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Syringa vulgaris

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
si-RING-gah vul-GAIR-iss
Description

Fragrant, spring-flowering upright multi-stemmed shrub or small tree in the olive (Oleaceae) family.  There are hundreds of cultivars available including single and double flowers of various colors including white, cream, rose, magenta, pinkish-purple, lavender, and purple.   Most plants are grafted so remove any suckers that develop from rootstock to maintain the appearance and prevent unwanted spread.  This plant grows rapidly to fill its space.  It makes excellent cut flowers.  It tolerates clay soils.  After it is spectacular mid to late spring bloom, the shrub is of little interest in the landscape with its leggy branches and leaves that are susceptible to powdery mildew.  Plan accordingly to have other plants at peak interest during other times of the year. Blooms in early to mid-spring; late frost will sometimes kill the buds, so best sited in a protected location; pungently sweet fragrance (can be overpowering to asthmatics!); used in shrub borders or in groupings; common lilac is hardy zones 3 to 7 and usually will not do well in the southern extreme (7b).

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Insect pests include scales, borers, leaf miners, thrips, and caterpillars. Powdery mildew can seriously affect the appearance of the foliage in the summer but does little permanent damage to the shrub. Prune the center of the plant the help with the airflow.  Plant cultivars that are resistant to powdery mildew. Additional disease problems including blights, leaf spots, wilts, ringspot virus, and honey fungus. 

The edible flowers vary widely in flavor from flavorless to green and herbaceous to lilac

Quick ID

  • Salverform, 4-petaled flower in a panicle of cymes
  • Opposite leaves appear cordate, but base truncate
  • Upright leggy, top-heavy deciduous shrub

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Agincourt Beauty'
  • 'Ludwig Spaeth'
  • 'Sensation'
Tags:
#fragrant#hummingbirds#butterflies#deciduous#wildlife plant#cut flowers#clay soil#cpp#deer resistant#pollinator plant#fantz
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Agincourt Beauty'
  • 'Ludwig Spaeth'
  • 'Sensation'
Tags:
#fragrant#hummingbirds#butterflies#deciduous#wildlife plant#cut flowers#clay soil#cpp#deer resistant#pollinator plant#fantz
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Syringa
    Species:
    vulgaris
    Family:
    Oleaceae
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies
    Dimensions:
    Height: 5 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 12 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Ascending
    Erect
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Fruit is a smooth, dehiscent capsule.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Cream/Tan
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Good Cut
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Inflorescence is a panicle of cymes, conical, usually in pairs, terminal, to 8 in. Flowers are numerous, lilac, blue, mauve, lavender, white, pink, fragrant; corolla salverform to 10 mm, waxy, small, 4-lobed; tube with 2 stamens inserted on tube.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are heart-shaped, opposite, usually simple, and cordate. They are acuminate, truncate, entire, dark green, and glabrous.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Angular
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Stems are stout, angled, 4-sided on newer stems, lustrous brown, glabrous, raised lenticels.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Attracts:
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer