The Q&A Archives: Varities of Lilacs

Question: I live in Bishop, California. I'm not sure of the zone. Lilacs are my favorite, and many people here have them. I purchased 5 bushes, about 3 feet tall, and find they are all of the light lavender color. Since then, I have seen both white and deep purple bushes locally. They both have a stronger scent. What kind are they, and where can I purchase them?

Answer: You've probably purchased the common lilac, Syringa vulgaris. Those with different color blooms are species lilacs and include Chinese Lilac (Syringa chinensis), Japanese lilac (Syringa japonica), or one of the French hybrids. These are generally available in local nurseries, or you can contact the Huntington Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, 92208 ((818) 405-2141) to ask about their species sale. Just for future reference, you're in USDA zone 8.

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