How to prune dwarf korean lilac tree

Attractive Easy Care Fragrant Shrub

The Dwarf Korean Lilac – Syringa meyeri – a hardy flowering deciduous shrub adding grace, fragrance and beauty to a garden.

Lilac shrubs of all sorts are loved by gardeners the world over.

PinKorean dwarf Lilac tree

Traditional varieties of these hardy, enthusiastic plants are known for producing copious amounts of gorgeous blooms. Newer hybrids produce more and bigger flowers in a vast array of exciting colors.

In fact, there are many desirable choices in colors and forms these days that choosing can put gardeners in a quandary. One good solution to the lilac dilemma is to go with dwarf varieties.

Table Of Contents

  1. Dwarf Korean Lilac Quick Growing Guide:
  2. Where Did Korean Dwarf Lilac Originate?
  3. What Does The Korean Dwarf Lilac Look Like?
  4. Dwarf Korean Lilac Tree Care
  5. Is The Dwarf Korean Lilac Hard To Grow?
  6. Pruning Dwarf Korean Lilac Trees Is Optional
  7. Do You Have To Deadhead Lilacs?
  8. Dwarf Korean Lilac Resists Pests and Disease
  9. Fertilize Lightly or Not At All
  10. Varieties Of dwarf Korean Lilac Shrub
  11. Why Choose Dwarf Korean Lilacs?

The versatile dwarf Korean lilac provides lots of good options in a small and compact form. With its pretty, fragrant purple flower spikes (excellent fragrant plant for the garden) and well-shaped, carefree growing habits, the dwarf lilac is the perfect choice as:

  • Border shrubs
  • Container plants
  • Stand-alone accent
  • Small standard tree form

… make the dwarf lilac tree an excellent “featured” patio or landscape plant. It makes an excellent focal point for a butterfly and hummingbird garden.

Though dwarf Korean lilac shrubs can grow to be a little over six feet, their growth is slow. They remain under four feet tall with an attractive mounded shape for several years. They make an excellent small-space choice for a period of time. Pruning helps control growth. [source]

Dwarf Korean Lilac Quick Growing Guide:

Family: Oleaceae

Origin: China and Japan

Common Names: Lilac, Palibin

Uses: Hedge, Container, Specimen plant

Height: 6-7 feet

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-7

Flowers: Showy and fragrant

Foliage: Pointy leaves transition from burgundy in spring to dark green foliage in summer to yellow fall color.

Dwarf Korean Lilac Care Requirements: Full sun (minimum 6 hours per day), keep soil on the medium to dry side, low maintenance, pruning is optional. If deadheading prune after the first bloom to encourage more blooms. Pruning at the end of the blooming season (April to May) supports more blossoms in the coming year.

Miscellaneous: Miniature Lilac Bush is a set-it-and-forget-it shrub, drought tolerant, deer and pest resistant, and useful for areas where erosion is a problem. It is great for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Rabbits may nibble your plants, so rabbit fencing is recommended. [source]

Where Did Korean Dwarf Lilac Originate?

The dwarf Korean lilac tree came to America from China in 1909.

It was introduced to the west by Frank Meyer, who was the first westerner to cultivate it.

For this reason, the plant’s botanical name (Syringa meyeri) honors him. He imported the shrub from China to the US by sending cuttings home.

This, in itself, is a tribute to the hardiness of this shrub, as transportation in those days was slow and somewhat unreliable, yet the cuttings managed to survive and thrive.

What Does The Korean Dwarf Lilac Look Like?

The Syringa meyeri plant grows to a maximum of seven feet high and can spread up to five feet; therefore, it is thought of as a small shrub. Flowers vary in shades of pinkish lavender to lilac to purple.

The plant’s foliage is a deep, attractive shade of burgundy in the springtime and transitions to dark green through the growing season.

These small, cheery bushes are covered with blossoms when they bloom from early May to late June. Here is a video of a lovely stand of Dwarf Korean Lilac Bush in full bloom.

In the autumn, the green leaves transition to a lovely shade of yellow, and then they fall revealing attractive, dark brown limbs and stems.

All-in-all, Miss Kim is a lilac bush that adds interest and beauty to your landscape all year round.

Dwarf Korean Lilac Tree Care

Purchase your new lilac bush early in the springtime and get it into the ground right away.

Ideally, you should select a location with well-drained soil and full sun. However, these plants are adaptable to various pH levels and soil types and can do well in wetter locales.

Naturally, to keep your dwarf Korean lilac shrub at its healthiest and encourage enthusiastic blooming, it is best to plant it in an ideal location.

Is The Dwarf Korean Lilac Hard To Grow?

