Syringa or Lilac trees make wonderful ornamental features, with their delectably fragrant, conical shaped spring flowers available in a range of colours. Choose from pink, purple, yellow or white, not just lilac! These highly scented small trees or large bushes are perfect for a sensory garden and ideal when there is not a lot of space, so even small gardens can have that wow factor!
Is a Lilac a shrub or a tree? Well, it's makes a bush shape so many people would regard that as a shrub but it also ages into a gnarled small tree reaching about 20ft in 10-20 years. So, it's both really.
Syringa are ideal for the back of borders to bring good height to the scheme and wonderful partnered with others flowering at the same time - Laburnum, Hawthorn, or Ceanothus would be our favourites. Or you can remove the lower branches to creat a single stem tree, or carefully select just a few well-placed stems to grow on to create a beautifully balanced multi stemmed shrub. We also offer several varieties of dwarf Lilac shrub that are ideal for smaller spaces or towards the front of borders.
Syringa trees flower on old wood so the timing of pruning is important. Established plants need very little attention, but to encourage flowers on lower branches, you should cut out some of the tallest stems just after flowering (in mid-summer). As with all shrubs, dead or damages or diseased stems should be removed. On young plants, prune to create an open framework, removing crossing stems or shorten any whippy long stems.
Old, neglected, overgrown Lilac trees can withstand very hard pruning to restore them, but it does mean that there will be little to no flowering for a couple of years. Prune all stems to about one foot from ground level when the plant is fully dormant in mid-winter, but take care not to prune below the graft point. Then thin out new stems in the following dormant season leaving two or three shoots per stem.
The name Syringa is Latin for 'a tube'. This is thought to be in reference to the broad pith found in some species that the Ancient Greeks used to hollow out to make reed pipes or flutes. Vulgaris is the Latin for 'common'. The colour lilac gained its name from the shade of purple on many of the Syringa species, in particular, Syringa vulgaris. The term French Lilac refers to the modern double flower cultivars made famous by prolific breeder Victor Lemoine.
Lilac trees peaked in their appeal in the early 20th century, but have been cultivated in the UK since the 16th century. The French horticulturalists, the Lemoine family, bred over 200 cultivars - including our own Madame Lemoine variety. Lilac trees are so popular that many Lilac festivals are held throughout America. The longest running being in Rochester, New York since 1898. It is held at Highland Park and boasts the largest amount of Lilac tree varieties in one place, most having been developed there. Lilac flowers are also the state flower of New Hampshire.
Syringa trees are commonly used as a symbol of love. In Greece, Cyprus and Lebanon, Syringa represent Easter as they flower around that time.
A purple lilac tree with panicles of purple flowers bunched closely together, providing a wonderfully strong yet sweet fragrance from May-June, Lilac Charles Joly is a popular small garden tree. Syringa Charles Joly will grow to a large bush about 4 x 4 metres in 20 years and requires a well-drained soil in a sunny spot. The purple flowers of this Purple Lilac tree stand out well against the back-drop of mid-green, heart shaped foliage in spring and summer.
Accepting of alkaline soils, this Lilac tree is a wonderful choice for a nature or sensory garden, as it entices lots of wildlife such as bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects.
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AKA Syringa vulgaris Charles Joly, Syringa Charles Joly, purple lilac tree, Common purple lilac tree, purple lilac tree Charles Joly
The yellow spring buds of Syringa vulgaris 'Madame Lemoine' open to reveal panicles of closely clustered tiny white double flowers in May-June. The flowers give off a delightfully strong yet sweet fragrance and attract butterflies and bees. The white flowers stand out against the back-drop of mid green, heart shaped foliage.
Syringa vulgaris 'Madame Lemoine' requires a well-drained soil in a sunny spot but is tolerant of alkaline soils. Lilac Madame Lemoine was bred by the famous French horticultural family, the Lemoines, hence the name and has received the RHS Award of Garden Merit.
We offer this White Lilac as either a Lilac bush that will grow to around 4 x 4 metres in 20 years or a standard Lilac tree with a clear stem that makes a stunning feature. Click here to go to all Lilac trees and bushes.
AKA Common White Lilac tree, Lilac Madame Lemoine, Syringa 'Madame Lemoine'
Syringa meyeri 'Palibin' is a small Lilac shrub that produces a profusion of pretty lilac-pink flowers in May and June that emerge from darker pink buds. The flowers have a sweet fragrance and look wonderful against the green ovate leaves.
