Different Types of Lilac Varieties: A Guide to Choosing the Right Lilac for Your Garden.


Lilacs, with their beautiful fragrance and vibrant colors, are a popular choice for many gardeners. There are several different varieties of lilacs, each with their own unique characteristics. One common variety is the common lilac (Syringa vulgaris), which is known for its large, showy blossoms in shades of purple, pink, and white. Another popular variety is the Japanese lilac (Syringa reticulata), which is smaller in size and produces yellow blossoms.

One of the most popular lilac varieties is the French hybrid lilac (Syringa vulgaris x S. laciniata), which was first submitted by Victor Lemoine in 1872. This variety is known for its strong fragrance and beautiful flower form. Another popular variety is the Miss Kim lilac (Syringa patula ‘Miss Kim’), which is a Korean lilac variety that blooms later in the season and has a more compact habit.

If you’re looking for a trouble-free lilac variety, the Descanso hybrid lilacs (Syringa × hyacinthiflora) are a great choice. These lilacs are disease-resistant and produce an abundant amount of flowers. The Peking lilac (Syringa pekinensis) is another trouble-free variety that is known for its strong fragrance and compact growth habit.

The Hiawatha lilac (Syringa vulgaris ‘Hiawatha’) is a specific variety of the common lilac that has pinkish-purple blossoms and a smaller size. This variety is a favorite among gardeners for its early blooming time and strong fragrance. Another smaller variety is the Meyer lilac (Syringa meyeri), which grows in bush form and produces multi-petaled blossoms.

If you’re planting lilacs in your home garden, it’s important to choose a variety that is well-suited to your specific climate and soil conditions. Lilacs prefer well-drained soil and full sun, so make sure to choose a location with good drainage. When planting lilacs, make sure to dig a hole that is wider than the root ball and plant the lilac at the same depth as it was in the container. Lilacs also benefit from regular fertilizing and pruning practices to promote abundant flowering.

In summary, there are many different lilac varieties to choose from, each with their own unique characteristics and blooming habits. Whether you prefer the classic beauty of the common lilac or the smaller size and abundant blooming of the Descanso hybrid lilacs, there is a lilac variety for every gardener’s taste. So go ahead and plant some lilacs in your garden and enjoy their beautiful flowers and delightful fragrance!


Lilacs are a type of flowering plant that have been cultivated for hundreds of years. With their beautiful foliage and strong fragrance, lilacs are a popular choice for gardens all around the world.

The most common and well-known lilac species is Syringa vulgaris, which typically grows up to half a meter tall. This species produces large clusters of purple-violet flowers, while some varieties can be pinkish or even white.

One of the most popular varieties of Syringa vulgaris is the ‘Madame Lemoine’, which has very double white flowers. The ‘Charles Joly’ variety, on the other hand, has wine-colored blooms.

In addition to Syringa vulgaris, there are also other lilac species such as the Chinese lilac (Syringa chinensis) and the Persian lilac (Syringa persica). These species have smaller flowers and are known for their trouble-free growth habits.

Syringa vulgaris

Syringa vulgaris, also known as the common lilac or French lilac, is native to Southeastern Europe and is the most commonly grown lilac species. It has heart-shaped leaves and typically grows in a compact, rounded shape.

The flowers of Syringa vulgaris are highly fragrant and come in a range of colors, including purple, lavender, white, and even yellow. The blooms are usually arranged in large clusters and can have different shades of color on the same plant.

One of the most popular varieties of Syringa vulgaris is the ‘Beauty of Moscow’, which has pinkish-white double flowers. Another well-known variety is the ‘Ludwig Spaeth’, which has dark purple blooms.

Syringa meyeri

Syringa meyeri, also known as Meyer lilac, is a smaller lilac bush that grows up to 1.5 meters tall. It has darker foliage and produces smaller clusters of flowers compared to Syringa vulgaris.

The flowers of Syringa meyeri tend to be fragrant and come in shades of purple, pink, and white. One popular variety is the ‘Palibin’, which has pale pink flowers and a more compact growth habit.

Overall, lilacs are a wonderful addition to any garden or home. Whether you choose a common lilac or a rare variety, their fragrant blooms and beautiful colors are sure to make a statement.

