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SYRINGA vulgaris 'Arch McKean'

Image of Syringa vulgaris 'Arch McKean'

Lottah Nursery, Australia

Family

Oleaceae

Botanical Name

SYRINGA vulgaris 'Arch McKean'

Plant Common Name

Arch McKean Lilac, Common Lilac

General Description

This is counted among the best American bred lilacs for vigor, color and overall performance. It is a contemporary hybrid that blooms about two weeks later than most other French lilac varieties, thus extending the season considerably. It was bred by the famous Father John Fiala of Medina, Ohio who founded the American Lilac Society. This hybrid was introduced in 1983 and arose from a cross between the large-flowered cultivars ‘Agincourt Beauty’ and ‘Rochester.’

When not in bloom the large, rounded, deciduous shrub borders on leggy and offers little interest, but it is exceptionally beautiful when its flower panicles appear in late spring to early summer. ‘Arch McKean’ produces long, narrow, upright panicles of small, tubular purple-red flowers. The fragrant blooms are held at tips of the branches and attract loads of bees, butterflies and many other insect pollinators.

Lilacs develop their best habit and flowers when grown in full sun. They prefer average to fertile soil with good drainage. Though moderately drought tolerant, these lilacs grow best is given supplemental water during very dry spells. Next year's flower buds are set shortly after blooming, so lilacs must be pruned directly after their yearly display. There are several serious pests and diseases that plague them. Lilac borers can be a fatal, so keep an eye out for their telltale half-moon shaped holes along the trunks. Powdery mildew is also a yearly problem. Extreme drought stress can invite both.

They make fine feature plants and are especially sweet when planted in groups. Cut their fresh blossoms for fragrant, long-lasting flower arrangements. The wonderfully fragrant blooms of ‘Arch McKean’ are capable of scenting a large room.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    4 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    6'-8' / 1.8m - 2.4m

  • Width

    8'-10' / 2.4m - 3.0m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Hybrid Origin, Eastern Europe

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Red, Purple

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Light Yellow, Sandy Brown

  • Bark Color

    Tan, 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

    Cutflower, Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    No