Syringa (Syringa reticula), or the Japanese lilac tree, is a deciduous plant ranging in size from a medium-sized shrub to a small tree, depending on the variety. Although it is commonly called a “lilac” it is quite different in appearance and scent than most other types of lilacs. The large, usually white clusters of flowers are highly showy but do not have a fragrance. Syringa trees, in general, are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) growing zones 3a through 7a, according to the University of Florida.
Summer Snow has a pleasingly rounded canopy and compact form. This variety reaches a maximum height of only 20 feet and is quite hardy, according to the University of Connecticut, making it an excellent choice for a street tree that may be situated under power lines. Summer Snow also features huge, creamy white flower panicles.
Chantilly Lace has variegated foliage with pale yellow blotches on the margins. The colors are brighter when the tree is not placed in direct afternoon sunlight. It is also not as drought-tolerant as other varieties, so this tree needs to be well irrigated during periods of dry, hot weather.
Yellow Cream is similar in form and culture to Chantilly Lace. The primary difference is the pattern of variegation. In Yellow Cream, the foliage looks like it has been splashed with creamy yellow paint, rather than just marked on the edges of the leaves.
Ivory Silk is the most commonly sold variety of syringa, according to the University of Connecticut. This tree can grow up to 30 feet tall and is a prolific bloomer, even when young. The flowers only bloom on alternate years, but the foliage is dark green and glossy, and contrasts nicely with the rich, reddish-brown color of the bark. The canopy is oval-shaped rather than round. This variety is known for being pest-resistant.