Lilac varieties are a must-have in every garden; whether you want a bushy shrub covered in purple blooms or a single tall tree with white flowers, we’ve got the lowdown on the 24 best lilac varieties.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to standouts like ‘President Lincoln’, ‘Sensation’, and ‘Ivory Silk’ along with tips to ensure your lilacs thrive for many bloom seasons to come.
So whether you’re looking to attract pollinators with fabulous fragrance or decorate your deck with a splash of color, one of these prized lilac varieties is sure to delight. Let’s get started uncovering the perfect lilac for your garden!
JUMP TO TOPIC
- The Top Best Lilac Varieties For Vibrant Spring Color
- 1. President Lincoln
- 2. Sensation
- 3. Ivory Silk
- 4. Katherine Havemeyer
- 5. Miss Kim
- 6. Lavender Lady
- 7. Purple Wave
- 8. Andenken an Ludwig Spaeth
- 9. Bela Lugosi
- 10. Krasavitsa Moskvy
- 11. Montrose
- 12. Sibirica Blue
- 13. Margaret Mermaid
- 14. Wedgewood Blue
- 15. Krasnyi Yarenga
- 16. Charming
- 17. Guardian
- 18. Miss Canada
- 19. James MacFarlane
- 20. Nancys Pink Perfection
- 21. Purpurea
- 22. Charles Joly
- 23. Double Purple
- 24. Miss Kim Dwarf
The Top Best Lilac Varieties For Vibrant Spring Color
1. President Lincoln
‘President Lincoln’ lilac is a favorite amongst common lilac varieties. It is prized for its fragrant purple flowers that bloom in early spring. Its upright, vase-shaped habit and dense foliage make it a popular choice for privacy hedges and screening in the landscape. With consistent pruning right after flowering, ‘President Lincoln’ lilac will maintain a neat, compact shape that encourages even more abundant blooms the following spring.
‘President Lincoln’ lilac typically grows into a graceful shrub, reaching heights between eight to 10 feet tall and just as wide at maturity. The flowers emerge with an intense deep purple color in thick sprays along the young stems in spring, often before the leaves have fully developed. The profuse blooms and dull green foliage combine to give this lilac variety its statuesque and lush appearance, epitomizing the beauty of common lilacs in the spring garden.
Regular pruning throughout summer will help maintain an orderly branched habit that allows the abundant blooms to flourish each spring for many years. The neat, dense form of ‘President Lincoln’ continues to provide screening and privacy throughout the growing season thanks to its upright growth habit and glossy foliage.
‘Sensation’ lilac is considered an exciting addition to any spring garden owing to its profusion of coral-pink double flowers. The coral-pink petals are tightly packed together in arching stems, an effect that gives this flowering lilac tree variety its charm. ‘Sensation’ delights gardeners with both its profusion of blooms as well as its contrasting delicate dark green leaves that emerge after the flowers fade.
Regular deadheading of spent flowers after they bloom will always encourage a second flush of blooms later in the spring season, extending the flowering display. Sensation lilac typically grows into a neat, upright, vase-shaped shrub with arching branches and flowering stems. The young branches are often lined with panicles upon panicles of vivid coral pink double blossoms that truly brighten the spring garden scape.
Their lovely fragrance perfumes the surrounding area, welcoming bees and other beneficial insects. At maturity, a ‘Sensation’ lilac shrub reaches heights between eight to 10 feet tall and nearly just as wide, forming an eye-catching specimen plant in the landscape. Its arching branches, heavy with double coral pink blooms, create a lively display of movement when swayed by gentle spring breezes.
The tidy habit and ample blooming of ‘Sensation’ lilac make it a charming and delightful addition to any garden, its dark green foliage providing structure and vibrant color contrast once the very last of its fragrant blossoms has faded.
3. Ivory Silk
‘Ivory Silk’ lilac is valued by many gardeners for its cascading sprays of pure ivory white blossoms. The flowers emerge in late spring after most other lilac varieties have finished blooming, extending the lilac season. Staking the upright branches when young will help this lilac tree develop a strong and sturdy branching structure to adequately support its copious flowering display.
‘Ivory Silk’ grows into a large and upright deciduous shrub, ultimately reaching heights between eight to 10 feet tall at maturity. The sweetly fragrant ivory-white flowers attract beneficial insects like pollinating bees and stand out vibrantly against the dark green foliage that appears after the blooms fade.
