Lilacs are the beauties of east Europe and temperate Asia. The gorgeous blooms in clusters have attracted gardeners worldwide to place them in their gardens. But most of the time it has been a bit tricky to grow these in other regions due to climatic conditions and other adverse situations.
Turning green leaves into white is one of the major problems for lilac. And you will be happy to know, the problem can be fixed easily with the proper care. But before treating the plant, you must have to know the reasons behind it.
Scorch Damage, Fungal Diseases, Insect Attacks, Nutrient Deficiency, and Fertilizer Burn are the major causes of why your lilac leaves are turning white.
And In this article, I will discuss those causes briefly with the most appropriate solutions that work.
So, scroll down and dive into deep-
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5 Causes & Solutions of Lilac Leaves Turning White
1. Scorch Damage
Though lilacs grow in full sunlight, excessive exposure is never expected. Sun damage can destroy your plant pigments turning the leaves white. So, if your healthy leaves are turning white, this can be a reason behind this.
Actually, scorch damage varies from region to region. Lilacs grown in tropical to temperate region suffers the most. Your plant leaves can promote drying and shed off after this sort of damage.
As plants like lilacs are not easy to locate in a shady place because of their shape and growth, some important steps can save them from sunburn. Let’s take a closer look.
Mulching is an easy and effective way to prevent water loss due to heat damage. You can use leaf litters as it’s quite handy. This will save your plant leaves from turning white as well as drying up. Some fertilizers can also do the same.
You can also create some artificial shading. Use some fabric or tent cloth to cover the most exposed parts of your lilacs. Try this during the peak hours like the mid-day.
To prevent sun damage I can suggest you to choose a shady place for planting. Remember that, lilacs thrive for full sunlight, but not the extreme one. So, select the area wisely.
2. Fungal Attack
Here’s the most annoying one! Fungal infestation is quite common in plants like lilac. If you are wondering why my lilac leaves are turning white the most probable reason can be powdery mildew.
It’s a white powdery formation coating plant leaves. So, you can easily trace them.
This issue is prominent in mid-summer. Though powdery mildew may not kill your lilac, it will definitely weaken your plant. So, it’s quite important to treat this disease.
Now you might be thinking of how to get rid of powdery mildew on my lilacs. Well, it’s quite easy to combat. Let me show you how.
First of all, I will advise you to stop overhead watering immediately. This practice can easily spread the fungal spores to other plant parts.
Now you can jump to the other treatments. You may not need a strong fungicide at the early stage of infestation. Simply treat your lilacs with a neem oil-based one. You can use this- Garden Safe Home-pest-Control-sprayers.
If your plants have been suffering from a severe attack, you should go for a commercial fungicide formulated especially for ornamental plants (Our Pick: Bonide Copper Fungicide).
One more tip to add, reduce fertilizer usage to stop further spreading.
Last but not the least, keep pruning your infected plant parts as much as possible.
#Recipe 1: Neem Spray
- Neem Leaves
- Add neem leaves to water at a 1:2 ratio and boil for 15-20 minutes
- Let the concoction cool down
- Sieve the neem leaves and pour the liquid into a sprayer to apply.
#Recipe 2: Vinegar Spray
- 4 to 6 tablespoons of vinegar
- 2 liters of water
- Mix water and vinegar to make a solution
- Spray this mixture to the affected plant parts
Humidity and wet conditions are the main factors that can promote fungal diseases over time. So, try to skip such conditions as much as possible. Placement of your plant in a sunny condition may help in this issue.
Never encourage bushy growth. You can prune and train your lilacs. Try to provide proper air circulation through these practices.
If you want to knock out all these problems at once, I can suggest a hassle free option. Just go for a hybrid lilac variety. ‘Charles Joly’, ‘Sensation’, and ‘President Lincoln’ are marked as mostly disease resistant ones.
3. Insect Attack
Insects and pests are closely associated with fungal attacks and other diseases. Most of the time it’s seen that feeding of these pests is promoting diseases.
Pests like aphids, mealy bugs, and thrips are the most in lilacs. These insects suck up leaves cell sap leaving white marks behind. So, if you can’t find any insect in person, these marks can be a quick alarm for pest attacks on your plant.
Mealybugs are easily traceable. They cluster around the leaf node most of the time.
Controlling pests in plants depends on various factors. For easy understanding, I will try to explain by the different stages of infestation. So, let’s check some options.
At the early stage, try to adapt some management practices. Lessen the dose of fertilizer in your plant.
You can start with some insecticidal soaps or oils available in commercial formulation. These are mild and natural ways to get rid of pests. This treatment is effective for the primary stage of the attack.
If you feel you are still not being able to control it, maybe you need a chemical pesticide. Here is a suggestion for your lilac (our pick: Monterey organic Garden Insect Spray). This one will repel the harmful insects saving the beneficial ones.
#Recipe: Red Pepper Spray
- 3 tablespoons of red pepper powder
- 3 to 4 drops of liquid soap
- 2 liters of water
- Mix red pepper powder with water and keep this solution overnight
- Sieve this and add a few drops of liquid soap
- Pour this concoction into a spray bottle and apply it to your plant.
3. Nutrient Deficiency
Lack of nutrients like sulfur and nitrogen causes pale leaves in the plant. You might have noticed light green to whitish leaves in your lilac bush often. It’s a symptom of nutrient deficiency which is needed to be treated as soon as possible.
As nutrient deficiency is a quite severe issue, you need to handle your plants with proper care. Here is some of my recommendation for you.
If your soil contains sulfur less than 10 ppm, maybe it’s high time you should adopt some measures. A plant tissue analysis along with soil testing can help you to detect this.
You can easily trace nitrogen deficiency by an N-P-K soil testing kit. But if you don’t know what exact nutrients your lilac need, A balanced NPK fertilizer is the wise pick for your lilac. (Our Pick: Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Flowering Trees and Shrubs Continuous Release Plant Food)
#Recipe: Coffee Ground for Nitrogen Deficiency
- Used coffee ground
- Fresh water
- Wash your coffee grounds thoroughly
- Put them in your soil around plant roots
You can also use some manure if you want to stay away from fertilizers. But this may take a longer time to show results.
Just put some garden manure on the roots of your lilacs. Mix them well with plant soil before applying.
4. Fertilizer Burn
Fertilizer burns are a common issue for amateur gardeners. Excessive use and lack of proper management of fertilizers can lead to such problems.
Salt build up from these fertilizers restricts proper drainage and root growth. This affects the whole plant turning the leaves white gradually. Also, direct contact with such formulations can leave white spots on your lilac leaves.
Always pick a balanced fertilizer for your plant. It is a safe option. You can use the one I have recommended before.
Avoid the overhead application of fertilizers as much as possible. Focus on your plant roots and soil.
I have kept my promise. Here I have tried to put all the necessary information and treatment for your lilacs. It’s your turn now to pamper your lilacs.
Think a while about why the lilac bush leaves are turning white. Let me help you to sum up. Look for disease and pests, keep checking nutrient supplies and prune on time – just a few easy steps that can save your lilacs from turning white. It’s not that hard, right?
So, what are you waiting for? Keep going with all the care and keep growing your violet beauties. Don’t forget to share your ideas and experience with us.