What is a Korean Lilac?

Niki Foster
Niki Foster

Korean lilac (Syringa meyeri var. spontanea) is a flowering deciduous bush native to Northern China, prized for its sweet scent and attractive foliage. Korean lilac bushes grow from four to eight feet (1.2 to 2.4 m) tall, with a spread of six to 12 feet (1.8 to 3.7 m). They work well as hedges or borders, and are hardier and easier to take care of than other lilac varieties.

Essential oils can be extracted from the Korean lilac and used in aromatherapy.
Essential oils can be extracted from the Korean lilac and used in aromatherapy.

Korean lilac should be planted during mid-May to early June, ideally. It is easily grown in average, well-drained soil, and prefers a slightly acidic soil to a slightly alkaline one. Korean lilac requires four to six hours of sunlight a day, but the more sun it receives, the better it will bloom. Individual plants should be planted ten to 15 feet (3 to 4.6 m) apart. They may be grown from rooted stem cuttings or seeds.

Korean lilacs are easier to take care of than other lilac varieties.
Korean lilacs are easier to take care of than other lilac varieties.

Koran lilac is slow growing, but blooms at a young age. The plant will bloom in late April to early May, and its flowers are violet to lavender pink with a pleasant, sweet smell. Even when the flowers are gone, the shrub is still attractive, as it develops bright yellow foliage in the Fall. At other times of the year, the leaves are dark green.

Korean lilac should be pruned immediately following blooming to promote better blooming the following year. The flowers are beautiful and fragrant when freshly cut, and great for placing in the home in a vase. The essential oil can also be extracted from the flower for use in perfumes or aromatherapy.

Korean lilac is a good plant for the novice gardener, as it is easier to grow and maintain than other types of lilac. It is not picky about soil, and is resistant to mildew, insects, and disease. It is very urban tolerant and can withstand heat and drought well. The flower buds are susceptible to frost injury in the spring, however, and the plant will not grow well in poorly drained soil.

In addition to its hardiness, Korean lilac is favored over other lilac varieties for its small size, making it easy to grow in virtually any garden, and for the profusion, color, and scent of its flowers. Therefore, it is a good plant for those who do not have the room to grow a different type of lilac bush. Korean lilac also blooms later than other lilac plants, and can be added to the garden to prolong the lilac season.

Lilac flowers bloom in the spring, are sweet smelling and may attract butterflies.
Lilac flowers bloom in the spring, are sweet smelling and may attract butterflies.
Niki Foster
Niki Foster

In addition to her role as a wiseGEEK editor, Niki enjoys educating herself about interesting and unusual topics in order to get ideas for her own articles. She is a graduate of UCLA, where she majored in Linguistics and Anthropology.

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