Syringa Vulgaris Varieties

The fragrance of common lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) that has wafted home gardens' spring air for generations evokes happy memories for millions of gardeners. Lilac's popularity has led to the introduction of numerous shrub varieties with a wide range of flower colors and forms. Their attractive green foliage is a beautiful backdrop for other blooming plants. These are extremely hardy, sun-loving shrubs. Some cultivars tolerate temperatures as low as minus 60 degrees F, according to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.

'Agincourt Beauty'

Like many common lilacs, 'Agincourt Beauty' stands from 8 to 15 feet high and up to 12 feet wide. This cultivar is notable for its heavy, rich-purple flower spikes. Their individual blooms are nearly grape-sized. Flowers almost obscure the shrub's oval- or heart-shaped green foliage in April and May. Quick removal of the spent flower heads results in heavier bloom the following spring, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. Agincourt Beauty likes average, well-drained soil. Although it blooms best in full sun, its color is most vibrant in partial shade.

'Little Boy Blue'

'Little Boy Blue' (Syringa vulgaris Little Boy Blue) is a dwarf, 1989 cultivar also known as Wonderblue. Standing from 3 to 5 feet high, it has a rounded form and clusters of single, lavender-tinged pale blue blooms. Although four-petaled blooms are typical of Syringa vulgaris, Little Boy Blue is a multipetaled variety, according to Australia's Lottah Nursery.


Syringa vulgaris 'Sensation' grows up to 10 feet high. It has purple to red-violet, white-edged, single blooms. They are most impressive in locations where their variegated effect is noticeable to passersby, according to the University of Connecticut Plant Database.


Usually advertised as a yellow lilac, 'Primrose' is a 1949 cultivar with creamy-white to creamy yellow blooms. A cool growing season may enhance Primrose's yellow coloring, according to the University of Connecticut Plant Database. Placing it next to a true white lilac may also make it appear yellow in comparison. Regardless of their color, Primrose' blooms contrast strikingly with its green foliage. Primrose grows to 12 feet high and wide.

'Krasavitska Moskvy'

A tall, relatively narrow shrub--12 feet high and 8 wide--'Krasavitska Moskvy' is a 1947 Russian cultivar. Sometimes called Beauty of Moscow, it's notable for light pink buds that produce double, pink-tinged, white blooms. The flowers become increasingly white as they age. The overall effect is flower clusters with simultaneous shades of pink and white, according to the University of Connecticut Plant Database.

'President Lincoln'

A lilac cultivar appearing in 1916. 'President Lincoln' grows rapidly to 8 feet high, with an up-to-10-foot spread. Its loose clusters of single-flowered blooms are the closest to true blue of any common lilac's, according to the University of Connecticut Plant Database.

Keywords: syringa vulgaris types, common lilac varieties, Sensation lilac, President Lincoln lilac, yellow lilac

About this Author

A freelance writer, Judy Wolfe has owned Prose for the Pros, a freelance writing business, since 2006. She's been an inveterate traveler since 1961 and draws on her travel experiences to provide articles for such websites as Chincoteague Island Vacations and Berlin Dude. Wolfe holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from California State University at Pomona.