Deadheading Lilacs

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I know that you do not need to deadhead a lilac but if asked to do so for aesthetic reasons, is it safe to do at any time without risk of removing next year's flower buds? I see some lilacs mid-summer have formed what looks like green seed pods or buds where the old flowers were but these are not next years flower buds, are they? I have been reading up on it and keep seeing not to do it or there could be reduced flowering the following season but I think that you could safely dead-head but not prune late summer. Am I right? Thank you!


Super Moderator
Staff member
Hi Olive!
Welcome to our forum!
For me, I like the seed cases!
They do add Fall and Winter interest.
But if you insist, you can safely remove just the stem bearing the seed cases.
This is easier on small shrubs, but can be quite daunting on large mature shrubs. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to