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Common Name:

Common Lilac

Scientific Name:

Syringa vulgaris

Family Name:



Common Lilac is the old-fashioned lilac of commerce grown throughout cool temperate regions of the world. It suckers at the base to form an upright rounded crown of coarse textured stems with bluish green cordate leaves. The legendary fragrant terminal panicles of flowers burst forth in early to mid-spring. Unfortunately, lilacs to not perform well in USDA zones 8 and warmer and are marginally vigorous in zone 7. This medium to large shrub requires regular pruning to maintain a suitable shape.

Plant Habit or Use:

Shrub, medium shrub, large shrub



Flower Color:

Dense 3 inch to 8 inch long terminal panicles of lilac, blue-purple, white, to magenta,

Blooming Period:


Fruit Characteristics:

Capsules, not showy


4 ft to 8 ft (12 ft)


4 ft to 8 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: Medium Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Medium Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Low Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: Medium Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

4, 5, 6, 7

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region D - West Texas
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

This species is highly susceptible to powdery mildew infections and lilac borer damage. Both are worse in warm climates. Well drained soils are also required.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.