Syringa vulgaris the common lilac

Syringa vulgaris, commonly known as the common lilac, is a species of flowering plant in the olive family. It is native to the eastern temperate areas of Europe, particularly the Balkans, and it has been widely cultivated and naturalized in many parts of the world. The species is known for its beautiful purple-violet blossoms and dark green leaves, making it a favorite among gardeners.


The common lilac grows as a deciduous shrub or small tree, reaching a height of up to 7 meters. It has a compact form and dense foliage, making it an excellent choice for hedging or creating privacy screens in a garden. The leaves are opposite, ovate to lanceolate in shape, and slightly heart-shaped at the base. The flowers are borne in large, fragrant clusters and come in a range of colors, including purple, violet, white, and even yellow in some varieties.

Cultivation and Care

Syringa vulgaris is relatively easy to grow and maintain. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil, although it can tolerate some shade and a range of soil types. The plants should be watered regularly, particularly during flowering time, to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Pruning should be done immediately after flowering to maintain the shape and size of the bushes.

Common lilacs are known to be relatively pest and disease-resistant, although they can be susceptible to lilac borers. To prevent infestation, it is important to remove and destroy any affected branches. Additionally, suckers that emerge from the base of the plant should be promptly removed to maintain the desired shape and prevent the spread of disease.


There are many different varieties of Syringa vulgaris available, each with its own unique characteristics. Some of the popular cultivars include:

  • ‘Alba’: a white-flowering variety
  • ‘Beauty of Moscow’: pink flowers with a white border
  • ‘Charles Joly’: deep reddish-purple flowers
  • ‘President Grevy’: double lavender-blue flowers
  • ‘Sensation’: violet flowers with white edges

These are just a few examples, and there are many more to choose from. Each variety has its own specific growth habits, bloom time, and flower color, so gardeners should do some research before making a selection.

In summary, Syringa vulgaris, or the common lilac, is a beautiful and popular flowering plant. Its vibrant blooms and fragrant scent make it a favorite addition to gardens around the world. With proper care and maintenance, this species can provide years of enjoyment for gardeners of all levels of experience.

Syringa meyeri the Meyer lilac

The Syringa meyeri, also known as the Meyer lilac, is a popular variety of lilac that is grown and enjoyed by many gardeners. This compact and beautiful lilac is a hybrid of Syringa patula and Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’. It is widely grown for its stunning flowers and pleasant fragrance.

The Meyer lilac is a small to medium-sized shrub that typically reaches a height of 3 to 5 feet. It produces an abundance of fragrant flowers that are usually pink or purple-violet in color. The flowers are known to attract butterflies and bees, making it a great addition to any garden.

Growing and Care

The Meyer lilac is a resilient plant that can thrive in a variety of conditions. It is adaptable to different soil types but prefers well-draining soil. Good drainage is especially important to prevent root rot. It is also tolerant of drought conditions but performs better with regular watering.

When planting the Meyer lilac, it is recommended to choose a location with full sun exposure. This lilac variety can tolerate partial shade but blooms better in full sunlight.

Pruning is essential to maintain the shape and size of the Meyer lilac. It is best to prune immediately after flowering to stimulate new growth and ensure a more abundant bloom for the next season.

The Meyer lilac is resistant to common lilac pests, such as borers, and does not typically produce suckers, which can be a common issue with some lilac varieties.

Fragrance and Uses

The Meyer lilac is highly valued for its sweet fragrance, which is often described as a mix of wine and fruit. Its pleasant scent makes it a sought-after lilac variety for creating a beautiful and aromatic garden.

This lilac is widely used in landscapes and gardens, both as a single shrub or in groups. It can also be grown as a flowering hedge. Its compact size and beautiful blooms make it a popular choice for gardeners looking to add a splash of color and fragrance to their outdoor space.

The Meyer lilac is also used in hybridization to create new lilac varieties. Its traits, such as its compact size, beautiful bloom, and pleasant fragrance, are highly desired in new lilac cultivars.

In summary, the Syringa meyeri, or the Meyer lilac, is a beautiful and fragrant lilac variety that is widely grown and enjoyed by gardeners. Its compact size and stunning flowers make it a great choice for landscapes and gardens. Its pleasant fragrance and hybridization potential further contribute to its popularity among lilac enthusiasts.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.