Genus: Lilac

Syringa

Photo/Illustration: 
Andre Baranowski
Lilac (Syringa)
sih-RIN-gah
Oleaceae
Syringa are classic garden shrubs and small trees that bear deliciously fragrant, tubular flowers which capture the essence of spring. Out of bloom, they often fade into the background. Some species are grown as specimens or in groups in the lawn or shrub border; they also form a good privacy hedge. The flowers are beloved for bouquets, and when in bloom, hummingbirds and butterflies adorn them. 
Noteworthy characteristics:  Lilacs bear colorful panicles of tubular flowers which exude an exquisite and unique fragrance of their own. Lilacs are generally a forgiving bunch, tolerant of roadside sites and neglect. Most lilacs require a period of chilling dormancy. Because they are fire-retardant, they can be considered for planting near homes that are susceptible to wildfires.
Care:  Grow in reasonably fertile, well-drained soil in full sun; prefers neutral to slightly alkaline soil. Plant in areas with good air circulation to thwart disease. Promptly deadhead spent blossoms to produce more robust blooms for the following year. Prune lightly (or renovate S. vulgaris ) in late winter or early spring to maintain a healthy framework, remembering that most species form flowers on the previous season's growth.
Propagation: 

Sow seed in a cold frame when fresh or in the spring. Take softwood cuttings or layer in early summer. Graft in winter; bud in summer.

Problems: 

Powdery mildew, dieback, leafroll virus, mycoplasma-like organisms (MLO), root knot nematode, Verticillium wilt, witches' broom, bacterial leaf spot, anthracnose, borers, scale, caterpillars.

Species, varieties and clutivars for genus Syringa

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Thumbelina lilac
Syringa 'Bailina'
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Lilac
Syringa pubescens
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Littleleaf lilac
Syringa pubescens  ssp. microphylla 'Superba'
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Manchurian lilac
Syringa pubescens subsp. patula 'Miss Kim'
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Common lilac
Syringa vulgaris 'Henri Robert'
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Common lilac
Syringa vulgaris 'Krasavitsa Moskvy'
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Common lilac
Syringa vulgaris 'Primrose'
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Common lilac
Syringa vulgaris 'Sensation'
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Chinese lilac
Syringa × chinensis
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Chinese lilac
Syringa  × chinensis 'Lilac Sunday'
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Lilac
Syringa  × hyacinthiflora 'Mount Baker'
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Cut-leaf lilac
Syringa × laciniata
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Preston lilac
Syringa  × prestoniae 'Miss Canada'