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Pekin LilacSyringa pekinensis

  • Pekin Lilac bush - Syringa pekinensis
  • Pekin Lilac - Syringa pekinensis
  • Pekin Lilac - Syringa pekinensis

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 Pekin lilac is an extremely hardy shrub and can be used as specimen, in a border, in a container or above-ground planter, near a deck or patio, as a street tree, in a sidewalk cutout, in a parking lot island, as a buffer strip or along a highway.

Hardiness Zones

The pekin lilac can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 4–7. View Map

Tree Type

This shrub is considered both a flowering shrub and an ornamental shrub. It is typically planted for both its visual interest and profusion of spring flowers.

Mature Size

The Pekin lilac grows to a height of 15–20' and a spread of around 15' 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 Pekin lilac adapts to a wide variety of soil textures, slightly alkaline to acidic. It will also tolerate moderate drought.


This shrub:
  • Produces small creamy white flowers in 3–6" panicles that give off an aroma similar to honey or privet.
  • Blooms in late spring or early summer.
  • Is probably the most pest-resistant lilac.
  • Tolerates urban conditions
  • Features simple, ovate to ovate-lanceolate leaves that are dark green in color and 2–4" long.
  • Develops handsome reddish-brown bark.
  • Grows in an irregular shape that is upright, arching, loose and open.
  • Needs a cold-weather dormancy period to flower.
  • Can be pruned into a single-stemmed tree.

Wildlife Value

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


A native of northern China, it is also known as the Chinese lilac. There are 24 species of lilacs, two come from Europe and others from Asia. The oldest living lilacs in North America are believed to have been planted at the Governor Wentworth estate in Portsmouth, NH, around 1750.