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Plant Type: Dormant, bare-root

Zones:  3-7

Soil Type:  Clay, Loamy & Sandy Soils

Site Selection: Full Sun, Partial Sun

Mature Height & Width:  8-15' Height and 8-15' Spread

Growth Rate:  Moderate - 12-24" per year once established

Moisture Requirements: Average

Plant Characteristics

Common Lilac

Syringa vulgaris

The Common Lilac is known for its stunning show of purple flowers in spring and unforgettable fragrance which carries a long distance. This perennial favorite is hardy and naturally spreading but not invasive. Butterflies and beneficial bees are attracted to the nectar of the lilac flowers. This bush blooms on old wood so pruning right after the bush blossoms will set the stage for the best flowering next season. Thin out old stems, in the middle at the base, to boost the plants health.

The Common Lilac is also known as the French Lilac.

If you plan to prune the Common Lilac, it should be pruned after its flowers fade to ensure best blooming next season. To keep the bush more dense, prune one half of the new growth off each season. Alternatively, you can leave this shrub grow naturally and the growth habit will be a little less dense. This shrub displays excellent drought resistance once it is established. While this bush will grow in part shade, full sun will yield the best growth and flower density.

Common uses for the Common Lilac include:

  • Privacy screen or hedge
  • Fragrant, showy flowers give off a classic scent loved by everyone
  • Makes a good choice for lower stories of a windbreak
  • Ornamental and specimen plant


The Common Lilac is used by many types of songbirds for cover.  Nectar from the flowers attract beneficial bees and butterflies to your landscape.