Deadheading the spent flowers after they have finished blooming often encourages a second flush of blooms to emerge in mid to late summer, further prolonging the flowering display throughout the growing season.
The showy sprays of pure white flowers create a dramatic effect when backlit by the evening sun, seeming to glow nearly luminous against the dark shadows of dusk. When fully mature, ‘Ivory Silk’s upright and vase-shaped habit provides an elegant vertical accent to the perennial border or foundation planting, where its profuse flowering can be enjoyed up close.
4. Katherine Havemeyer
‘Katherine Havemeyer’ lilac is prized for its large panicles of striking, deep reddish purple flowers that bloom in mid-spring. Its upright rounded habit, coupled with its glossy foliage, make this lilac shrub variety an eye-catching addition to the spring garden. Regular pruning right after flowering helps maintain the plant’s compact and neat rounded form for years.
‘Katherine Havemeyer’ lilac typically grows into a dense rounded shrub with a spreading habit, ultimately reaching heights between five to seven feet tall and just as wide. The enormous flower trusses feature fragrant deep purplish red blossoms that are intensely colored and arise from the mid to upper stems during bloom time. As the individual flowers fade, the dark green elliptic leaves emerge to provide an attractive backdrop throughout the summer months.
The glossy foliage remains attractive until autumn, when it takes on shades of yellow and orange before dropping for the winter. The profuse display of deep reddish purple blooms against the tidy rounded form and lustrous foliage make ‘Katherine Havemeyer’ lilac a truly striking addition to the spring garden bed.
It is medium size, and dense branching habits allow the blossoms to be enjoyed up close, perfuming the air with their clean fragrance that welcomes pollinators. Regular yearly pruning just after flowering helps maintain ‘Katherine Havemeyer’ compact, ornamental shape for many years of blossoming beauty.
5. Miss Kim
‘Miss Kim’ lilac is valued for its profuse double violet-purple flowers that emerge during mid-spring. The flowers appear before the leaves emerge, adding a burst of colorful blossoms to the garden. The glossy elliptic leaves eventually emerge after the blooms fade, contributing a neat texture to the landscape.
‘Miss Kim’ lilac grows into a compact, rounded shrub reaching heights of four to five feet tall at maturity. The fragrant double violet-purple blossoms attract pollinators like bees who are drawn in by their vivid color. The glabrous elliptic leaves, which means hairless or smooth-surfaced, offer a neat and uniform texture to the shrub once they emerge. By pruning the branches right after flowering has finished, ‘Miss Kim’ lilac is encouraged to develop a fuller and more bushy habit for the next season’s blossoms.
The abundance of double violet-purple flowers that completely cover ‘Miss Kim’ lilac during mid-spring makes it a valuable addition to the garden landscape at that time of year. Its compact size and rounded habit, coupled with its neat and glossy foliage, contribute to the plant’s ability to add visual interest out of proportion to its modest stature. Regular pruning directly after flowering is key to maintaining ‘Miss Kim’s’ neat and compact shape for many years.
6. Lavender Lady
‘Lavender Lady’ lilac bears large trusses of elegant lavender colored flowers in mid-spring, before the leaves emerge on the plant. Its upright rounded habit, fine-textured foliage, and clean fragrance combine to make ‘Lavender Lady’ an elegant choice for the landscape design of gardens and yards.
‘Lavender Lady’ lilac typically grows into a large, rounded deciduous shrub with a spreading habit, ultimately reaching heights of 10 to 15 feet tall and nearly as wide at maturity. The sweetly fragrant lavender blooms arise in generous panicles from the upper stems of the plant in mid-spring. The elliptic glossy dark green leaves emerge after the flowers have faded, adding a nice texture to the plant through the summer months.
The large trusses of elegant, lightly fragrant lavender blossoms contrast beautifully against the clean, fine texture of the foliage, resulting in an elegant and graceful form that fits well into both traditional and modern garden designs. At maturity, ‘Lavender Lady’ lilacs create a large rounded mass of foliage and flowers that can anchor a border, frame an entrance, or provide a vertical accent in a wide planting bed. Regular pruning after flowering each spring helps maintain the plant’s upright rounded habit over many years.
