning.
If the Congo lilac shrub was planted in the spring, it should be moistened regularly, especially when hot dry weather is established. You cannot overdo it with watering so that the roots do not rot from excess moisture. After watering, the soil in the near-trunk soil is loosened.
If there is no rain in the autumn, the Congo seedling is watered several times. Usually the shrub has enough seasonal rainfall.
Adult shrubs are watered as needed. In dry times, the amount of watering is increased; if the weather is rainy, then additional moisture is not required.
Congo lilacs will bloom more profusely if the application of fertilizing is properly distributed. The first two years, the seedling requires a minimum of fertilizer. In the spring, you can apply a small amount of nitrogen under the bush. In the third year, you can use urea (50 g) or ammonium nitrate (70 g). For those who appreciate naturalness, we recommend using organic fertilizers - manure diluted in water (5: 1). For irrigation with liquid manure, a shallow trench is dug around the seat at a distance of at least 50 cm from the trunk. A nutrient solution is poured into the resulting moat.
Every three years, the plant is fertilized with a potassium-phosphorus composition. Each bush will require:
- 40 g superphosphate;
- 30 g of potassium nitrate.
Fertilizers are applied to the ground, deepening by 7-10 cm, then the Congo lilac is watered.
Wood ash can be used as fertilizer. To do this, 300 g of powder is required for 1 bucket of water.
The mulching procedure helps to solve several problems at once. Moisture does not evaporate very quickly under the mulch layer, so the amount of watering can be reduced. In addition, mulch inhibits the growth of weeds and also becomes a source of fertilizer. The mulching substrate insulates the roots of the plant, so it is very important to renew the layer in the fall. The mulching procedure is carried out twice: in autumn and spring.
Congo lilac bushes need periodic pruning. There are several variations of this operation:
- regulating flowering. It is necessary to cut off the blossoming inflorescences. If you are late with the procedure, wilting flowers will draw out the juices of the plant, which will negatively affect its appearance;
- pinching involves shortening the tips of too long healthy branches. This procedure stimulates the formation of stronger lateral shoots, which makes the Congo lilac bush dense and beautiful;
- sanitary branch removal (thinning) is necessary for broken and diseased shoots. They are removed with pruning shears, after the procedure, the bush looks refreshed. In addition, thinning should be carried out when the bush is too thickened. If there are too many branches, they begin to grow inward, become thin and fragile, air exchange inside the crown is disrupted;
- overgrowth pruning is necessary if the bush has more than three main trunks. The overgrowth weakens the lilac bush, so it is cut off completely (at the root);
- a rejuvenating procedure is carried out for old lilac shrubs. The procedure stimulates the formation of young, strong shoots. After the rejuvenating procedure, the tree can bloom only next year.
Preparing for winter
Congo lilac is hardy (USDA zone 3), but winter preparation is essential. To prevent freezing of the root system of seedlings, the trunk circle is mulched. For shelter, organic materials are used: straw, sawdust, peat.
Mulching is carried out after the air temperature has dropped to -5 ºC. Young seedlings of the Congo variety additionally need a crown cover. If the branches freeze, the lilac may not bloom in the spring. The trunks are wrapped in burlap or special insulating material.
Warming depends on the region in which the lilac is grown. For example, in the conditions of Siberia, more serious preparation for the winter will be required. The layer of mulch should be increased to 20 cm, and the bush is covered with agrospan and insulated with spruce branches.
Attention! So that the lilac bushes of the Congo do not die from damping, the insulation is removed after a stable above-zero temperature has been established.
Adult lilac bushes are distinguished by good frost resistance, so no strapping of the trunk is required.
Diseases and pests
With proper care and a well-chosen place for planting, Congo lilacs practically do not get sick. With a decrease in plant immunity, the following diseases may develop:
- powdery mildew;
- bacterial necrosis;
- bacterial rot;
Disease prevention consists in regulating soil moisture, making additional fertilizing, carrying out sanitary pruning. Of the drugs, treatment with Bordeaux liquid is used.
Congo lilac bushes can be fond of insect pests: hawk moths, miner moths, mites, moths. Chemicals are used to combat them. The crown is treated with Fozalon or Karbofos, Fitoverm, copper sulfate.
Description of the Congo lilac with a photo will help you choose a seedling to decorate the site. This variety of lilacs is popular because differs in early flowering and unusual purple-lilac color of inflorescences.
Natalia Petrovna, 48 years old, Bataysk
I read the description and reviews of the lilac for a long time, looked at the photo and opted for the Congo variety. Bright inflorescences that appear in early spring delight with their beauty and aroma. The care of Congo seedlings is minimal, the plant is considered unpretentious. Timely watering and feeding allows you to achieve annual flowering.
Olga Mikhailovna, 55 years old, Taganrog
I have a hedge on the site of various varieties of lilacs. I recently acquired the Congo variety, but has already managed to enjoy flowering. The main thing in caring for a shrub is to cut off the inflorescences in a timely manner, then the lilac will bloom annually.