Syringa meyeri - Meyer Lilac
Family: Oleaceae

Hear the scientific name

Syringa meyeri is a compact but spreading, small-foliaged Lilac with showy, late May, lavender-purple inflorescences. Meyer Lilac is especially urban tolerant and without powdery mildew on its foliage. It is a Lilac that can be grown as a formal or informal hedge.

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  form2 form Form

-medium-sized ornamental shrub (or small ornamental tree, when grafted onto a standard)

-species form slowly matures at about 6' tall x 8' wide

-spreading oval growth habit (where the oval shape is on its side)

-slow growth rate

foliage2 foliage Foliage

-medium to dark green, opposite, orbicular to rhombic in shape, entire but slightly wavy-margined, about 1" long, with venation that is nearly palmate

-leaves are glabrous, entire, dull-shiny, never infested with powdery mildew, and have an ineffective yellowish green to golden-brown autumn color

-foliages nearly to the ground, which is especially valuable when it is pruned into formal hedge form, as it does not become leggy


-lavender-white to violet-purple, fragrant, in late May, as 4" long fragrant inflorescences that completely cover the shrub

-flowering profusely at an early age, and because of the shrub's dense twigginess and partial shade tolerance, it has a fair number of floral buds buried in the interior stems that are preserved even if it is sheared back in late summer or autumn, and therefore loses most of its flowering buds for the following season


-brown capsules on the winter persistent fruiting stalks are not ornamental


-light brown to gray, with winter floral buds that are small, oval, and distinctly checkered (due to the differential color pattern on the overlapping floral bud scales)

-exhibiting dense twiggy branching on relatively thin branches (unlike all other Lilacs, which have moderate to sparse branching on medium to thick branches)

trunk Trunk

-usually not applicable, unless the shrub has been grafted onto a standard (typically at about 4' in height) and becomes tree form

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-full sun to partial shade

-performs best in full sun in moist, well-drained soils, but is urban tolerant and adaptable to poor soils, dry soils, compacted soils, soils of various pH, and especially to heat and drought (but not adaptable to poorly drained sites)

-propagated primarily by rooted stem cuttings, but also by seeds

-Olive Family, with virtually no diseases or pests (including a complete resistance to powdery mildew, which plagues many of the old-fashioned traditional Lilacs)

-abundantly available in container or B&B form, and sometimes grafted onto a standard

-as with most Lilacs and full-sun ornamental shrubs, its flowering is greatly reduced if it is placed in partial shade


-zones 3 to 8


-native to Northern China

U   S   A   G   E


-fragrant dense inflorescences in late May

-very urban tolerant

-compact, yet spreading Lilac

-flowers at an early age

-no powdery mildew on the foliage

-foliages nearly to the ground (and therefore not leggy as are all other Lilacs])


-poor autumn color

-slow growth rate


-foundation, entranceway, border, group planting, informal or formal hedge, or specimen shrub


-medium-fine texture in foliage and fine texture when bare

-thick density in foliage and when bare

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Varieties and Cultivars - Search OSU PlantFacts for additional plants in this species


-shrubs with fragrant flowers (Clethra alnifolia, Itea virginica, Philadelphus coronarius, Syringa species/hybrids/cultivars, Viburnum x burkwoodii, Viburnum carlesii ,Viburnum x juddii, etc.)


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