Content Detail

Meyer lilac is a compact shrub with highly fragrant, lavender flowers and small ruffled leaves. It is fairly resistant to powdery mildew. Place near a patio or sidewalk where the intoxicating fragrance can be enjoyed.

  • Family (English) Olive
  • Family (botanic) Oleacea
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Occasional drought
  • Season of interest mid spring, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, Pink, Purple
  • Shape or form Mounded, Round
  • Growth rate Slow

Size & form:

This is a compact, oval shrub reaching 4 to 8 feet high and 6 to 10 feet wide.

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

Leaves are opposite and simple, about 1-inch long with slightly wavy margins. They are dark green turning yellow in the fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Flowers are prolific, lavender to purple, and form densely packed 4-inch clusters. It blooms in early May and is highly fragrant.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Its fruit is dry, brown capsules persistent into winter, and not showy.

Plant care:

This variety requires relatively low maintenance for a lilac. It grows best in full sun to light shade in well-drained soil.Tolerant of poor, dry soil, pH, and heat or drought once established, it has also proven tolerant to aerial salt. Prune soon after flowering.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Flower buds emerge early in spring and can be susceptible to frost injury. This shrub is more resistant to powdery mildew than other varieties, except in really wet summers.

Palibin Dwarf lilac (Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’):  

Popular in the nursery trade, this compact form reaches 4 to 5 feet high and 5 to 7 feet wide. Its reddish buds open to whitish-pink flowers and the ruffled, green leaves turn a reddish-purple fall color.

Sugar Plum Fairy® lilac (Syringa ‘Bailsugar’):

A hybrid lilac introduced as part of the Fairytale® Series from Bailey Nursery. It is a rounded, compact lilac reaching 4 to 5 feet high and wide with fragrant rosy lilac flowers, and will rebloom sporadically in summer.

Tinkerbelle®lilac (Syringa ‘Bailbelle’):

A hybrid lilac introduced as part of the Fairytale® Series from Bailey Nursery. It is an upright, 5 to 6 feet high and 4 to 5 feet wide dwarf lilac with spicy fragrance and wine-red flower buds that open to pink.


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