Syringa villosa
Common Name: late lilac 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Oleaceae
Native Range: Northern China
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Rose-lilac to white
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates light shade, but best bloom is in full sun. Prefers organically rich, moist, slightly acidic soils with good drainage. Needs good air circulation. Good tolerance for urban conditions. To the extent practicable, promptly remove faded flower panicles before seed set. Prune as needed immediately after flowering. Best grown in cool summer climates, and not recommended for planting in the deep South below USDA Zone 7. Flower panicles appear on new growth.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Syringa villosa commonly called late lilac, is a rounded, deciduous shrub that grows to 10’ tall on upright stems clad with ovate to oblong, medium green leaves (to 7” long). It blooms several weeks later than common lilac (S. vulgaris), hence the common name. Showy, slightly fragrant, rose-lilac to white flowers bloom in dense, pyramidal panicles (to 8” long) in May. Flowers give way to loose clusters of brown capsules that persist into winter if not removed. No fall color.

Genus name comes from the Greek word syrinx meaning tube or pipe in reference to the pith-filled but easily-hollowed stems of some genus plants.

Specific epithet means covered with soft hairs.


Late lilac generally maintains good foliage throughout the growing season, with some resistance to powdery mildew. It is susceptible to a number of additional disease problems including blights, leaf spots, wilt and ring spot virus. Potential insect pests include scales, borers, leaf miners and caterpillars. Flower buds are susceptible to frost injury in early spring.


Effective as a specimen or in groups in the landscape. Shrub borders. Screens along property lines.