There’s no surer sign that spring is here than a blooming lilac tree (Syringa species).
Their colorful clusters of flowers and magnificent fragrance make the lilac tree a favorite shrub among arborists, gardeners, and non-gardeners alike.
There are over 20 species of lilac tree and more than 1,000 varieties. Blossoms appear for almost 2 weeks, primarily during May, and come in 7 different colors. Even after the blooms are gone, the green, heart-shaped leaves add depth and character to the landscape.
Lilac trees are hardy, medium to large shrubs that are easy to grow and can last for hundreds of years. Most common lilac varieties prefer direct sunlight and neutral soil with good drainage.
Here are some of our tree service specialists’ favorite lilac tree varieties:
Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris). A beloved classic. The common lilac ranges in height from seven to 15 feet with a spread of leggy branches 6 to 12 feet, forming an asymmetrical crown. Flowers are purple to white and very fragrant. It works well in a shrub border or as a screening plant.
Persian Lilac (Syringa persica). This variety is smaller (4 to 8 foot high and 5 to 10 foot spread) and dense, and has been cultivated since time immemorial. Its elegant arching branches have abundant panicles of lavender flowers, making it a lovely addition to a small garden or border.
French Lilac (Syringa vulgaris). If you’re looking for a unique and dramatic lilac tree, consider the ‘Sensation lilac’ (a/k/a French lilac), ranging 10 feet high and 6 feet wide. Blooms are deep purple with a bright white edging. They produce a wonderful perfume and a spectacular display.
Miss Kim Lilac (Syringa patula). This variety is a hardy compact shrub (5 feet high by 5 feet wide) from Korea whose purple buds turn into lavender blooms when most other varieties have ended. Miss Kim lilacs add exceptional deep red fall color to the landscape.
Japanese Lilac (Syringa reticulata). This is a very interesting small ornamental tree with white, showy flowers in the spring and tan fruit in the fall and winter. It also has a distinctive dark bark with white lenticels
You can extend your display of lilac tree flowers for as much as 6 weeks by planting different lilac tree varieties
If you’d like to establish lilac tree varieties in your landscape, our consulting arborists can help you purchase and plant new lilac trees. For a complimentary consultation with a certified arborist, contact the location nearest you.
Pruning is an essential part of lilac care. The key is to prune them after flowering, since next year’s flowers are produced in the summer. Older, leggy stalks can be cut to the bottom of the plant, while younger shoots should be cut back by approximately half, to where the branches are joined together.
Powdery mildew is the most common tree disease to inflict lilac trees. This fungal infection slows the growth of plants, and in some cases may even kill them. Look out for for a white, flour-like substance on your lilac’s leaves. If you do have powdery mildew, remove all infected parts of the plant and apply a fungicide.
Other problem pests that you should ask your tree service expert about include lilac borer, lilac leafminer, and scale.
Set up a free consult with a fully trained and certified arborists. Click here to contact the office nearest you.
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Andra S., Horticulturalist
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April and Jim B.
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J. Todd Lamm
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