This popular dwarf Korean Lilac produces a neat, compact shape and requires little pruning to maintain this appearance. Growing to just 1-2 metres in 20 years, Lilac 'Palibin' is perfect for herbaceous borders, small spaces and patios. Preferring full sun, it will do well in most alkaline to neutral pH soils.
Syringa meyeri 'Palibin' is one of the most popular dwarf Lilacs and undoubtedly deserves it's RHS Award of Garden Merit. Please note due to the dwarf nature, the product sizes are similar but the 10L bush is more mature and fuller than the 5L. We also offer 'Palibin' as a top grafted patio tree.
AKA Syringa meyeri var. spontanea 'Palibin' , Lilac 'Palibin', Korean Lilac
Named for the fragrant panicles of pink flowers, Syringa 'Pink Perfume' is a delightful dwarf Lilac shrub. The colourful flowers have a pleasantly sweet perfume and make an appearance in spring-summer and often return in summer-autumn.
Syringa 'Pink Perfume' is a small Lilac shrub with a slightly upright habit and reaches 1.8m in height and 1.2m in spread after 20 years. It it a versatile choice, suited to pot growing, small gardens and sunny borders. Planted in full sun, 'Pink Perfume' will do well in most alkaline to neutral pH soils. It is easy to look after, only requiring a little pruning after flowering.
AKA Lilac 'Pink Perfume', Syringa Bloomerang Pink Perfume
A fantastic, popular large shrub or small garden tree, Primrose Lilac produces masses of strongly scented creamy yellow flowers in May-June. Mid to dark green, heart-shaped foliage makes an appealing foil for the large flowers in spring and summer, which attract all kinds of wildlife such as bees and butterflies.
Grown on well-drained soil in sun, this lilac tree, Syringa vulgaris Primrose will grow to 4 x 4 metres in 20 years. Tolerant of alkaline soils this Yellow Lilac tree is a wonderful choice for a nature or sensory garden.
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AKA Yellow lilac shrub, Syringa vulgaris Primrose
The name truly says it all with this Lilac, it is sensational. Syringa vulgaris 'Sensation' produces masses of highly fragrant, dark-purple flowers with a distinctive, unusual and striking white margin to each flower. The eye-catching flowers appear in May-June and are attractive to all sorts of wildlife, such as bees and butterflies.
Syringa vulgaris 'Sensation', commonly known as the Lilac Sensation tree, has pretty mid to dark green, heart shaped foliage that makes an attractive foil for the flowers. Lilac Sensation will grow into a large bush, reaching around 4 x 4 metres in 20 years. Tolerant of alkaline soils, it likes well-drained soil with a sunny aspect.
Lilac Sensation is a striking bush for both large and small gardens alike and adds a wonderful sensory experience. Click here to go to all Lilac trees and bushes.
AKA Sensation Lilac tree, Lilac Purple Sensation, Syringa 'Sensation'
Syringa vulgaris 'Souvenir de Louis Spaeth' is a lovely, large Lilac tree that can grow into a large bush that is 7 metres tall by 7 metres wide in 20 years. It produces a profusion of highly fragrant purple flowers that stand out well against the back-drop of mid-green, heart shaped foliage.
'Souvenir de Louis Spaeth' is a hardy deciduous tree that does well in full sun or partial shade. It prefers a well-drained soil with a neutral to alkaline acidity.
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AKA Syringa vulgaris 'Andenken an Ludwig Späth', 'Souvenir de Louis Spaeth' lilac tree, Purple lilac tree
A lovely lilac tree with pale purple through to lavender-blue double flowers in May-June that give off a delicious scent attracting bees and butterflies. The dark green, heart shaped foliage makes a lovely foil for its flowers and other plants. One of the more fragrant Lilac varieties, Katherine Havemeyer emits wonderful aromas throughout spring and summer.
Grown on well-drained soil in sun this attractive small garden tree or large shrub will grow to 4 x 4 metres in 20 years. Tolerant of alkaline soils this purple lilac tree is a wonderful choice for a nature or sensory garden. Syringa vulgaris Katherine Havemeyer has received the RHS Award of Garden Merit.
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AKA Purple lilac shrub, Syringa vulgaris Katherine Havemeyer, Katherine Haveymayer
Syringa vulgaris 'Belle de Nancy' is an attractive French Lilac with highly fragrant, double flowers that are particularly attractive to butterflies and bees. The upright panicles appear as pink-mauve buds in spring and blossom into lilac-pink petals, fading to a blueish hue in summer. For the best flower display, prune it immediately after flowering. The blossoms can also be cut for flower arranging.
