Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Common Lilac, French Lilac
Syringa vulgaris 'Primrose'

Family: Oleaceae (oh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Syringa (si-RING-gah) (Info)
Species: vulgaris (vul-GAIR-iss) (Info)
Cultivar: Primrose

One vendor has this plant for sale.

8 members have or want this plant for trade.


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Flowers are good for cutting

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
By grafting
By air layering

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Click thumbnail
to view:

By rebecca101
Thumbnail #1 of Syringa vulgaris by rebecca101


3 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Mar 28, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The color is pale and pastel but decidedly yellow to my eye, and it makes a great contrast with the darker purple lilacs. I find the superb fragrance is indistinguishable from the other common lilacs.

I generally prefer hyacinthiflora hybrids to S. vulgaris, but I make an exception for this cultivar because of its unique color.

Positive gardenhippie On Jun 5, 2011, gardenhippie from Stroudsburg, PA wrote:

This plant was purchased at Kmart about 4 or 5 years ago from in a box from a display case of mixed boxed plants. I didn't have much faith in the color being yellow but love to have a bit of fun. I planted it in a pot like my other 2 lilacs which I have had for many years. This year the so called yellow lilac is about 3 feet tall and very full and shaped nice. Lucky me that I have a fetish for cream colored flowers as to be honest saying yellow is a stretch. BUT this is an adorable plant, leaves smaller and more elliptic shaped than my other lilacs and the blossoms about one fifth of the size. It gets covered with small cone shaped flowers in a creamy white with a similar but not as pungent fragrance and I just love it ! It did bloom the first year after planting. Too bad they are misleading in advertising about the color, but I can see how it makes them sell more plants than if it said creamy white. I have grown to love this little plants that has given so much to me in a container and acts as a wonderful backdrop to other planters on my deck throughout the summer. I have no place to enjoy lilacs up close and so I have planted 3 of them in pots on my deck, my largest without the pot measures about 5 feet tall and all three bloom each spring, the yellow blooming last and it is in bloom now, June 5th 2011.

Neutral rebecca101 On May 15, 2009, rebecca101 from Madison, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

The one specimen of this I have seen (in an arboretum) did not appear yellow at all to me, but rather a pale creamy white. I could not detect any fragrance.

Positive Todd_Boland On Feb 5, 2005, Todd_Boland from St. John's, NL (Zone 5b) wrote:

This is perhaps the most well known of the 'yellow' lilacs. The flowers are in fact a pastel primrose-yellow, certainly not bright. However, it is a welcome colour among a group of shrubs that are primarily pinks, purples and blues. It still has the classic lilac fragrance.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Litchfield, Maine
Swartz Creek, Michigan
Jamestown, Ohio
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

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