Content Detail

Late lilac is a large, dense, rounded shrub with erect, ascending branches. The large, rosy-lilac flowers appear in mid-June after other lilacs have finished. A showy shrub used as a specimen, in borders, or as a hedge. May be difficult to find in the nursery trade.

  • Family (English) Olive
  • Family (botanic) Oleaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Occasional drought, Road salt
  • Season of interest late spring, early summer
  • Flower color and fragrance Pink, Purple
  • Shape or form Round, Upright
  • Growth rate Moderate, Slow

Size & form:

Late lilac is an erect shrub reaching 6 to 10 feet high and 4 to 10 feet wide.

Native geographic location and habitat:

This shrub is native to China.

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife:

Flowers attract bees and butterflies

Bark color and texture:

Bark is tannish-gray and not showy.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Leaves are opposite, simple, oblong, and about 2 to 6 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide. They are a dull, dark green in summer and their fall color is an inconsistent yellow-brown.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Fragrant flowers grow 4 to 8 inch long, and are purplish-white to rosy-lilac in color. They typically bloom two weeks after common lilac.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

The fruit is a dehiscent capsule at tip of branches and often persistent into winter.

Plant care:

Grows best in full sun in well-drained, organic-rich soil. It is tolerant of various soil pH.  It flowers on old wood, so prune immediately after flowering.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances

Mildew, leaf spots, scale insects, and borers can be a problem for this shrub.


Your support is vital to the Arboretum, where the power of trees makes a positive impact on people’s lives.

Make a gift