Lilac Varieties & Species | Popular Kinds of Bushes & Trees

With Hundreds Of Varieties Like The Japanese Lilacs, Chinese Lilacs, & Common Lilacs, These Flowers Come In An Array Of Colors. From Classic Purples To Enchanting Pinks And Whites, Lilac Varieties Bloom With Elegance And Fill The Air With Their Captivating Scents.

Different Types of Lilacs

Lilacs belong to the genus Syringa. They are beloved flowering shrubs loved for their fragrant blossoms. Originating in Asia and Southeastern Europe, all different types of lilacs have captivated gardeners globally.


Over the years, countless varieties of lilacs have been developed, with an extensive range of sizes, colors, and blooming times. While it is not easy to determine the exact number, it is easy to say there exist 100s of varieties of lilacs cultivated globally.


Amongst the most popular kinds of lilacs are the Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris), known for its large clusters of fragrant lavender-purple flowers, and the Persian Lilac (Syringa × persica), which displays delicate pinkish-purple blooms.


There is also the Japanese Tree Lilac (Syringa reticulata) that charms with its creamy white flowers and attractive peeling bark.


Gardeners seeking smaller lilac varieties can opt for the Dwarf Korean Lilac (Syringa meyeri). However, those lured by the unique flower forms can consider the Preston Lilac (Syringa prestoniae), which bears double blooms.


Another popular kind is the Miss Kim Lilac (Syringa patula ‘Miss Kim’), renowned for its compact size and splendid lavender-colored flowers.


With their alluring fragrance and captivating beauty, lilacs continue to lure nature enthusiasts and gardeners, offering a delightful variety of choices for every garden style and taste.


Now let us get started and address the different types of lilacs in detail.


Lilac Identification and Overview

Scientific Name Syringa vulgaris
Family Oleaceae
Bloom time Spring
Bloom color Purple, white
Plant spread and height 8–15 ft. tall, 6–12 ft. wide
Growth type Upright
Hardiness zone 3–7, USA
Native area Europe


Different Kinds of Lilacs and Bushes


In this article, we will explore eleven varieties of lilacs and bushes, each having their unique charm and characteristics. These lilacs flourish with proper care in suitable growing conditions.


A. Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)


Flower color Purple, White, and Pink.
Bloom time Late Spring
Zone Zones three through seven


It is the species of lilac plant from which numerous cultivars have been developed. It is a hardy shrub, adaptable to different soil types, and was introduced to the United States from Europe in the 1700s.


Blooming in late May, it depicts clusters of fragrant flowers in varying colors. These vigorous lilacs grow to a height and width of eight to ten feet. Some even go up to 15 feet.


The single flowers of the plant are known for their sweet scent. They take a couple of years to bloom after planting.


B. French Lilac (Syringa vulgaris ‘Charles Joly’)


Flower color Deep burgundy purple
Bloom time Late Spring
Zone Zones three through seven


It is a beautiful Common Lilac specie cultivar with beautiful flowers that exude a strong and sweet fragrance. This variety can add a touch of elegance to any garden.


It has an upright growth pattern, forming a dense and bushy shrub. These lilac species can reach eight to fifteen feet, forming an eye-catching focal point in any landscape.


These plants have heart-shaped, dark green colored leaves that offer a lush backdrop to the vibrant blooms. French Lilacs are adaptable, and with its captivating scent and richly colored blossom, Charles Joly is a popular French variety among lilac enthusiasts.


C. Persian Lilac (Syringa persica)

Persian Lilac

Flower color Pale pink to lavender
Bloom time Late Spring
Zone Zones four through seven


It is one of the delightful lilacs that depict delicate blooms that possess a pleasing and subtle fragrance. These lilacs bloom in late spring, gracing the garden with their charming presence.


They have a compact growth habit and reach between six to eight feet. It is a hardy shrub suitable for various climatic conditions.


With its compact form and dainty flowers, Syringa persica is a lovely choice for smaller gardens or as a border plant.

D. Japanese Lilac (Syringa reticulata)


Flower color Creamy White
Bloom time Summer
Zone Zones three through seven


Amongst the different types of lilacs, some gardening enthusiasts particularly look for varieties with showy flowers. If that is your preference, the Japanese Lilac can be a suitable choice. It has fragrant flowers and offers a later and unique blooming option than the other varieties.


