You are here

Common Lilac

Syringa vulgaris ‘cv.’
This southeastern European shrub has been in cultivation since the mid sixteenth century, and in North America since the 1700s. Jefferson first planted lilacs at his childhood home, Shadwell, in 1767 and, later, at Monticello in 1771. An ancient clump of purple lilacs, believed to exist from Jefferson's time, stands on the northern slope of Monticello. Many horticultural forms were developed in France during the mid-nineteenth century. Its large, extremely fragrant clusters of flowers bloom in mid to late spring with colors range from deep lavender to pink and white. Today it is estimated that over four-hundred clones exist in cultivation. The following are early French hybrids still available: double red 'Charles Joly' (1896); double white 'Edith Cavell' (1916) and 'Ellen Willmott'; double lilac 'Michael Buchner' (1885); double pink 'Katherine Havemeyer' (1922); singe reddish-purple 'Monge' (1913); double blue 'President Grevy' and single lavender-blue 'President Lincoln' (1916).
Growth Type: 
Woody Shrub
lavender pink white
Hardiness Zones: 
Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8
Location at Monticello: 
East Lawn and North Slope
Planting Conditions: 
Full Sun
Blooming History: 
2005 May 10 to 2005 May 192008 Apr 10 to 2008 Jun 62010 Apr 6 to 2010 May 102011 Apr 10 to 2011 May 312012 Mar 26 to 2012 May 172013 Apr 17 to 2013 May 172018 May 1
Visit Monticello’s Online Shop to check for seeds or plants of Common Lilac.


Login or register to participate in our online community.