Dwarf lilac: planting and caring for

Dwarf lilac: planting and caring for


The dwarf lilac is also known as Meyer's lilac, derived from the scientific name Syringa meyeri. It belongs to the olive family and originally comes from northern China. This is where the wood grows in Liaoning Province, where it shapes shrub areas on mountain slopes.

also read

  • Impressive solitaire: dwarf lilac on the trunk
  • Plant and care for lilacs properly in the tub
  • Caring for lilac bonsai properly


Meyer's lilac grows as a 1.5 meter high shrub. He forms a loose figure. Its branches are slightly square and can be hairy or bald or slightly downy. The shrub grows very slowly but continuously. Thanks to its compact shape, it does not require much space.


Dwarf lilac bushes develop small, single flowers in panicle-shaped inflorescences. The flowers are between 2.5 and ten centimeters long. They consist of a dark purple-colored calyx and a corolla, the petals of which are fused into a corolla tube in the lower part. The lobes are spread out and can be blue-violet, bluish with pink or red nuances, or completely white.

The flowering period extends from May to July. In sheltered locations, the shrub blooms again in late autumn. Young plants already bloom very profusely. The flowers give off a sweet scent.


Meyers Lilac develops capsule fruits that scatter their seeds. The fruits are between one and two centimeters long and are covered with clearly visible pores.


The leaves are divided into blade and stem. The leaves are between one and five centimeters long and wide, elliptical or egg-shaped. The blade is pointed or blunt. Their base is wedge-shaped or rounded.

The protruding leaf veins, which stretch hand-shaped over the green-colored leaf blade, are striking. The underside of the leaf appears lighter and is hairy along the leaf veins.


Syringa meyeri is ideal for beautifying small gardens. It can be planted as a hedge or solitary. As a border for flower beds, the Asian beauty cuts a particularly good figure. The dwarf lilac is suitable for planting in pots. In this way you can give your balcony a spring-like atmosphere. The wood can be cultivated as a bonsai or a high trunk.

The inflorescences of the dwarf lilac are suitable as cut flowers for the design of bouquets or as table decorations in vases. Cut off shoots that are as long as possible and then remove all leaves.

How to extend the flowering time of cut flowers:

  • Cut in the branch base lengthways
  • Briefly immerse the stems in warm water
  • fill a tall vase 1/3 full with water
  • Change water every two to three days

High trunk

Varieties that grow at least 1.50 meters high can be grown as a standard stem. In this form, the shrub develops a trunk that ends in a richly branched crown. Such tree-like specimens require less space and can also be grown in the bucket. In this way, the dwarf lilac forms an aesthetic eye-catcher in the front yard or as the center of a perennial plantation. It can also be placed directly in an open lawn. Several little trees create an avenue that lines the main paths and driveways.


Syringa meyeri is ideal for bonsai cultivation. The shrub is grown outdoors all year round. If there is enough light, the plant develops enough sugar and oxygen so that it can grow well. The trunk becomes thicker and the leaves become firmer from wind and rain. This makes the plants more robust against pests and diseases.


Dwarf lilacs can be shaped by wire. Wrap trunks, branches and twigs in a spiral from bottom to top with aluminum wire. Make sure that the wire is tight but not too tight. The turns should be evenly distributed. Then you can bring the branches into the desired shape. The wire is removed in mid-May, as this is the time when the thickness begins to grow.

Cut dwarf lilac correctly

In order to maintain the shape of the bonsai, the shrub must be cut back regularly after flowering. When transplanting, you should shorten the roots so that there is a balance between the root ball and crown.

Is dwarf lilac poisonous?

Like all Syringa species, the dwarf lavender also contains the glycoside syringin. Although it has been classified as non-toxic, consumption in large amounts can cause abdominal cramps, headaches and nausea in sensitive individuals and children. Small amounts are usually harmless. The leaves and flowers of some Syringa species are used to make teas.

Syringin has a similar effect on dogs and cats as it does on the human organism. Due to their height, even small amounts can be enough to cause gastrointestinal problems. As a precaution, avoid planting dwarf lilacs if there are pets in your yard.

Which location is suitable?

The original distribution areas are on dry to fresh locations in a sunny to partially shaded location. When there is less sunlight, the shrub blooms less profusely. The dwarf lilac does not tolerate permanently moist conditions. So that such conditions do not arise, you should loosen impermeable soil with sand. The shrub is considered robust because it can withstand both heat and cold. The urban climate doesn't cause him any problems

What soil does the plant need?

The dwarf lilac grows on weakly acidic to strongly alkaline soils. The pH value is ideally between 6.0 and 7.5. It thrives on both sandy and loamy soils if they contain a certain amount of humus. Nutrient-rich soils are important for the dwarf lilac to grow lush.


Shrubs propagated by seeds develop flower and leaf colors that combine the characteristics of two parent plants. In this way you can breed new varieties that develop into individual splendid specimens.

After flowering, harvest the fruit clusters. With the help of a sieve, you can separate dead leaves and parts of plants from the seeds. Fill a planter with potting soil and sprinkle the seeds evenly. Put the pot in a cool and shady place. The winter cold animates the seeds to germinate next spring.

In spring, make sure that the soil never dries out. To increase the humidity, you can cover the pots after winter or place them in a greenhouse. The seeds still need cool temperatures. When the young plants have grown a few centimeters high, they can be pricked out. Planting outdoors is possible from autumn.


