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SYRINGA x prestoniae 'Isabella'

Image of Syringa x prestoniae 'Isabella'

Lottah Nursery, Australia

Family

Oleaceae

Botanical Name

SYRINGA x prestoniae 'Isabella'

Plant Common Name

Isabella Lilac, Preston's Lilac

General Description

A late-blooming, rock-hardy lilac with showy lilac-purple blooms, this 1928 introduction from the renowned English-Canadian horticulturist Isabella Preston bears masses of branching pyramidal flower clusters at its stem tips in late spring. The fragrant flowers open more than a week after those of common lilac and are borne on the current year's growth. This is the original named cultivar of Syringa x prestoniae, the hybrid between nodding lilac (Syringa komarowii ssp. reflexa) and late lilac (Syringa villosa) first developed by Preston in the early twentieth century. It forms an upright, medium-sized to large shrub with handsome oval leaves. It does not sucker.

Plant this shrub in full to partial sun and well-drained mildly acidic to mildly alkaline soil. Plants are most floriferous and least lanky in full sun. With its exceptional cold hardiness, this is among the few lilacs that succeed in areas of severe cold such as the northern Great Plains. It requires relatively chilly winters and moderate summers to grow and flower its best. Remove the prolific seedpods to improve appearance. Like most lilacs, it is susceptible to powdery mildew, especially in humid droughty conditions. Use it as a screen, windbreak or hedge, or as an individual specimen in a shrub planting or mixed border. It can also be trained as a multi-stemmed small tree. It is ideal near a path or patio, where its perfumed flowers can work their magic. Its flowers are also wonderful in bouquets.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    7 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    2 - 7

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    8'-12' / 2.4m - 3.7m

  • Width

    6'-10' / 1.8m - 3.0m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring

  • Native To

    Hybrid Origin

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Purple, Lavender

  • Fruit Color

    Green, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Green

  • Bark Color

    Tan

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • 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, Hedges, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    No