Common Name: common lilac
Type: Deciduous shrub
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 8.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 12.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Purple, single, white edged petals
Sun: Full sun
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil
Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates light shade, but best bloom is in full sun. Prefers rich, moist, neutral soils. Needs good air circulation. Prompt removal of faded flower panicles before seed set will increase bloom in the following year. Prune immediately after flowering.
This common lilac cultivar is an upright, deciduous shrub which grows 8-15' tall. Deep purple to wine red, sweetly fragrant, single flowers with white edges are arranged in dense, pyramidal, terminal clusters (panicles) which cover this shrub in late April to early May (St. Louis). Ovate to cordate, dark green leaves (to 5" long). Excellent fresh cut flower. Lilacs have been a garden favorite for years and often evoke nostalgic feelings of home and childhood. Walt Whitman lyrically extolled the lilac as "tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green, With many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love, With every leaf a miracle..." in his 1865 poem "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd".
Powdery mildew is a frequent, unsightly, though not necessarily life-threatening problem in summer, particularly in areas with high summer humidity. Lilacs are also susceptible to a number of other diseases including blights, leaf spots, wilt and certain viruses. Lilacs are visited by a number of insect pests including borers, leaf miners and scale. Young leaves are particularly subject to frost injury in spring.
Though spectacular when in full bloom, lilacs are otherwise a rather ordinary shrub. Effective as a specimen or massed, or may be grown as a privacy screen or hedge. Good for shrub borders.