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TREES & plants

Chinese lilac

Chinese lilac is an upright to rounded shrub with arching branches, a more finely-textured hybrid of common lilac. The highly fragrant lavender-purple flowers are long blooming and attract butterflies.

Botanical name: 
Syringa x chinensis
All Common Names: 
Chinese lilac, Rouen lilac
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Hedge
  • Mixed border
  • Patio/sidewalk
Size Range: 
  • Compact tree (10-15 feet)
  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 3
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
Soil Preference: 
  • Alkaline soil
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Season of Interest: 
  • Mid spring
  • Late spring
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Fragrant
  • Purple
Shape or Form: 
  • Arching
  • Multi-stemmed
  • Round
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate
More Information: 


8 to 12 feet high and wide, possibly 15 feet.
Upright to rounded with arching branches. A more graceful textured plant  than common lilac.

Tree & Plant Care

Best in full sun to part shade in well-drained soil. Tolerant of high pH soil.
Provide good air circulation to minimize powdery mildew infections
Flowers on old wood, prune after flowering.
Remove oldest stems to promote vigor.
Deer resistant.

Disease, pests, and problems

Powdery mildew, aphids, scale

Bark color and texture 

Light brown

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Opposite; simple leaves, 2 to 4 inches long and broadly elliptica with pointed tip.
Similar in shape to other lilacs
Medium green color with no significant color change in fall

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Large, 4 to 6 inches loose clusters of rosy purple flowers in mid-spring

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Fruit are small, brown capsules