Wonderfully Fragrant Purple and White Lilac Bushes for Your Garden

Let’s say you want to fill a sunny spot in your yard with some old-fashioned, sweet-smelling garden treats. We’re going to assume that you already love lilacs but aren’t sure which kind is best for you since you’re here. Let’s break the selection process down a bit and take a closer look at some of your options.

Lilacs come in 25 species and thousands of cultivars, so it’s not surprising that you feel overwhelmed. They can grow to be 3 to 30 feet tall and bloom profusely from late spring to early summer. Before you start looking, make a list of what you want. Is it a privacy screen, a formal hedge, an ornamental tree, or a small accent shrub? This will help you find varieties that will work in your yard.

Lilacs are usually put into three groups: flowering shrubs (between 6 and 15 feet tall), dwarf shrubs (less than 6 feet tall), and trees (over 15 feet tall). It’s possible for some of these headings to overlap and be vague, but they will help you narrow down your choices and find the right lilac for the right spot.

Lilacs are treasured spring-blooming shrubs known for their beautifully colored and sweetly scented flower clusters. Among the many lovely varieties, purple and white lilacs with their striking two-tone blooms are especially prized additions to gardens and landscapes. Let’s explore some of the best purple and white lilac bushes to highlight in your outdoor space.

Sensation – The Classic Purple and White Lilac

One of the most popular bicolor lilac varieties is ‘Sensation’, loved for its fragrant blooms combining single purple flowers edged in white. In mid to late spring, the sturdy bushes erupt with dense panicles up to 8 inches long, annoucing the arrival of warmer weather ‘Sensation’ lilacs grow 8-10 feet tall and wide, forming multi-stemmed shrubs They are cold hardy in USDA zones 3-7.

With its wonderfully nostalgic scent and vivid purple and white flowers, ‘Sensation’ makes a beautiful specimen plant or informal flowering hedge. It also works nicely in mixed borders or cottage gardens. Give it full sun exposure and well-drained soil for optimal growth and blooms. Prune spent flowers right after blooming to encourage more growth and flowers next season.

Pretty in Pink and White: Matilda Lilac

For a more pastel take on the bicolor theme, consider Matilda lilac (Syringa vulgaris ‘Matilda’). Introduced in 2015, this lovely variety opens soft pink buds edged in white. The flowers emit a lighter, sweeter scent compared to traditional lilacs. Matilda lilac grows around 8 feet tall and 5-6 feet wide, with an upright oval form. It thrives in full sun and is hardy to zone 3.

Matilda’s cottage garden charm is perfect for informal hedges, borders, and accent planting The more demure blooms contrast beautifully with vibrant purple and magenta lilacs Plant en masse for a gorgeously perfumed display. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage reblooming.

Creamy White and Lilac Beauty: Beauty of Moscow

Among white and purple lilacs, ‘Beauty of Moscow’ stands out for its enormous, fully double blooms. The flower buds emerge soft lilac then open into large, creamy white panicles up to 10 inches long. Their sweet, heady fragrance perfumes the garden in late spring.

On upright, multi-stemmed shrubs reaching 10-12 feet tall and 8 feet wide, the abundant creamy white and lilac blooms make a spectacular display in borders, walkways, and informal hedges. Beauty of Moscow lilac performs best in full sun and well-drained soil in zones 3-7. Prune right after flowering.

Elegant Purple-Edged White: President Grevy

The beautifully formed blooms of President Grevy lilac (Syringa vulgaris ‘President Grevy’) epitomize old-world charm. Abundant panicles to 10 inches long feature delicate sprays of double lilac-blue flowers edged in white. Its sweet fragrance fills the garden in mid to late spring.

On upright, multi-stemmed shrubs reaching 10-12 feet tall, the abundance of long-lasting two-tone blooms creates a striking display. Plant President Grevy as a focal point or hedge to enjoy the elegantly nostalgic blooms. It thrives in full sun and zones 3-7.

Dwarf Scented Surprise: Dwarf Korean

For smaller spaces, Dwarf Korean lilac (Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’) provides wonderfully scented spring blooms and compact growth. On densely twiggy shrubs reaching just 4-5 feet tall and wide, the small panicles of single lavender-pink flowers edged in white open in late spring above glossy green leaves.

With year-round interest from its neat habit, Dwarf Korean lilac fits nicely into rock gardens, mixed borders, and foundation plantings. It prefers full sun exposure and zones 3-7. Prune after flowering to maintain its petite size and encourage more blooms.

Standards Bring Lilacs to Small Gardens

Gardeners with limited space can enjoy fragrant lilacs in tree or standard form. Grafted atop tall trunks, dwarf varieties like Tinkerbelle lilac display their colorful blooms at eye level without consuming much ground space. Tinkerbelle features deep wine-red buds opening to strongly scented panicles of single purple flowers edged in white. The petite shrubby canopy reaches just 4-5 feet across at maturity.

