For property owners who want a medium to small sized ornamental tree with large luscious blossoms and incredible fragrance, Japanese Tree Lilac may be an excellent choice. Japanese Tree Lilacs have a long track record of being very hardy for use in our harsh upper Midwest climate, and are versatile in their ability to grow in many different soil types.
Japanese Tree Lilacs are used in landscapes as both single stem trees and clump forms with multiple stems, depending on the look desired by the designer and owner. Where alkaline soils dominate a site, Japanese Tree Lilacs are especially useful, since they share with the larger lilac family the ability to prosper in high soil pH conditions. The biggest need when planting them in alkaline soils (often clay) is to assure good drainage. Lilacs of every kind will decline and die in poorly drained soils.
While the common Japanese Tree Lilac matures to 25’to 30′ tall by 25′-30′ wide, and is an excellent choice for the landscape, several variety selections have been brought to market which offer a more compact size, heavier flowering, and a seedless version is also available.
‘Ivory Silk’ Japanese Tree Lilac grows to about the same 25′ height as the common form, but a noticeably smaller spread of about 15 feet, making it useful for narrower spaces.
‘Ivory Pillar’ Japanese Tree Lilac is slightly narrower, rated at 10’to 15′ tall by only 10′-12′ wide, with abundant blossoms, and like the other varieties, is very tolerant of difficult urban conditions.
‘Snow Dance’ Japanese Tree Lilac is a recently released variety that appears to have the most desirable characteristics of all the cultivars currently available. Rod Bailey made this selection for its propensity to bloom very heavily, bloom more evenly from one year to the next, and perhaps most notably, ‘Snow Dance’ Japanese Tree Lilac is seedless. The lack of seed formation after the prolific blossoms fade gives ‘Snow Dance’ Japanese Tree Lilac a more handsome look throughout late summer, fall and winter. ‘Snow Dance’ also expresses a slightly shorter and broader shape with a size rating of 18′ tall by 20′ wide.
For best success, plant the Japanese Tree Lilac of your choice in a location with plenty of sunlight and good drainage.
The Japanese Tree Lilacs are in full bloom now at the nursery. Stop in and take in the beauty (and fragrance!)