Lilac bush varieties

Updated April 17, 2017

Lilac bushes, or Syringa as they are botanically known, come in a variety of colours and sizes. From dwarf plants measuring in size of 1.5 m (5 feet) to plants in height of 9 m (30 feet) tall, lilac bushes range in colour from white to deep purple. Lilac is the most common colour, but shades of pink, red and blue are also available. There are 25 species of lilac, with over 1,000 varieties and hybrids to choose from. Preferring a more alkaline soil, lilacs will bloom best in full sun.


One of the most common lilacs is a hybrid called the Pocahontas (Syringa x Hyacinthiflora). It produces a fragrant, deep purple flower. This tree is one of the earliest bloomers in the lilac family. At maturity, the Pocahontas can reach heights of up to 3.6 m (12 feet), and should be placed about 2.4 m (8 feet) apart when planting to give it enough room to grow. The Pocahontas can adapt fairly well to dry or humid weather. It grows best in full sun, but is tolerable to partial shade.

Common white lilac

The common white lilac (Syringa Vulgaris var. Alba) grows to be 3.6 to 4.5 m (12 to 15 feet) high. It should be planted eight to 3.6 m (12 feet) apart if planting more than one. The fragrance from a white lilac is one of the strongest scents in the flower world, and the colour is snowy white. For maximum growth and bloom, this lilac should be planted in full sun. If planted in partial shade, it tends to produce less flowers, and appears less full in appearance.

French lilac

French lilac (Syringa Vulgaris) is probably the most common. It blooms in late spring to early summer, producing the lilac-coloured flowers that carry the highly recognisable lilac scent. Growing to a height of almost 3 m (10 feet) tall, these shrubs should be planted at 3 to 3.6 m (10 to 12 feet) apart to allow them to spread. The bark is smooth, with a brownish-grey colour. It prefers full sun, just as most lilacs do, for best results.

Less common varieties

Some less common lilac varieties available include the Japanese tree lilac, which produces a white flower, as well as the Agincourt beauty lilac, which produces beautiful purple flowers, as does the Charles Joly, the common purple and the Donald Wyman. Pretty in pink varieties include the Alexander Pink and the James Macfarlane. These are just a few of the varieties that grow well in the United States. With over 1,000 to choose from, finding just the right lilac to plant in your garden should be easy.

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