7. Purple Wave
‘Purple Wave’ lilac has earned its name due to its gracefully cascading panicles of purplish pink double blooms that emerge in mid-spring. The flower panicles can grow quite long, reaching between 12 to 18 inches and waving like waves in the spring breeze. Regular pruning of the shrub right after flowering each year helps maintain an attractive, wave-like shape.
‘Purfive to seven feet tall and wide at maturity. The elliptic glossy dark green leaves emerge after the flowers fade in spring, adding a nice texture to the shrub through the summer months. The double purplish pink blooms themselves have a fragrance that has been identified as sweet, spicy, and fruity.
The long, cascading panicles of purplish pink double flowers truly give ‘Purple Wave’ lilac its name, waving gracefully on the springtime breeze and attracting hummingbirds and butterflies with their fruity fragrance. At maturity, ‘Purple Wave’ forms an irregularly rounded mound of foliage and flowering stems that add an informal, curved shape to the landscape.
Regular pruning right after flowering each spring encourages more panicles of freely-arching blossoms the following year and helps maintain the shrub’s attractive, mounded habit over many years in the garden.
8. Andenken an Ludwig Spaeth
‘Andenken an Ludwig Spaeth’ lilac bears panicles of reddish purple single blooms in mid-spring before the foliage emerges. The flowers have a pleasant fragrance that aromas the garden.
‘Andenken an Ludwig Spaeth’ grows into an irregularly rounded shrub with arching branches, reaching six to 10 feet tall and wide. The ovate, glossy green leaves emerge after blooming, giving the plant a good structure for summer. The profuse reddish purple single flowers truly brighten the spring garden.
9. Bela Lugosi
‘Bela Lugosi’ lilac is known for its prolific panicles of unusually colored true purple flowers that bloom in late spring. This true purple color is quite rare among lilacs and is what makes this lilac tree variety a popular choice among collectors. Regular pruning helps shape the branches and encourages more prolific flowering on this specimen plant.
‘Bela Lugosi’ grows into an upright and open, branching tree form, ultimately reaching heights of 10 to 15 feet tall at maturity. The panicles of true purple single blooms have a pleasant, fragrant perfume. The narrow elliptic foliage emerges after the flowers fade in late spring and early summer, giving this lilac tree a neatly textured and finely branched appearance.
The distinctive true purple blooms of ‘Bela Lugosi’ lilac stand out dramatically against the finely textured foliage, creating a showy visual contrast in the spring garden. When in full bloom, this lilac tree variety produces an abundance of true purple flowers that perfume the surrounding area with their pleasant fragrance.
At maturity, ‘Bela Lugosi’ makes a striking specimen plant for the back of a border or garden bed where its upright branching habit and bold blooms can be enjoyed. Regular pruning after flowering helps maintain an open branching form that encourages even more prolific flowering on this ornamental lilac tree the following spring
10. Krasavitsa Moskvy
‘Krasavitsa Moskvy’ lilac is valued for its large trusses of fragrant lavender purple blossoms that face upward when in bloom during mid-spring. The abundant flowers coupled with its compact rounded habit make this lilac shrub well suited for smaller gardens with limited space.
‘Krasavitsa Moskvy’ lilac typically grows into a dense, compact rounded deciduous shrub, ultimately reaching heights between six to eight feet tall and nearly as wide at maturity. The panicles of fragrant lavender purple buds open to reveal double blooms with darker purple color at the center. The narrow elliptic leaves that emerge after blooming are glabrous, meaning hairless or smooth, and give the plant a uniform texture that provides good structure through fall before dropping for winter.
The abundance of fragrant lavender purple blooms that face upward on the panicles when fully open truly set ‘Krasavitsa Moskvy’ lilac apart. At maturity, this lilac shrub produces ample blossoms that perfume the surrounding area. Its compact rounded habit and neat, uniform foliage allow the abundant flowers to be appreciated up close.
Regular pruning right after flowering each year helps maintain ‘Krasavitsa Moskvy’s’ ideal size and shape for smaller gardens, creating an oasis of color during mid-spring that attracts beneficial insects with its sweet fragrance.
‘Montrose’ lilac produces masses of reddish-purple flowers in early spring. It boasts a graceful rounded form and foliage that turns burgundy in fall. Regular pruning will keep an evenly branched, full shape.
