Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Meyer Lilac
Syringa meyeri 'Palibin'

Family: Oleaceae (oh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Syringa (si-RING-gah) (Info)
Species: meyeri (MY-er-eye) (Info)
Cultivar: Palibin

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

8 members have or want this plant for trade.


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
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

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Fuchsia (Red-Purple)

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

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From softwood cuttings
By simple layering

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 19 photos.
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7 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive NCMstGardener On Sep 13, 2012, NCMstGardener from Columbus, NC wrote:

This is a great lilac for the South. It is extremely mildew resistant and endures our Zone 7b/8a summer heat and humidity. While it is usually listed as Zone 7 & under, I see this plant thriving in Zone 8b.

Positive saltcedar On Apr 11, 2011, saltcedar from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Blooms reliably (not always generously) in Central Texas. Requires afternoon shade
and regular watering. Just surviving here is a fete. Slow to size up.

Neutral RosemaryK On Feb 2, 2011, RosemaryK from Lexington, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

I read in Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs that this lilac is underutilized and that he loves it more than many fancier lilacs. He also said it is more shade tolerant than many other lilacs. I've ordered one for this spring planting.

Positive xaia On May 30, 2009, xaia from Kitchener
Canada wrote:

I purchased this plant today at my local farmer's market. I immediately recognized it as a lilac by its sweet scent and bought a small gallon sized pot to add to my garden. The pretty pink flowers are wonderful for their diminutive size beckons not only the eyes, but the nose to inspect closely and indulge!! Being a northern gardener I almost feel a sense of sadness that I can't grow plants like the Cestrums (renowned for their powerful fragrances) of the sub-tropics/tropics out of doors in the ground (indoors I can grow them and summer them on my deck only to bring them back in again for the fall/winter); however if you compare the two distinctly different and unrelated genera Syringa and Cestrum you will note that they share some similar qualities, regardless of how genetically different they are! They both are very vigorous growers that tend to send up suckers, produce their tubular blooms in panicles, are fragrant, colourful, and perenially return to make for beautiful and splendid architectural specimens in the garden. So I guess that if you are a northern gardener and you want something as fancifully close to a Cestrum as you can get, pick this plant! It is quite the delight!! I'm anticipating many years of enjoyment to come with the newest member of my garden Syringa meyeri 'Palibin'!!!

Negative braun06 On Jun 8, 2007, braun06 from Peoria Heights, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

I say negative because of the experiences in my yard but on the whole this plant is one of the easiest to grow and is grown pretty much anywhere quite successfully. In my neighborhood we have a problem with verticillium wilt and the particular strain seems to go after all lilacs if not some other cause. I have lost 4 different types of lilac planted in different places. Id say most likely everyone else will have a good experience with this shrub.

This plant does honestly thrive on neglect. Another cause could be overfertilization. The yard used to be an old farm field and is compact clay. It could be that there is a lot of built up fertilizer in the soil that is burning the plant regardless of what is done for it. I dont know how quickly built up chemicals will get out of the soil. I tend to think its an issue of the fertilizer since i have a swamp white oak and bur oak achieving 3' of growth a year with no help from additional fertilizer or irrigation.

Positive rfassnacht On Jul 8, 2006, rfassnacht from Mogadore, OH wrote:

Mine is tree form, so it needs pruned regularly as it becomes top heavy. Very bountiful with blooms and fragrance.

Positive bigcityal On Dec 9, 2005, bigcityal from Menasha, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

This has to be the most common lilac around nowadays. The growth is compact ( for lilacs ). I have a bad nose, but I can smell these flowers a long ways away. Give this plant some space so you don't have to prune hard on it.

Positive rh3708 On Apr 21, 2005, rh3708 from Westmoreland, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

I love this shrub it has a lovely scent and is verry pretty.
I foud a little history on line about it i would like to share:

The Dwarf Korean Lilac, Syringa meyeri 'palibin', is known as a compact but spreading, small-foliaged Lilac with showy late May lavender-purple flowers that are spread over the entire shrub canopy.This deciduous shrub is especially urban tolerant. It is the most common cultivar of the species, valued for its even more compact habit (to 4-6' ). Syringa translates from the Greek as "pipe, in reference to the hollow stems. Meyeri is named after F.N. Meyer, who introduced this species to the United States from Northern China in the early 20th century. It is widely used as a foundation, group planting, informal or formal hedge, or specimen shrub.

Positive bluespiral On Jan 2, 2005, bluespiral from (Zone 7a) wrote:

I never met a lilac I didn't like, and many are probably more "gorgeous" than this one, but Syringa meyeri 'Palibin' is so incredibly profuse that it flowers long before other lilacs would even begin, as well as with a dearth of sun that has prevented other lilacs from flowering here. This is not to say that this lilac is shade tolerant, but it only gets half a day's sun and still drenches the garden with its perfume every spring.

It's not really a dwarf, because it will get huge in time; however, it came blooming in its little 4" pot, and repeated that performance every year thereafter. It may have been called a "dwarf" because it doesn't wait a few years to burgeon in size before blooming.

The color, for me, is a pale lilac pink with violet blue shadows in the flowers. So those black tones in purple leaved bugle that carpet it beneath give it drama. The large flowered, white Clematis 'Henryi' behind and above it makes a good contrast to the tiny florets of the lilac, not to mention completing the tonal run from black through pale to white.

There is a principle involved here that is useful to apply in general when you crave a plant that doesn't like the conditions of your site. In this case, I wanted to plant a sun-lover in a spot that was too shady for other lilacs. Here's the logic I followed when selecting Syringa meyeri 'Palabin':

Look at that plant's genus. You might find a range of species within that genus, as well as a wide range of cultivars within that species. Every plant begun from seed is going to be different from all the other plants within its cultivar/species range. Some will genetically flower more profusely than others. Those will be the ones that might be more inclined to flower with less sun than their relatives. Which is the case with Syringa meyeri 'Palibin'.


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

Littleton, Colorado
South Windsor, Connecticut
Douglasville, Georgia
Crystal Lake, Illinois
Hanna City, Illinois
Waukegan, Illinois
Des Moines, Iowa
Corinna, Maine
Ellicott City, Maryland
Concord, Massachusetts
Columbia Falls, Montana
Munsonville, New Hampshire
Sandown, New Hampshire
Columbus, North Carolina
Belfield, North Dakota
Dickinson, North Dakota
Medora, North Dakota
Mogadore, Ohio
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Lafayette, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Orwell, Vermont
Lexington, Virginia
Seattle, Washington
Menasha, Wisconsin
Stratford, Wisconsin

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