You can catch a whiff of their fragrance even from a distance. Lilac flowers are among the most spectacular flowers you can grow in your garden.
Lilac flowers belong to the Oleaceae family and is a genus of about 20 to 25 flowering species with over 1,000 varieties of lilac bushes. They can survive hundreds of years and can withstand winter temperatures of -60ºF. These beautiful and aromatic flowers originated from Eastern Europe and Asia.
The settlers brought them to the U.S. in the 17th century and were grown in the country’s first botanical gardens. Two of The Founding Fathers, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, were said to have grown them in their gardens.
Table of Contents
- Arroyo Grande Lilac (Ceanothus impressus var. nipponensis)
- Autumnal Blue (Ceanothus)
- Beauty of Moscow (Syringa vulgaris)
- Bloomerang Dark Purple (Syringa)
- Charles Joly (Syringa vulgaris)
- Concha (Ceanothus)
- Dark Star (Ceanothus)
- El Dorado (Ceanothus)
- Gloire de Versailles (Ceanothus x delileanus)
- Marie Simon (Ceanothus x pallidus)
- Miss Kim (Syringa pubescens subsp. patula)
- Palibin (Syringa meyeri)
- Pershore Zanzibar (Ceanothus)
- President Grevy (Syringa vulgaris)
- Puget Blue (Ceanothus)
- Ray Hartman (Ceanothus)
- Sensation (Syringa vulgaris)
- Skylark (Ceanothus)
- Snowdance (Syringa reticulata)
- Tinkerbelle Lilac (Syringa)
- Trewithen Blue (Ceanothus arboreus)
- Tuxedo (Ceanothus)
- Victoria (Ceanothus)
Arroyo Grande Lilac (Ceanothus impressus var. nipponensis)
Best grown in zones 8-10, this lilac grows densely and in a round habit, reaching up to eight feet high and ten feet wide. It has stunning dark blue flowers and dark brown stems with wrinkled, oval-shaped, dark green leaves. Once the plant is established, it can withstand even the driest conditions, making it a great option for coastal gardens. It is also very fragrant, and it thrives in soil that is sandy and dry. In fact, it does best in dry climates when it’s hot outside, and it is salt-tolerant as well.
Autumnal Blue (Ceanothus)
With its massive clusters of beautiful sky blue flowers, this lilac is absolutely breathtaking and is strong, upright, and sure to catch the attention of everyone who comes near it. It has leaves that are glossy and bright green in color, making them a perfect complement to the flowers. The Autumnal Blue grows up to ten feet wide and ten feet high, and because of its beauty and uniqueness it has won several international flower awards. One of the flower’s characteristics is that hummingbirds, birds, and butterflies love it, while deer tend to stay away from it.
Beauty of Moscow (Syringa vulgaris)
With delicate pink buds and eye-catching double white-colored petals, this type of lilac is a strong grower and smells magnificent. A beautiful specimen shrub, the Beauty of Moscow grows up to twelve feet high and eight feet wide, and it is perfect for zones 3-7. It also has beautiful dark green leaves that perfectly complement its petals.
Bloomerang Dark Purple (Syringa)
Perfect for zones 3-7, this lilac grows up to six feet tall and six feet wide, and it has beautiful lilac petals that bloom in the spring and again in summer and fall. It is best not to trim them until after the spring bloom, and if you do trim them at the proper time, it will form more beautiful flowers right on the wood.
Charles Joly (Syringa vulgaris)
Introduced in the late 1800s, this lilac is one of the most popular types of French lilacs. Its double petals are magenta in color and smell fantastic, and it grows up to twelve feet tall and ten feet wide. They make an excellent informal screen, due to their suckering characteristic, and they have buds that are deep purple and which perfectly complement the color of the petals.
Blooming in late spring to early summer, this award-winning flower consists of dozens of clusters of deep blue flowers that open from purplish-red buds. The petals sit on elegant, arching stems that get up to eight feet tall and can transform anyone’s garden into a beautiful sea of blue. A very reliable and sturdy plant, the Concha has won several international flower awards and makes a perfect border for the side of a wall. It is also attractive to birds and hummingbirds, as well as butterflies.