‘Montrose’ forms a large rounded bush, growing eight to 12 feet tall and wide. The fragrant dark reddish-purple blooms are dark for a common lilac. Elliptic glossy green leaves emerge after flowering and turn beautiful shades of burgundy and crimson in fall.
12. Sibirica Blue
‘Sibirica Blue’ lilac produces profuse trusses of blue flowers in mid-spring. The bloom time makes it a good choice to extend the lilac season in the landscape. Regular pruning will shape it into a small tree.
‘Sibirica Blue’ grows into an upright tree form, approaching 10 to 15 feet tall with a narrow canopy. Trusses of sky-blue fragrant blooms appear before the elliptic entire dark green foliage emerges. The bluish leaves add a unique color to the landscape throughout summer.
13. Margaret Mermaid
‘Margaret Mermaid’ lilac produces double lavender-pink flowers with burgundy spots in mid-spring. This variety boasts unique and unusual blooms that make quite a floral display. Regular pruning maintains a tidy shape.
‘Margaret Mermaid’ typically grows into a medium-rounded shrub, reaching five to eight feet tall. The panicles of double blooms feature lavender-pink petals with burgundy spotting. The linear foliage emerges after blooming and provides texture through summer.
14. Wedgewood Blue
‘Wedgewood Blue’ lilac features trusses of unique pleasantly fragrant blue and lavender blossoms in mid-spring. The unusual color and fragrance of its flowers make it a classic and sought-after variety.
‘Wedgewood Blue’ grows into an upright oval shrub, reaching six to eight feet tall at maturity. The panicles of blue and lavender flowers arise from young wood. The elliptic to oblong foliage emerges once blooms fade and brings summer interest to the garden. Regular shaping prunings after flowering keep their shape uniform.
15. Krasnyi Yarenga
‘Krasnyi Yarenga’ lilac features reddish purple flowers in upright panicles in early spring. This upright lilac tree has a graceful branching habit and good winter hardiness. Regular pruning helps shape it.
‘Krasnyi Yarenga’ grows into an upright tree form, reaching 15 to 20 feet tall. The fragrant reddish-purple blooms in upright panicles truly brighten the spring garden. The oblong leaves with pointed tips emerge after flowers fade and give the tree a good structure through summer.
‘Charming’ lilac produces a profusion of pinkish-purple double blooms in early spring before its foliage begins. This compact shrub lilac variety boasts generous blooming and a tidy mounded form that is well suited for small gardens.
‘Charming’ typically grows into a rounded compact shrub, reaching three to four feet tall and nearly as wide. The abundant double-flower panicles emerge a pale pinkish lavender and darken to purple as they age. The elliptic dark green foliage unfurls once blooms fade and stays neat and attractive through summer.
‘Guardian’ lilac varieties produce fragrant reddish-purple flowers in early spring. The upright habit and disease resistance of this lilac shrub makes it a reliable landscape addition. Regular pruning maintains a compact shape.
‘Guardian’ grows into an upright rounded shrub reaching five to seven feet tall and nearly as wide. The fragrant reddish-purple blooms emerge from young wood in big trusses. The elliptic glossy green foliage emerges after flowers fade and remains attractive through summer.
18. Miss Canada
‘Miss Canada’ lilac features large panicles of double reddish-purple flowers in mid-spring before its foliage emerges. The abundant blossoms and compact rounded habit make this lilac shrub a standout variety.
‘Miss Canada’ grows into a low-mounded shrub, reaching three to five feet tall and nearly as wide. Abundant panicles of double reddish-purple flowers cover the stems through mid-spring. The elliptic to ovate glossy foliage emerges once blooms fade and remains neat through summer. Regular pruning after flowering helps maintain its compact size.
19. James MacFarlane
‘James MacFarlane’ lilac produces panicles of stunning double white flowers in mid-spring. This visually striking white lilac shrub makes quite a show in spring landscapes. Regular pruning keeps it in shape.
‘James MacFarlane’ typically grows into a rounded spreading shrub reaching five to eight feet tall and wide at maturity. The fragrant double-white flowers emerge in large panicles from young stems. The elliptic glossy dark green leaves unfurl once blooms fade and provide attractive foliage through summer.