With this method you can create an identical image of the mother plant. At flowering time, cut off shoots that have at least three leaf nodes. You should choose young shoots that are not yet lignified.

The cut is made just below or above a leaf knot. This is where the roots can later develop. Remove the lowest leaves from the shoot. Cut the bark crosswise at the lower end so that the cutting can absorb water. Put the shoot in potting soil that you have previously mixed with soil, sand and algae lime.

It takes a few weeks for the cuttings to develop roots. Many young plants do not begin to develop fresh shoots until the following spring.

Dwarf lilac in a pot

When cultivating in a tub, you should use garden soil that meets the substrate requirements. Mix in some sand or perlite to prevent the soil from compacting and becoming more permeable. This also prevents mold from forming.

The right planter:

  • Shrubs 20 to 30 centimeters high require a volume of 3.5 liters
  • 60 to 80 centimeter high shrubs prefer a 15 liter pot
  • High trunks with 100 centimeters grow in pots with a volume of ten liters


The dwarf lilac is perfect for beautifying balconies. Its growth is limited. Regular pruning of shoots and roots keeps the shrub compact and small. He can stay outside all year as he doesn't mind freezing temperatures. In particularly harsh winter months, you should protect the planter accordingly.

Water dwarf lilac

Syringa meyeri has a medium water requirement. It likes a fresh substrate and is sensitive to waterlogging. Short-term drying times don't cause problems for the roots as long as they don't last too long. When the leaves become limp, the next watering is due. If you are growing in a tub, you will need to water the shrub more regularly.

Fertilize dwarf lilac properly

Dwarf lilacs enjoy fertilization before and after the flowering period. Provide the plant with compost in spring and autumn. The early supply of nutrients ensures a particularly lush bloom and promotes growth.

Work horn shavings (€ 6.39 at Amazon *) into the soil and give the plant a slow release fertilizer so that it can draw on the nutrients all year round. Avoid fertilizers that are high in nitrogen. This ensures that there is less flowering and your bush has less odor.

Cut dwarf lilac correctly

A pruning is usually not necessary. To support the dense growth habit, you can thin out the shrub a little after flowering. If there is not enough space, you can cut back the shrub radically. This measure is well tolerated as the shrub sprouts again from the old wood. However, there will be no flowering in the next spring, because the dwarf lilac develops its flower buds in the previous year.

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How do I transplant properly?

The older the dwarf lilac, the more difficult it is to transplant. The roots can be quite extensive. This measure should take place in the spring before flowering so that the shrub can settle in at the new location by winter. Before digging up, prune the shrub so that it is compact in shape. Ideally, there should be a balanced relationship between shoots and root ball. The less leaf mass the remaining roots have to supply with nutrients, the better the rooting succeeds.

Cut off a large root ball and dig out the substrate. Place the shrub in the prepared planting hole and fill in the gaps with the excavated material. The bush is then watered so that the earth can close. A pouring rim prevents the water from running off the surface.


The slowly growing dwarf lilac does not have to be planted in a new container until after a few years. The potted plants enjoy a substrate change every three years. If you want to keep the shrub small, you can shorten the roots.


The dwarf lilac is hardy and withstands the frosty temperatures in a sheltered location even without winter protection. Icy drafts cause problems for the plant. You should protect the shrub in such exposed places. Cover the ground with straw, brushwood, or fir branches to protect the roots.

Container plants are more sensitive to frosts, as the soil in the pot freezes through quickly. Place the planter in a sheltered place on a styrofoam plate (€ 25.90 at Amazon *) or a piece of wood so that the cold from the soil does not pull into the pot. You can wrap the bucket with foil or jute in particularly harsh winter months.


Weakened shrubs are occasionally attacked by aphids or mealybugs. These pests feed on the sap, so that the dwarf lilac is also weakened. Wipe off infected parts of the plant with a cloth that you have previously soaked in a detergent solution. As a preventive measure, you should ensure an optimal supply of nutrients so that the plant's immune system is not weakened.

Fungal attack

Waterlogging leads to rot formation at the roots. This causes fungal spores of the genus Phytophthora to settle, which damage the plant. Acting quickly can save your plant. Dig up the shrub and generously trim off rotten roots. Shorten the remaining roots and allow the root ball to air dry for 24 hours.

Plant the shrub in fresh substrate and shorten the branches so that the plant can regenerate faster. Avoid pouring on. The first watering is done after three or four days. It takes about two weeks for the dwarf lilac to recover.

Dwarf lilac does not bloom

If the dwarf lilac does not bloom, a later change of location may be the cause. If the shrub is moved after the flowering period, there is often no bud formation in autumn. You should always move the wood before flowering.


Trees that develop their splendor after the dwarf lilac has bloomed prove to be suitable plant partners. You can create aesthetic plant arrangements with hydrangeas, beard flowers, garden hibiscus or ranunculus bushes. Early flowering trees such as weigela or scented jasmine are ideal for creating a colorful hedge.


  • Palibin : Purple-red buds open from the end of May, delicate pink flowers. Up to 100 centimeters high. Height of growth 80 to 125 centimeters.
  • Red Pixie : flowering time from late spring to mid-autumn, flowers pink to magenta. Spicy floral scent.
  • Josee : Extremely hardy variety. Inflorescences slender with pink flowers. Growth height up to 150 centimeters.

Flieder des Südens 14.67 EUR Buy at baldur Summer lilac 'Papillion Tricolor' 12.7 EUR Buy at baldur Lilac Hedge 4.85 EUR Buy at baldur