They have an upright growth pattern and reach 15 to 25 feet. The plant has attractive peeling bark and glossy, dark green leaves amplifying its appeal. The plant can thrive in various climates.

E. Chinese Lilac (Syringa chinensis)


Flower color Lavender to purple and even pink
Bloom time Late Spring
Zone Zones four through seven


These lilacs depict various hues in their flowers that fill the air with a delightful fragrance. These flowers are well-suited for a range of climates. They have an upright growth pattern and can reach up to eight to twelve feet.


With their fragrant and attractive blooms, Chinese Lilacs can add a touch of elegance and beauty to all landscapes and gardens. These lilac varieties are admired for their lush, dark green foliage, providing a beautiful backdrop to the blooms.


This lilac specie is a favorite among gardeners for its ability to attract butterflies and bees, enhancing the overall pollinator-friendly environment.


F. Korean Lilac (Syringa meyeri)


Flower color Pale Lilac
Bloom time Late Spring
Zone Zones three through seven


These charming kinds of lilacs create a beautiful spectacle in the garden. They have a compact growth habit and reach a height of four to six feet, making them suitable for small landscapes and gardens.


Their small, glossy leaves offer an attractive backdrop to the abundant blossoms, accentuating their visual and aesthetic appeal.


These shrubs are beloved for their compact size and fragrant blooms, making them a popular choice amongst lilac enthusiasts.


G. Lavender Lady


Flower color Lavender-pink
Bloom time Spring
Zone Zones three through seven


These lilac species have a moderate growth pattern, reaching about 7 feet and spreading to 8 feet. You can easily incorporate them into different planting arrangements, including small yards, urban gardens, or container planting.


Its attractive green foliage provides a lush backdrop to the stunning blossoms, creating a visually pleasing display. With its appealing color and pleasant scent, Lavender Lady adds a touch of elegance and beauty to gardens and landscapes.


Whether used as a focal point, border planting, or in mixed flower beds, Lavender Lady brings joy and a touch of sophistication to any outdoor space.


H. Primrose Lilac (Syringa vulgaris ‘Primrose’)


Flower color Pale Yellow
Bloom time Late Spring
Zone Zones three through seven


Primrose Lilac is a captivating and unique specie that add brightness and warmth to their growing landscape or garden. These lilac varieties have a moderate growth habit, reaching about eight feet with ten feet spread.


Its ovate-shaped, green leaves form an enchanting backdrop to the charming yellow blossoms. With their appealing and soft color, Primrose Lilac can add a sunny and cheerful vibe to any outdoor space.


I. Hungarian Lilac (Syringa josikaea):


Flower color Pale Purple
Bloom time Late Spring
Zone Zones four through seven


It is a stunning lilac variety with beautiful flowers that add a burst of fragrance and color to the garden. They have a moderate growth habit and reach about seven to ten feet with a six to ten feet spread.


These types of lilac bushes have lance-shaped, dark green leaves that add an attractive backdrop to the vibrant blooms. With its delightful scent and appealing appearance, the Hungarian Lilac makes a charming addition to any landscape or garden design.


Its blossoms attract butterflies and bees while simultaneously amplifying the overall aesthetic of the garden. The Hungarian Lilac is a beloved choice among gardeners and landscaping enthusiasts with its impressive combination of resilience, beauty, and fragrance.


J. Dwarf Korean Lilac (Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’)


Flower color Pale Lavender
Bloom time Late Spring
Zone Zones three through seven


It is one of the compact and charming lilacs that offers fragrance and beauty in a smaller package. With its moderate growth pattern, the Dwarf Korean Lilac reaches four to five feet and has a spread of up to five to seven feet.


Hence, they are a fantastic choice for container planting, borders, and smaller gardens. These types of lilacs have clusters of pale lavender blooms that fill the air with their captivating and sweet scent.


Their attractive green foliage adds a lush backdrop to the abundant blossoms, creating a visually appealing display.


Known for its adaptability and hardiness, the compact size and delightful fragrance make these kinds of lilacs a popular pick for those who wish to enjoy the scent and beauty of lilacs in limited spaces.


