Native to China, this flowering deciduous shrub is a member of the olive family, Oleaceae, that also includes privet, jasmine and forsythia. The shrub is bushy, grows up to 7′ tall and has fine dense branches that carry ovate to roundish leaves that are up to 2″ long, and are medium to dark green above, and slightly hairy and greyish-green below. Two to four inch long panicles of lavender- pink flower appear in late spring and repeat in the summer or fall. The flowers are very fragrant, attract hummingbirds and butterflies, and are good in the vase. Littleleaf lilac is a good choice for a shrub or perennial border, as well as for fragrance, butterfly, and hummingbird gardens. The genus name, Syringa, is from the Greek word syrinx meaning pipe and refers to the stem which has a soft pith and can be hallowed out. The specific epithet, pubescens, is from the Latin word pubes meaning hair, and refers to the hairs on the undersides of the leaves. The subspecific epithet, microphylla, is from the Greek μικρός (mikrós) meaning small, and φύλλον (phúllon) meaning leaf. The cultivar name, ‘Superba” is the Latin word meaning outstanding.

Type: Flowering deciduous shrub

Outstanding Feature: Flowers

Form: Mound

Growth Rate: Moderate

Bloom: Panicles of fragrant lavender-pink flowers in late spring with a repeat in summer or fall

Size: 5-7′ H x 10-14′ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Average, medium moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 4-8

Care: Remove faded flowers immediately to encourage future blooms. Prune immediately after flowering if needed.

Pests and Diseases: Susceptible to damage by powdery mildew, leaf spot, blight, stem borer, scale and leaf miner. Although ‘Superba’ is resistant to typical lilac disease, plant in area with good air circulation to enhance resistance.

Propagation: Softwood cuttings, layering, or chip budding in the summer; grafting in winter

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

By Karen