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Peking Lilac Syringa reticulata subsp. pekinensis

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Syringa pekinensis
Phonetic Spelling
si-RING-gah reh-tick-yoo-LAY-tuh pee-keen-EN-sis
Description

Peking lilac differs from the closely related Japanese tree lilac (Syringa reticulata subsp. reticulata)  by its finer texture (due to smaller leaves and stems), smaller flowers, and its variable colorful bark, which exfoliates in thin flakes or sheets. It is also more heat-tolerant (and less cold hardy) than Japanese tree lilac. It blooms late May into June, and like all lilacs, needs a cold-weather dormancy period to flower.

This plant is upright arching, loose and open. It prefers loose, well-drained, slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil, and should be planted in full sun for best flowering and disease resistance. Although it is naturally multi-stemmed, it can be trained to a single trunk with regular pruning to remove the drooping lower branches.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Minimal susceptibility to blights, leaf spot, wilt and ring spot virus.  Occasional issues with caterpillars and leaf miner.  

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Beijing Gold'
    Creamy-yellow flowers, cinnamon-colored bark, yellow-gold fall color.
  • 'Summer Charm'
    Rounded form, finer foliage texture
  • 'Yellow Fragrance'
    Fragrant, pale yellow flowers in summer.
'Beijing Gold', 'Summer Charm', 'Yellow Fragrance'
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#small tree#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#interesting bark#white flowers#yellow flowers#salt tolerant#winter interest#upright#moist soil#disease resistant#well-drained soil#multistemmed#large shrub#summer flowers#deer resistant#creamy white#rounded#alkaline soil tolerant#mildew resistant#exfoliating bark#dry soils tolerant#oval#butterfly friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Beijing Gold'
    Creamy-yellow flowers, cinnamon-colored bark, yellow-gold fall color.
  • 'Summer Charm'
    Rounded form, finer foliage texture
  • 'Yellow Fragrance'
    Fragrant, pale yellow flowers in summer.
'Beijing Gold', 'Summer Charm', 'Yellow Fragrance'
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#small tree#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#interesting bark#white flowers#yellow flowers#salt tolerant#winter interest#upright#moist soil#disease resistant#well-drained soil#multistemmed#large shrub#summer flowers#deer resistant#creamy white#rounded#alkaline soil tolerant#mildew resistant#exfoliating bark#dry soils tolerant#oval#butterfly friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Syringa
    Species:
    reticulata
    Family:
    Oleaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Grafting
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North & Central China
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, provides shelter for songbirds.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Fragrance
    Shade
    Wildlife Nesting
    Dimensions:
    Height: 15 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Irregular
    Multi-stemmed
    Open
    Oval
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3b, 3a, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    oblong, acute, 1.3-2.5 cm long
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Cross
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Yellowish-white flower on 3-6" panicles, fragrance is closer to privent than common lilac.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Insignificant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    2-4" ovate to ovate-lanceolate, dark green above and grayish-green below. Fall color is insignificant (yellowish-green)
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Bark Description:
    Cinnamon/amber-colored bark is smooth with prominent horizontal lenticels, may exfoliate in brown flakes or sheets.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Subsp. pekinensis grows in an open, multi-stemmed form.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Flowering Tree
    Hedge
    Shade Tree
    Specimen
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Dry Soil
    Salt
    Urban Conditions