Dark Star (Ceanothus)
A spreading evergreen shrub with clusters of flowers that are dark blue in color, it has tiny, dark green leaves with eye-catching veins that perfectly complement the flowers. It has won several international flower awards and grows up to six feet tall and ten feet wide. Best if pruned after it flowers, this lilac looks beautiful in coastal gardens and shrub borders, and it appreciates afternoon shade in areas that have particularly hot summers. The Dark Star also attracts birds, butterflies, and hummingbirds, and is very easy to grow.
El Dorado (Ceanothus)
One thing that makes this lilac unique is its leaves, which are two-toned in both lime green and dark green throughout each petal. Growing up to ten feet high and ten feet wide, this type of lilac has small blue flowers that bloom in late spring and early summer. It is graceful-looking and deer-resistant, and it looks great as a specimen plant or as a hedge, border, or screen. It is tolerant to heat and drought conditions, and it prefers soil with average moisture but which is also well-drained.
Gloire de Versailles (Ceanothus x delileanus)
This type of lilac is very round and sturdy, and its petals are powder blue in color and very fragrant. Resistant to both deer and salt, the plant grows up to five feet wide and five feet tall, and thrives in full sun and well-drained, medium-moisture soil. They have beautiful reddish stems and leaves that are oval and light green in color, making them a perfect complement to the light blue petals. After they bloom, they grow red berries in beautiful clusters, which is one of the reasons why they have won several international flower awards.
Marie Simon (Ceanothus x pallidus)
Blooming from summer through fall, this type of lilac is unique in that its petals are a soft baby pink in color. Its red stems hold large, oval-shaped, dark green leaves, and it grows up to five feet high and five feet wide. Deer-resistant but attractive to butterflies, the Marie Simon is beautiful in a mixed border and small gardens, and even though it is good to cut it back in the spring to help it keep its shape, it is still a very easy plant to grow. Great for zones 6-11, the plant looks best with regular irrigation, which helps it keep its beautiful shape and color.
Miss Kim (Syringa pubescens subsp. patula)
Great for growing zones 3-8, this type of lilac starts with deep purple buds that produce petals of lavender which turn to light blue. Attractive to birds and butterflies, the Miss Kim lilac looks beautiful as a specimen plant and in mixed shrub borders or hedges. Perfect for small gardens, this slow-growing plant is very fragrant and has deep green foliage that perfectly complements its petals. Growing up to eight feet tall, it does well in chalk but not in soil that is very acidic.
Palibin (Syringa meyeri)
Also called the Dwarf Korean Lilac, this plant blooms in late spring and early summer, and it is a low-spreading deciduous plant that only grows to five feet in height. Its single petals are lilac pink in color and very fragrant, and are complemented by its dark green leaves. The plant is deer-resistant but attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies, and has won several international flower awards. It prefers soil that is alkaline to neutral and well-drained, and there are no serious concerns when it comes to insects or diseases.
Pershore Zanzibar (Ceanothus)
With pale yellow green leaves that contain dark green blotches on each petal and which turn to a rich gold later in the season, its petals are light blue in color and bloom in late spring or early summer. Even when it’s not in bloom, this plant attracts attention, and if you prune it after it flowers, it will keep its shape and size. It grows up to eight feet high and looks beautiful when used as a specimen plant, border, or hedge, as well as alongside banks and slopes. The Pershore Zanzibar is also salt- and drought-tolerant.
President Grevy (Syringa vulgaris)
With beautiful lilac blue petals that are very fragrant and grow in clusters up to ten inches long, this French lilac blooms in mid-spring. It grows up to ten feet tall, does best in growing zones 3-7, and looks beautiful when planted with many other lilacs. Its shrubs form a multi-stemmed plant, and it makes a beautiful backdrop for other plants and flowers.