K. Miss Kim Lilac (Syringa pubescens subsp. patula ‘Miss Kim’)


Flower color Pale Purple
Bloom time Late Spring
Zone Zones three through seven


It is a captivating lilac variety that adds beauty and fragrance to any garden with its beautiful clusters of blooms that create a stunning display of color. Known for their compact growth habit, Miss Kim Lilac typically reaches around 4 to 6 feet and spreads up to 5 feet.


These lilac varieties have attractive dark green foliage that provides an appealing backdrop to the delicate blooms. One of its remarkable features is its rich and pleasant fragrance, which fills the air, enticing pollinators and creating a soothing atmosphere.


Miss Kim Lilac is hardy, making it suitable for various climates. With its compact size, delightful blooms, and enchanting scent, Miss Kim Lilac is a beloved lilac variety.


Related: How to split Lilac bushes | How fast do lilacs grow | Lilacs lifespan | Best Lilac fertilizers


Other Different Kinds of Lilacs

Apart from the most popular ones, here are some more Lilacs you may be interested in:


  1. James Macfarlane Lilac
  2. Declaration Lilac
  3. Tinkerbelle Lilac
  4. President Grevy Lilac
  5. Sensation Lilac
  6. Beauty of Naples Lilac
  7. Sensation Lilac
  8. Yankee Doodle Lilac
  9. Beauty of Moscow Lilac
  10. Pocahontas Lilac


Types of Lilac Trees


Lilacs are predominantly called shrubs. However, some varieties have a tree-like growth habit, resembling smaller trees and reaching taller heights.


These lilac trees can add a unique touch to landscapes and gardens, combining the beauty of lilac blooms with the stature of a tree. Some such varieties are as follows:


1. Japanese Tree Lilac (Syringa reticulata): This lilac tree grows up to 20 to 30 feet. They have panicles of creamy white flowers that bloom in early spring. It has an attractive exfoliating bark and a spreading canopy.
2. Chinese Tree Lilac (Syringa pekinensis): Growing up to 15 to 25 feet, the Chinese Tree Lilac has clusters of fragrant white flowers that bloom from mid to late spring. They have a light gray, smooth bark with a rounded crown.
3. Ivory Silk Lilac (Syringa reticulata ‘Ivory Silk’): This lilac grows up to 15 to 25 feet, depicting abundant clusters of creamy white and fragrant flowers that show in early spring. It has glossy dark green leaves and a graceful, weeping habit.


Different types of lilacs in tree form provide gardeners with an excellent opportunity to enjoy the fragrance and beauty of lilac blossoms while adding a vertical appeal to their landscape.


Their tree-like form can add diversity to the lilac collection and seem like a striking focal point in the garden.


Frequently Asked Questions About Lilac Bushes

Ques 1. What is the most popular lilac bush?

Ans. The most popular lilac bush is the Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris). It is beloved and recognized for its intoxicating fragrance and stunning beauty.


Ques 2. Which are the white lilac varieties I can plant in my garden?

Ans. Some white lilacs you can grow in your garden are as follows:


  1. Madame Lemoine
  2. Beauty of Moscow
  3. President Lincoln (white form)
  4. Sensation (white-edged variety)
  5. White Angel
  6. Angel White
  7. Mount Baker
  8. Alba
  9. Snowcap
  10. Ivory Silk


Ques 3. What is the best-smelling lilac?

Ans. Botanically called the Syringa pubescens, the Chinese native lilac is often regarded as the most fragrant among lilacs. They have white, petite flowers with a subtle hint of purple.


Their delightful blend of spice and sweetness in fragrance set it apart from the familiar scent associated with traditional lilacs.


Ques 4. What other color is lilac available in?

Ans. Beyond the typical lilac color, a light purple hue, lilacs are available in many other colors. Some of the different colors you can find in lilac species are:


1. White: Lilacs come in varying white shades, ranging from bright white to creamy white.
2. Pink: Lilacs also have different pink shades, ranging from pale pink to vibrant, deeper pink tones.
3. Lavender: Lilacs with a lavender color have a pastel, softer hue, typically with a bluish undertone.
4. Magenta: Some lilacs have a rich magenta color, which is more intense than the traditional purple lilacs.
5. Blue: Although true blue lilacs do not naturally occur, you can find varieties that have bluish tones and are bred to yield flowers with a bluish hue.
6. Bicolor: Some lilac cultivators exhibit bicolor blooms. They present a combination of two or more colors, such as purple and white or pink and white.