Just as with any newly planted shrub, you’ll want to baby it along a bit until it is well-established. Once established, you can mostly just enjoy it.

These plants are remarkably rugged, easy to grow, and easy to care for. They are highly adaptable and versatile and do equally well in a wide variety of landscape applications, including:

  • General garden use
  • Outdoor container
  • Accent plant
  • Low hedge

Because they are slow-growing, they can do very well in a limited area or a container for several years.

Since their ultimate size is not exceptionally large, transplanting to a more spacious setting is not difficult. Annual pruning with help controls the size.

Pruning Dwarf Korean Lilac Trees Is Optional

When pruning your dwarf lilac bush, wait until it finishes blooming. Richly fragrant flowers appear in abundance late in the springtime after the plant becomes fully established.

Because lilacs flower on last year’s growth, do not prune your plants before winter. Instead, prune only in the springtime after the first flush of flowers finishes. This may spur a second bloom.

Although standard lilacs may take up to five years to bloom, dwarves such as Miss Kim (Syringa patula), Preston (Syringa x prestoniae), and dwarf Korean lilac (Syringa meyeri) may flower within the first couple of years.

If you don’t want to prune your dwarf Korean Lilac shrub, that’s alright. These plants maintain their shape nicely and can simply be left to naturalize into the environment.

Tips on Pruning Dwarf Lilacs Back

Do You Have To Deadhead Lilacs?

You don’t have to deadhead lilacs, but spent blossoms are a bit unattractive. Removing the first flush may stimulate more flowers. Removing the second flush will make bushes more attractive throughout the rest of the growing season.

It also prevents the development of seed pods. Of course, as with any other flowering plant, deadheading helps the shrub make the best use of its energy.

When you remove the second flush of spent blossoms, your shrub will be able to create more flower buds and will bloom more profusely in the coming season.

When you do deadhead your lilacs, take care to snip just below the flower cluster and above the uppermost leaves. [source]

Dwarf Korean Lilac Resists Pests and Disease

These small, hardy lilacs resist the most common lilac maladies, such as lilac borers and powdery mildew. This is especially true of plants provided with optimum care.

Your lilac would do best if it is planted in a location where it will receive a minimum of 6 hours of full sun daily. The best soil is airy and well-draining.

Although dwarf lilac varieties are resistant to powdery mildew fungus, poor planting locations or excessive crowding can encourage the growth of this fungus (which exhibits a white, powdery coating on the leaves).

An ideal location with full sun and good drainage will help prevent this problem.

If you do find powdery mildew on your dwarf Syringa meyeri, don’t panic. It is more unsightly than harmful. Pruning to admit more air circulation may help discourage it, but the best cure is prevention.

Full sun, fresh air, and good drainage will go far to keep your dwarf Korean Lilac shrub healthy and happy.

Pruning surrounding trees to increase sunlight and air circulation is also recommended as a way of providing your shrubs with a healthy environment.

Taking good care of your lilac bush as it establishes itself will help guarantee good performance. Give it a couple of inches of organic mulch every spring to help hold in moisture, discourage weeds and nourish the soil.

Fertilize Lightly or Not At All

Mulch may be all the fertilizer your lilac bush needs. Soil too rich may inhibit flowering. If you want to add fertilizer, give plants a half dose, once, early in the springtime. Excessive fertilizing will result in lots of leaves and few (if any) flowers.

Varieties Of dwarf Korean Lilac Shrub

Korean Dwarf Lilac is one of the most familiar and popular varieties. However, there are several dwarf varieties to choose from and you can certainly mix and match if you wish.

Here are some of the other pretty and popular varieties you may wish to try:

  • Tinkerbelle is a very fragrant lilac that produces blossoms earlier than other varieties, making it is a nice addition for continuous blooming, with its deep lilac-purple flowers with a rich, spicy scent.
  • Miss Kim is a more upright dwarf variety producing single blossoms in shades of pale blue to lavender. [source]
  • Josee is a reblooming lilac which produces an abundance of pinkish-lavender blooms, and it almost always blooms twice.
  • Bloomerang lilac is extra small and compact with a maximum height and width of four feet.
  • Palibin is a very hardy Korean lilac. It can do well even in USDA hardiness zone 3.

Why Choose Dwarf Korean Lilacs?

This versatile, cheery, deciduous shrub is easy to grow and care for. They can grow from cuttings or seedlings with equal ease.

Dwarf varieties are far more dense and compact than their full-sized counterparts and require far less maintenance.

They tend to keep an attractive, rounded shape with little or no pruning and provide year-round interest with seasonal color changes in foliage, luscious scent, riotous color in springtime, and interesting limbs, twigs, and bark through the winter months.