The mid-green foliage is heart-shaped and Syringa vulgaris 'Belle de Nancy' is often planted for screening or as a feature tree. 'Belle de Nancy' is a well established and popular French Lilac tree, bred at the famous Lemoine Nursery near Nancy, France.
This upright Lilac has a final height and spread of 2.5 x 2 metres in 20 years, so is perfect as a small garden tree or upright shrub. For the best result, plant Syringa vulgaris 'Belle de Nancy' in moist but well-drained soil, in a sunny location. This Lilac variety is tolerant of clay, loam and sand based soils.
AKA Belle de Nancy Lilac, Syringa Belle de Nancy, French Lilac
The combination of pretty heart-shaped green foliage and pink-blushed white flowers make Syringa vulgaris 'Beauty Of Moscow' deserving of its name. In April-May, the double white flowers emerge from pink buds and are arranged in panicles. They have a pleasing fragrance and attract both bees and butterflies.
Syringa vulgaris 'Beauty Of Moscow' will grow in most soil types including clay and is happy in either full sun or partial shade. For such a beautiful specimen, this Lilac tree is surprisingly low maintenance. Expect a height and spread of 3x2m in 20 years.
AKA Syringa Krasavitsa Moskvy, Common Lilac Beauty of Moscow
This beautiful Lilac tree produces soft purple buds which open to double, soft lilac flowers in late spring through to early summer, that are highly fragrant and of great value to wildlife. The mid-green foliage makes a pretty foil for the upright clusters of perfumed flowers.
This Mauve Lilac tree will grow well in most soils, suited to a position in full sun or partial shade. Viviand Morel will reach an estimated height and spread of 4 x 4 metres in 20 years unpruned, but can easily be kept as a 2m shrub through pruning.
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AKA Mauve lilac shrub, Syringa vulgaris 'Viviand-Morel'
Named for the red buds and compact size of this dwarf Lilac, Syringa 'Red Pixie' is a great choice for brightening up small spaces or large pots. The red buds erupt into bright pink flowers that fade to a pretty pale pink and release a sweet scent.
Syringa 'Red Pixie' has a compact and slightly upright shape and is easy to look after, only requiring a little pruning after flowering. Best planted in full sun, 'Red Pixie' will do well in most alkaline to neutral pH soils.
This dwarf pink flowering Lilac is a great choice and has received the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Please note due to the dwarf nature, the product sizes are similar but the 10L bush is more mature and fuller than the 5L.
AKA Lilac 'Red Pixie'
Syringa pubescens 'Miss Kim' has masses of violet coloured buds that open to a pretty pale lavender. The tubular flowers fade almost to white and are delightfully fragrant. Another nice feature of this variety is the green summer foliage that takes on hints of red or burgundy in autumn for added interest.
This award-winning small Lilac shrub has a rounded, neat shape and requires little pruning to maintain this shape. Growing to just 2 metres in 20 years, 'Miss Kim' is perfect for small spaces and patios. Preferring full sun, it will thrive in most alkaline to neutral pH soils.
Please note due to the dwarf nature of 'Miss Kim', the product sizes are similar but the 10L bush is more mature and fuller than the 5L bush.
AKA Lilac 'Miss Kim'
Syringa pekinensis China Snow is a new variety of Peking Lilac tree with a plethora of fragrant tiny white flowers arranged in large clusters during early summer. The heart-shaped green leaves are another delightful feature, turning yellow-bronze in autumn. On mature trees, the cinnamon-brown bark peels attractively and provides winter interest when the leaves have fallen.
Expect a height and spread of 5 x 4 metres in 20 years. Syringa pekinensis China Snow has received the RHS Award of Garden Merit.
AKA Peking Lilac tree, Syringa reticulata subsp. pekinensis China Snow = 'Morton'
One of the best flowering small Lilacs, this relatively new variety called Syringa 'Dark Purple' blooms in May and can keep on flowering throughout the summer. The buds are dark purple and the flowers that emerge are darker in colour than other dwarf Lilacs and have an appealing scent.
Syringa 'Dark Purple' is low maintenance, only requiring occasional pruning if you wish to maintain its neat, bushy shape. Best planted in full sun or light shade, 'Dark Purple' will thrive in most alkaline to neutral pH soils and reach a size of 2x2 metres. The perfect choice for herbaceous borders and patios.
Please note due to the dwarf nature, the product sizes are similar but the 10L bush is more mature and fuller than the 5L.
AKA Lilac Dark Purple, Syringa Bloomerang Dark Purple