Syringa meyeri var. spontanea
Common Name: lilac 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Oleaceae
Native Range: Northern China
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 4.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 12.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Purple / violet
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Erosion, Dry Soil


Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates light shade, but best bloom is in full sun. Prefers rich, moist, slightly acid to slightly alkaline 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.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Syringa meyeri, commonly called Meyer lilac or Korean lilac, was found growing in a garden near Beijing, China by Frank Meyer in 1909. It is not known to exist in the wild. It is a compact, rounded, slow-growing, deciduous shrub that matures to 5-8' tall and spreads to 10' wide. Pale lilac to violet-purple flowers bloom in small, dense terminal clusters (panicles to 3-4" long) in late April to early May (St. Louis area). Flowers are fragrant. Small, broad-elliptic to obovate leaves (to 2" long) are dark green. No fall color.

Var. spontanea is now recognized by many authorities as a synonym of Syringa pubescens subsp. microphylla.

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 honors Frank Meyer who collected this plant in China in 1909.


No serious insect or disease problems. Very resistant to mildew. Flower buds are particularly susceptible to frost injury in spring.


Effective as a specimen or massed, or may be grown as a screen or hedge. Good for shrub borders. Korean lilac is more attractive than many other lilacs in summer due to its mildew-free foliage.