The genus Syringa contains between twelve and 25 species originally from Asia and Europe. Gardeners and botanists have brought numerous cultivated forms onto the market over time, which combine the most beautiful characteristics of their parent plants. They shine in different shades and each strain has its own flowering time.


Varieties of Syringa vulgaris are the most popular ornamental trees. The cultivated forms of this species, which is native to Europe, cope particularly well with the weather conditions, so that lush flowering can be expected from them. Even exotic breeds convince with good care with a rich bloom.

Tip: Plant the shrubs in autumn so that they can take root well before the next bloom.

Hyazinthenflieder (Syringa hyacinthiflora)

These flowering lilac varieties, whose inflorescences are reminiscent of hyacinths, were created by breeding the species Syringa vulgaris and Syringa oblata. They combine the positive properties of their parent plants and impress with a rich bloom that develops before the flowering period of the Syringa vulgaris hybrid. The varieties develop a bushy growth habit and exude their sweetish aroma in spring.

  • ‘Rosenrot’ flowers between April and May
  • ‘Esther Staley’ develops pink flowers from April to May
  • ‘Angel White’ forms alluring white flowers from May

Common lilac (Syringa vulgaris)

Cultivated forms of Syringa vulgaris, which are referred to as noble lilacs, combine an upright growth habit with lush flowers. The deciduous shrubs, which grow between three and six meters high, come from a wild species native to south-eastern Europe. This develops numerous panicles of flowers between mid-May and early June. The cultivated varieties also delight hobby gardeners at the beginning of summer with their exciting flowers.

  • ‘Emile Lemoine’ flowers from May to June
  • ‘Rustica’ with rose colored flowers between May and June
  • ‘Michel Buchner’ develops violet flowers between May and June

Canadian lilac (Syringa x prestoniae)

The varieties of the Prestoniae series come from breeding of the species Syringa komarowii subsp. reflexa × Syringa villosa. The flowering period of the shaggy lilac (Syringa villosa), native to China, extends from May to June. During this time, the arched lilac (Syringa komarowii subsp. reflexa), which is characterized by pyramid-shaped inflorescences, also blooms. Its flowers are bathed in pale pink, red, or lilac tones. The cultivated form of Canadian lilac is also offered as American lilac.

  • ‘Royalty’ with magenta flowers from May
  • ‘Redwine’ with intense red coloration between May and June
  • ‘Miss Canada’ flowers two to three weeks later than Syringa vulgaris

Hungarian lilac (Syringa josikaea)

The German name of this lilac shrub indicates its original distribution area. The shrub, which is up to 2.5 meters high, does not only grow in Hungary. Its habitat extends over the entire Carpathian region. A thermophilic species, it blooms when the insects are active. Between May and June, the panicles of flowers, up to 18 centimeters long, develop, which attract butterflies and wild bees with their purple hue and sweet scent. The numerous varieties expand the color palette with light and dark tones. The breeding forms took over the flowering period from the original plant.

  • ‘Holger’ flowers in June
  • ‘Oden’ develops purple flowers in June

Königsflieder (Syringa x chinensis)

The hybrids come from crossings of the species Syringa vulgaris and Syringa persica. The Persian lilac (Syringa persica) blooms in the months of May and June, when the common lilac is also in bloom. The breeds of royal lilac shine in full bloom later than the Syringa vulgaris hybrid. This makes them popular ornamental trees in areas endangered by late frost. They are among the most beautiful types of lilac, because the shrubs develop broad, bushy growth forms and hardly any root suckers. The arching overhanging panicles of flowers are characteristic. These lilac varieties turn out to be sun worshipers. Its blooms shine in full sun.

  • ‘Saugeana’ develops red-purple flowers
  • ‘Lilac Sunay’ with purple flowers
  • ‘Alba’ bears white flowers
  • ‘Laciniata’ has serrated leaves and light purple flowers

Japanese lilac (Syringa reticulata)

These shrubby or tree-like lilac varieties develop yellow or white flowers. They exude an intense scent reminiscent of privet. The Armur lilac (Syringa reticulata ssp. amurensis) is a subspecies that has become very popular as an ornamental tree. It opens its flowers between June and July. This flowering period is extended by the Peking lilac (Syringa reticulata ssp. pekinensis), as this subspecies begins to develop the first flowers in May. Its flowering period extends into August. The ‘Ivory Silk’ variety grows like a tree and delights the hobby gardener with bright flowers between June and July.

influencing factors

The flower development of the lilac bushes can be postponed if the spring is cold and rainy. If winter is quickly replaced by warm temperatures, some species bloom at the end of April. If the lilac is in a location that is too dark, it reacts with a limited willingness to bloom. An unsuitable substrate can also lead to the shrub not developing flowers. With targeted care measures, the intensity and duration of flowering can be influenced.

  • regularly cut off withered inflorescences
  • Cut back old plants radically to stimulate shoot formation
  • no pruning measures during the flowering period
Tip: Give the shrub some compost in the spring. This gives them a growth spurt and stimulates bud development.

The main flowering period of the varieties extends from May to June. There are exceptions with flowering time in spring. Exotic variants turn out to be late bloomers, blooming into August. But other factors also have a decisive influence on the flowering time. In addition to the weather, location and care play an important role.

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