Designing With Purple and White Lilacs

When incorporating purple and white lilacs into your landscape design, keep these tips in mind:

  • Place them near outdoor living spaces to best appreciate the scent.

  • Mass planting creates a vivid spring display.

  • Contrast with pink, magenta, or blue lilac varieties for added interest.

  • Underplant with spring bulbs like tulips or late daffodils.

  • Surround with white and pastel flowering perennials and shrubs.

  • Use as informal hedging or property line screening.

  • Show off standard forms in containers on patios and entrances.

  • Prune annually right after flowering to maintain plant health.

Caring for Purple and White Lilacs

To keep your purple and white lilacs looking their best, be sure to:

  • Select a location with at least 6 hours of direct sun daily.

  • Prepare soil well by amending with compost to improve drainage.

  • Water lilacs regularly the first season, then just during dry spells.

  • Apply a balanced fertilizer in early spring. Avoid high nitrogen.

  • Prune out dead or damaged wood anytime.

  • Remove spent flower clusters promptly after blooming.

  • Watch for common pests like borers, scale, and mildew.

  • Protect from harsh winter winds to avoid damage.

With their romantically nostalgic blooms and unforgettable fragrance, few flowering shrubs rival the beauty of purple and white lilacs. Make room for one of these classics in your own garden design to enjoy their spectacular springtime display.

Syringa reticulata ‘Chantilly Lace’

Syringa reticulata ‘Chantilly Lace’ has pale cream-yellow variegated leaves. It should be placed away from the direct midday sun.

  • Bloom time: early summer
  • Size: 20-30 feet tall, 15-20 feet spread
  • Flower color: ivory
  • Use: Part-shade locations

This cultivar has glossy green leaves with cream-colored edges and big ivory flowers. It is known for having variegated leaves.

Syringa reticulata ‘Elliot’ has abundant white flower stalks and is resistant to urban conditions.

  • Bloom time: Late spring to early summer
  • Size: 20 feet high, 15 feet wide
  • Flower color: White
  • Use: Shade tree or accent
  • Chinese Tree Lilacs

Smooth, steel-gray bark gives this one a striking winter profile. Habit is dense and upright.

Also early summer bloomers, Chinese tree lilacs send out yellow-white, honey scented flower clusters en masse. Smaller in size at 10-20 feet high and 10-15 feet wide, with a more delicate leaf and branch structure, this species is often selected for its unusual bark characteristics and winter interest. Its cinnamon to amber colored bark exfoliates in sheets and peels later in the season.

Syringa Reticulata ‘Ivory Pillar’

Syringa Reticulata ‘Ivory Pillar’ is a pretty tree that blooms with fragrant, creamy white flowers in late spring.

  • Bloom time: late spring
  • Size: 25 feet tall, 15 feet wide
  • Flower color: cream
  • Use: Privacy screen or small space ornamental

Selected for its narrow, pyramidal form, Ivory Pillar is significantly taller than it is wide.

Top 5 Most Beautiful Lilacs | NatureHills.com


What is the most popular lilac bush?

The common Lilac, Syringa vulgaris, and French Lilacs are particularly popular for their large, aromatic clusters of springtime flowers.

Can you plant white and purple lilacs together?

I have just purchased a new variety that is deep purple with white edges. Can I plant it close to the other one or will the new one gradually look like the old ones? Master Gardener Mary Johnson responds: Lilacs, unlike some perennials, will not be affected by planting near another variety of lilac.

What are the purple lilacs with white edges?

Syringa vulgaris ‘Sensation’ In midspring this unique cultivar bears slightly fragrant, single purple blossoms with distinct white margins. It forms a shrub 12 feet high by 8 feet wide.

Where should you not plant lilac bushes?

The ideal spot to plant lilacs is in an area with full sun (at least 6 to 8 hours per day)—give them too much shade and they may not bloom.

What does a purple lilac bush look like?

Syringa vulgaris – the common purple lilac plant – looks like a large flowering bush with dense foliage and cone-like blooms. Lilac shrubs are in the Oleaceae family, which means they are related to the olive tree, jasmine, ash tree, and forsythia shrubs. Gardeners love the common lilac bush for its fragrant blue, pink, purple, or white flowers.

What color are lilac flowers?

The most common shades of lilac flowers are light purple or a vibrant lavender color. However, other colors of lilac flowers can be white, yellow, burgundy, or varying shades of pink. Lilac flowers only bloom for a short time and they are usually a sign that summer has arrived.

Are lilac shrubs hardy?

Lilac shrubs are in the Oleaceae family, which means they are related to the olive tree, jasmine, ash tree, and forsythia shrubs. Gardeners love the common lilac bush for its fragrant blue, pink, purple, or white flowers. Lilac plants are also hardy shrubs that don’t require much maintenance and can grow almost anywhere.

What is a lilac bush?

The heart-shaped deciduous green leaves and attractive growth habit make lilac bush a valuable addition to borders and foundation plantings. Lilacs can also be used as hedging, screening, as a focal point, or in containers. How to plant: Choose a site that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight.

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