20. Nancys Pink Perfection
‘Nancys Pink Perfection’ lilac bears an abundance of double pink flowers in mid-spring. The clean foliage, neat rounded form, and pale pink hue make this lilac shrub a lovely addition to the landscape.
‘Nancys Pink Perfection’ typically grows into a compact rounded shrub reaching four to five feet tall and nearly as wide. Abundant panicles of double soft pink flowers cover the stems. The oblanceolate glossy dark green foliage emerges once blooms fade and remains attractive through summer. Regular pruning after flowering maintains its compact size.
‘Purpurea’ lilac is valued for its fragrant reddish-purple flowers that appear in early spring. The flowers emerge before the neat elliptic glossy dark green foliage. This produces a tidy rounded shrub that is versatile and adaptable, working well in many landscapes.
The shrub forms a compact rounded shape, typically growing to four to six feet tall and nearly as wide. The fragrant reddish-purple flowers emerge in large panicles before the neat elliptic glossy dark green foliage unfurls in spring. The attractive foliage remains throughout summer, staying neat and tidy.
Regular pruning maintains the rounded shape of ‘Purpurea’ lilac and encourages repeat flowering. Pruning immediately after bloom helps promote healthy new growth for the following spring’s floral display.
With its fragrant spring blooms, attractive foliage, and adaptable nature, ‘Purpurea’ lilac offers gardens a tidy rounded flowering shrub that requires relatively little care apart from periodic pruning.
22. Charles Joly
‘Charles Joly’ lilac produces fragrant reddish-purple flowers in late spring after most other lilacs have finished blooming. This flowering extends the enjoyment of lilacs in the garden.
‘Charles Joly’ grows into a tidy small tree form, reaching 10 to 15 feet tall. Fragrant reddish-purple flowers emerge in panicles from young stems in the upper crown. The elliptic to ovate glossy dark green leaves unfurl once blooms fade and provide attractive foliage through summer. Regular pruning after flowering helps maintain a well-shaped small tree.
23. Double Purple
‘Double Purple’ lilac produces large trusses of double purple flowers in mid-spring. The extra petals and rounded form of the flowers make this lilac shrub a unique choice. Regular pruning maintains a uniform habit.
‘Double Purple’ typically grows into a spreading shrub, approaching five to eight feet tall and wide at maturity. The fragrant double purple flowers emerge in large trusses from stems. The elliptic glossy dark green foliage emerges once blooms fade and stay attractive through summer.
This lilac is one of the best options if you looking for a low-maintenance yet unique variety of lilac flowers.
24. Miss Kim Dwarf
‘Miss Kim Dwarf’ lilac boasts a low compact form and abundant violet-purple flowers in mid-spring, same as other varieties of lilac. The compact size and abundance of blooms make this lilac shrub well-suited for small gardens.
‘Miss Kim Dwarf’ typically grows into a low spreading shrub, reaching three to four feet tall and nearly as wide. Abundant panicles of violet-purple blossoms cover the plant in mid-spring. The oblong to elliptic glossy leaves emerge once blooms fade and provide attractive foliage through summer.
Regular pruning after flowering helps maintain its small size and gives a very elegant look to your garden or home.
Whether you prefer classic French hybrids with their intoxicating fragrance, unusual color forms with true purple blooms, or compact shrubs that overflow with double flowers, there is a lilac suited just for you.
- Wedgewood Blue’ lilac features trusses of unique, pleasantly fragrant blue and lavender blossoms in mid-spring
- Krasnyi Yarenga’ lilac features reddish purple flowers in upright panicles in early spring. This upright lilac tree has a graceful branching habit and good winter hardiness
- Margaret Mermaid’ lilac produces double lavender-pink flowers with burgundy spots in mid spring.
- Montrose’ forms a large rounded bush, growing eight to 12 feet tall and wide. The fragrant dark reddish-purple blooms are dark for a common lilac
- ‘Lavender Lady’ lilac bears large trusses of elegant lavender-colored flowers in mid-spring before the leaves emerge on the plant.
Lilacs are some of spring’s most beloved flowers, with their frothy panicles heralding the end of dreary winter and ushering in a new season of growth and color. Add one or more of these prized lilac varieties to your garden this year and watch as they transform your outdoor space come April and May, attracting pollinators with their alluring fragrance and cheery blooms.