The Korean Lilac flowers in late spring, spreading its delightful fragrance throughout the garden. Resistant to many of the ills such as powdery mildew and lilac borers, it is one of the most versatile among flowering shrubs.


How To Care For A Dwarf Korean Lilac Tree

Every homeowner needs at least one special plant in their garden that fills the house with a delicious fragrance when the window is open. The Dwarf Korean Lilac Tree is the perfect choice to place near a patio, or close to a window you frequently open. With a strong scent and gorgeous flowers, you may find that it is a fantastic addition to your garden.

If you happen to live in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 through 7, learning how to take care of a Dwarf Korean Lilac Tree is simple. These shrubs grow up to a maximum of six feet tall in a compact, yet rounded, shape. Starting in May, beautiful purple flowers bloom for two weeks, creating a beautiful array of blossoms. Many people believe lilacs are unruly, but a dwarf variety reduces the overall size while still giving off the colorful floral display so beloved.



How To Care For A Dwarf Korean Lilac Tree

Pick The Right Location

Create The Right Soil

Water The Tree Properly

Fertilize The Tree

Weed Around The Lilac Tree

Prune As Needed


Pick The Right Location

Before you purchase a Dwarf Korean Lilac Tree, you have to pick a great location for planting. The location needs to get full sun throughout the day, at least six hours per day, but more is fantastic. At the same time, these trees prefer not to live in a climate with consistent heat. Cooler weather is important because it needs dormancy for proper growth.

One of the reasons Dwarf Korean Lilacs are so popular is because of their hardiness. These plants can typically survive extreme weather very easily. Also, compared to their regular sized species, they are compact. If you lack space, they can grow well in wooden boxes or containers.

Create The Right Soil

Lilacs can grow in a variety of soil, including clay which is frustrating for many plants. However, it prefers a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0. You should add some compost and humus into the soil before planting. These materials help to retain moisture during drought periods. Also, compost gives vital nutrients to your bush that encourage growth and blossoming.

Water The Tree Properly

An average Dwarf Korean Lilac Tree needs about one inch of water each week. If you’re experiencing hot weather or extreme wind, the shrub may need to be water twice or three times a week. The best way to determine is to touch the soil. If it feels dry to the touch, it is time to water. During periods of drought, don’t water frequently, but very thoroughly when you do!

Well-drained soil is crucial for the survival of your lilac. They prefer not to have wet roots for long periods of time. You will have great success if you put it in a slightly elevated area or a hillside. Level ground needs to drain well because of their deep roots.​

Fertilize The Tree

All Korean Lilac Trees need to be fertilized to grow properly. You want to purchase a 10-10-10 formula. All packages should have information on the side that indicates how much you should use based on the size of your particular shrub.


It is important for you to apply the fertilizer in the spring before it starts the process of new growth. Fertilizer will encourage the blossoms and growth throughout the following months. You need to apply the fertilizer on the soil around the base of the tree. Once you have sprinkled it on the soil, water the top two inches of soil.​

However, you shouldn’t be overzealous about fertilizing. Once established in its proper and permanent location, you only need to fertilize that one time. If you fertilize too many times, you can cause a lack of flowering, destroying the beautiful appeal of this shrub.

Weed Around The Lilac Tree

To maintain the proper location and avoid diseases, you should keep a clean area around the base of your lilac tree. A thick layer of mulch helps to retain moisture and reduce the amount of weeds overcrowding the tree. Two to four inches is ideal.

Prune As Needed


To encourage your plant to grow and produce more flowers, you need to cut off all of the older flowers as they die off. Pruning is an important step for the growth and development of a Dwarf Korean Lilac Tree. You should prune it back by one-third after flowering. The shape in which you prune the tree is entirely up to you. However, remember to remove all dead and dying branches.

If you want a lilac but don’t have a lot of space available, a Dwarf Korean Lilac Tree is a fantastic choice. Instead of reaching nine feet tall, you can expect a lovely, colorful bush four to five feet tall. Luckily, their care is just as easy as a traditional species. If you plant this Dwarf Lilac in a sunny, well-draining location and water properly, you can expect your tree to blossom for years to come.

Meyer's lilac is an unpretentious shrub from Korea. Photo — Botanichka

Many people love lilac for its purple flowers and incomparable aroma. Often, in order to have an adult blooming lilac, you need to allocate enough space in the garden, as the bushes can grow and grow quite strongly over time. Another problem that worries gardeners is the need to remove shoots from the plant. However, with Meyer's dwarf lilac, you can forget about these problems and enjoy the beauty and aroma of lilacs in a small garden without much hassle. What are the features of Meyer's lilac I will tell in this article.

