top of page

The Countree Blog

Discover the Fragrant Ivory Silk Japanese Tree Lilac

Ivory Silk Japanese Tree Lilac in bloom in backyard
Ivory Silk Japanese Tree Lilac

Are you missing the spring floral show of the Bradford Pears, Crabapples, and Redbuds?

It may officially be summer, and you may think the days of spring blooms are over. Not so fast! Stage left, the Ivory Silk Japanese Tree Lilac, Syringa reticulata, slides into focus with its beautiful, creamy white, and sweet fragranced plums of flowers and lush green foliage that changes to pale green with brown undertones in the fall.

A fast grower enjoyable for decades

The Japanese Tree Lilac, a native to Northern Japan, is larger than the traditional lilacs and is the only Lilac that grows a tree-like form and size as it grows up to 30' tall with a 20' – 25' spread. Its lifespan is about 40-50 years which may not seem longlived in the world of trees. But with a growth rate of up to 18" of new growth a year, it will reach maturity relatively quickly with decades left to enjoy its full beauty.

Easy to grow and disease resistant

This tree prefers a sunny spot but is adaptable and tolerant of most soil conditions. It will even tolerate road salt, making it suitable as a roadside tree. However, it is also a gorgeous addition to any yard with a bit of space.

Of all of the Lilacs, the Japanese Tree Lilac is the least susceptible to the diseases that typically attack the common, shrub-like lilacs. Even powdery mildew, which is very common on lilacs, rarely develops on the Japanese Tree Lilac making its large and lush leaves beautiful all season.

Ivory Silk Japanese Tree Lilac is Low Maintenance

This tree requires very little maintenance. A little seasonal pruning as needed to remove any damaged, dead or diseased branches and any crossing or rubbing branches to improve air circulation is recommended for any tree. If you want your Tree Lilac to grow as a single trunk, you also need to prune off any lower branches in the spring to expose as much trunk as you prefer, especially during the early years. The Japanese Tree Lilac can become more multi-branched if left to its own device.

It gets a little messy toward the end of its 2-week bloom cycle as all the tiny blooms start to drop. Either plant the tree in a location where it won't matter or simply blow or sweep off the blossoms as they fall. It is a small price to pay for the fantastic show and sweet fragrance it greets you with in return.

Beautiful and a pollinator treat

Not only is the Japanese Tree Lilac a beauty to behold, but it's also a valuable pollinator treat. So if you're looking for a way to keep your yard beautiful, attract pollinators, and enjoy the fragrance of spring blooms just a little bit longer, add this stunning tree to your landscape this summer.


bottom of page