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Fragrant LilacSyringa vulgaris

  • Fragrant Lilac - Syringa vulgaris
  • Fragrant Lilac - Syringa vulgaris
  • Fragrant Lilac - Syringa vulgaris
Spectacular flowers in shades of lilac, light purple, or lavender make this old-time lilac a garden favorite. The long-lasting flower clusters bloom in April or May and are framed with lush green foliage. Their nostalgic fragrance adds to the "coming of spring."

The lilac is an extremely hardy shrub and can be used as an individual specimen plant, informal hedge, shrub border, windbreak or screen.

Hardiness Zones

The fragrant lilac can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 3–7. View Map

Tree Type

Mature Size

The fragrant lilac grows to a height of 8–15' and a spread of 6–12' at maturity.

Growth Speed Medium Growth Rate

This shrub grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13–24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun and partial shade are best for this shrub, meaning it prefers a minimum of 4 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The fragrant lilac grows well in acidic, alkaline, moist, sandy and well-drained soils.


This shrub:
  • Produces very fragrant, light purple, ½" florets borne in 4–8" panicles usually in pairs on previous year's growth.
  • Blooms in April or May.
  • Features simple, ovate leaves that are dark green to bluish-green in color and 2–5" long.
  • Grows in a rounded shape.
  • Should be planted 3-4" apart for a hedge.
  • Will not tolerate hot, humid conditions.
  • Can be pruned into a single-stemmed or multi-stemmed tree.

Wildlife Value

Lilacs attract butterflies, provide caterpillar food and offer cover for birds and butterflies.


The common lilac is a native of southeastern Europe. Lilac is an old English word that has its roots in the Arabic word layak and the Persian word nilak, from nil meaning "blue." The genus name syringa means "tube" in Greek which refers to the individual flower shape. It has been cultivated since 1563. Hundreds of cultivars have been developed since that time. The French hybrids are cultivars of the common lilac. The "French" comes from Victor Lemoine, whose nursery in France produced a great many of these hybrids. Purple lilacs signify the first emotions of love while white lilacs symbolize modesty, purity and youth.