Puget Blue (Ceanothus)
The Puget Blue is one of the hardiest types of lilac plants, which is one of the reasons why it has won several international flower awards. A very dense and rounded evergreen, it has bright lavender blue petals that grow so quickly and so thick that they can obscure the leaves of the plant. With arching, ascending branches, this is an elegant-looking lilac with narrow, dark green leaves that is a magnet for hummingbirds, butterflies, and birds. Growing up to eight feet high and eight feet wide, the plant looks great as a border, hedge, or screen.
Ray Hartman (Ceanothus)
One of the largest types of lilacs, the Ray Hartman has medium blue flowers that grow up to five inches in width, and it blooms in late spring and early summer. It is heat- and drought-tolerant and therefore very low-maintenance. It also grows very fast and is very dense and upright, growing up to twenty feet in height. It can be considered both a shrub and a tree, and it has large, dark green leaves that perfectly complement the beautiful colors of the petals. A hybrid variety that has won several international flower awards, this lilac attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, and looks great in coastal gardens and as a specimen plant.
Sensation (Syringa vulgaris)
The petals on this lilac are very unique, having purple-red petals that are distinctly outlined in white. They are sweetly fragranced, and they bloom in mid- to late spring. The winner of several international flower awards, these lilacs grow up to ten feet high and ten feet wide, and they prefer full sun and very fertile soil. Pruning after flowering is highly recommended, and they look spectacular as hedges or foundation plantings. They also need good air circulation at all times.
With cerulean blue petals and glossy, fine-toothed leaves, this type of lilac grows to six feet high and twelve feet wide, and it grows so profusely that it overtakes the leaves when it’s done flowering. The plant prefers well-drained soil and full sun, and it requires very little water during the summer months. It can also grow in nearly every type of climate, and it looks beautiful in coastal gardens and alongside slopes and banks. The Skylark is easy to grow and even grows indoors if that’s where you want it.
Snowdance (Syringa reticulata)
If you’re looking for a lilac tree, this is it. It grows up to eighteen feet tall and twenty feet wide, and it consists of beautiful, creamy white flowers that bloom in early summer. Because of its size, it makes a perfect shade tree, and since it is pest- and disease-free, it will last for a very long time. Hardy in zones 3-7, the Snowdance has an attractive vase shape and a wonderful, sweet aroma.
Tinkerbelle Lilac (Syringa)
This type of lilac grows beautiful wine-red flower buds in late spring, and it brings fragrance and beauty to smaller gardens. It grows up to eight feet tall, and its perfume-like scent makes it very attractive to butterflies. The Tinkerbelle Lilac is perfect for zones 3-7 and has a shape that reaches up to five feet in width. It is a beautiful tree for gardens of all sizes and types.
Trewithen Blue (Ceanothus arboreus)
With graceful, arching stems and shiny, emerald green leaves, this type of lilac has deep blue petals that have a wonderful aroma. The shrubs are very large, reaching up to twenty feet tall and twenty-five feet wide, and they prefer full sun and well-drained soil. The winner of several international flower awards, this plant does well as a hedge or screen, and it is a beautiful addition to any landscape. It is also deer-resistant but is much loved by hummingbirds, butterflies, and birds.
With unique leaves that are shiny and almost black in color, this type of lilac has a bushy look and medium blue petals that grow in clusters up to three inches long. It grows up to eight feet high and eight feet wide, and it requires very little water. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil, and it looks extraordinary all year long. Great as a specimen plant or when planted in shrub borders, the Tuxedo responds well to regular pruning and blooms a little later than other types – in late summer to early fall.
The Victoria has indigo blue petals and dark green, shiny leaves, and it is loved by birds, hummingbirds, and butterflies. Growing up to six feet tall and twelve feet wide, this type of lilac can even tolerate salt, which makes it perfect for coastal gardens. Pruning after flowering is highly recommended, and the plant grows very fast with little effort required. Great for zones 7-10, this lilac also makes a beautiful hedge or screen plant, and it usually doesn’t have a problem with deer.