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SYRINGA reticulata

Image of Syringa reticulata

James H. Schutte

Family

Oleaceae

Botanical Name

SYRINGA reticulata

Plant Common Name

Tree Lilac

General Description

Showy cloud-like clusters of fragrant ivory blossoms cover this hardy and highly variable East Asian native long after most other lilacs have bloomed. Whether grown as a rounded multi-stemmed large shrub or as a single-trunked small tree, it offers ornamental interest at all seasons, thanks to its glossy dark brown cherry-like bark. The large clusters of tiny creamy-white flowers develop at the branch tips in late spring or early summer. They are privet-scented: sweet but with an undertone of cut grass or leaf clippings. The large rounded deciduous leaves are dark green with paler undersides, and do not color in fall.

Grow tree lilac in ample sun to ensure dense sturdy growth and copious bloom. It does not excel in hot summers. It is best in fertile, non-alkaline, well-drained soil, but adapts to many situations. Although a beautiful large shrub for the back of a border or for an informal hedge or screen, tree lilac is most regal trained as a round-crowned tree. Several cultivars are available, selected for their superior bloom, form, and foliage. Popular smaller sized varieties include 'Ivory Silk' and 'Summer Snow'. Subspecies pekinensis is a large shrub or small tree with handsome peeling golden-brown bark and abundant white or creamy-yellow flowers.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    7 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    15'-30' / 4.6m - 9.1m

  • Width

    10'-20' / 3.0m - 6.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Eastern Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Pollution, Drought, Soil Compaction

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Ivory

  • Fruit Color

    Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green, Yellow Green

  • Bark Color

    Bronze, Brown, Chocolate, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Hedges, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break, Shade Trees, Street Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    No