Meyer's lilac - unpretentious shrub from Korea

Botanical note on Meyer's lilac, or Korean lilac

Meyer's lilac (Syringa meyeri) also called Korean or pygmy lilac . This species is not known to exist in the wild. The plant was first discovered by American botanist and traveler Frank Meyer in 1909 in a garden near Beijing.

Dwarf lilac is a compact, round, slow growing deciduous shrub that grows up to 2-2.5 meters in height and the same width. In nurseries, you can often find varieties of Meyer's lilac in a standard form, which is a dense dwarf tree grafted onto a tall trunk. The growth is approximately 10 centimeters per year, so it is a relatively slow growing plant. Pale lilac to violet-purple flowers bloom in small dense apical panicle inflorescences in shape, they are very similar to the usual traditional lilac.

This variety blooms later than the traditional hybrid lilac, late May or early June, depending on the weather. It will bloom with fragrant flowers for several weeks. The smell of its flowers is somewhat different from the usual lilac, but it is also very pleasant. The shrub often blooms a second time at the end of summer. Under ideal conditions, Meyer lilacs can be expected to live for about 30 years.

Meyer's lilac (Syringa meyeri) also called Korean or pygmy lilac

Meyer's lilac care

Dwarf lilacs need full sun. While it can grow in light partial shade, sunlight is critical to producing the most fragrant and beautiful flowers. For best results, plant it in direct sunlight.

Lilac is not picky about soil type or pH. But she needs a moisture-intensive and well-drained soil, in poorly drained soil, the Korean lilac will die. In early spring, after the snow melts, abundantly mulch the near-stem circle with a layer of mulch (5-7 cm) from well-rotted garden compost or manure. This will help retain moisture and nourish the plant.

Dwarf Korean lilac can grow in a variety of conditions. This is a fairly cold-resistant plant, hardy for growing zones from the fourth to the seventh.
Usually there are no major pest or disease problems with this shrub. Unlike common lilac, Korean lilac is not susceptible to powdery mildew and is resistant to other fungal diseases.

This is a relatively low maintenance bonsai. You don't have to worry about pruning this shrub. It should be pruned only after flowering, just cut off the tips of the shoots after the flowers have faded. Never prune these lilacs in summer, winter, or fall or you will remove the flower buds that will bloom next spring.

It is sometimes reported that in cool climates the bushes can freeze slightly, so the first few years young bushes can be covered. It is also recommended to purchase not standard, but bush forms, if the winters are too severe.

Meyer's lilac in landscape design

Dwarf lilac fits perfectly into any space - it has no significant negative characteristics. Despite its compact growth, it has the same large panicles as full-sized lilac species. At the end of spring they are buried in stunning panicles of fragrant lilac-purple flowers that emerge from deep purple buds. Flowers are great for cutting.

Its beautiful appearance, smell and compact size make this plant attractive to homeowners of all styles and sizes. Dwarf Korean lilac will give a modern look to garden plantings. It can be used alone as the center of a composition or in groups as a low hedge. As an accent plant, Meyer's dwarf lilac looks great in a mixborder.

Ideal for small gardens or containers. If you have been thinking about growing lilacs in a pot, then this lilac is for you. It will grow well in a container provided it is well fed and watered regularly.
Korean lilac exudes a strong fragrance and is ideal for planting near the front door and seating areas. As soon as the season ends and autumn begins to approach, this wonderful plant will bloom again.

The beautiful look, scent and compact size of the Korean lilac make it an attractive plant for homeowners of all styles and sizes. Dwarf Korean lilac gives a modern look to garden plantings

Along with flowers, dwarf Korean lilac has attractive foliage. Its charming small leaves are dark green above and lighter green below. When the flowering season is over, you can enjoy a solid green screen that makes a good backdrop for other plants. Most lilacs do not have prominent fall color. Meyer's lilac leaves also do not acquire a noticeable autumn color. But Meyer's 'Palibin' lilac (Syringa meyeri 'Palibin') is an exception and will give a fantastic reddish-purple autumn outfit.

Korean lilac is a good choice for attracting butterflies to your garden. The shrub is also very resistant to air pollution and will thrive even in an urban environment.

Meyer Lilac Varieties

There are currently several ornamental dwarf lilac cultivars with different petal colors.

Meyer’s Lilac ‘Palibin’ (Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’)

This compact dwarf lilac will reward you with numerous clusters of purple flowers. A unique low and at the same time incredibly dense bush, blooming with inflorescences from lilac to deep purple. Award-winning and widely used in the garden. Holds its shape well after cutting. Height 1.2–1.5 m, width 1.5–2.0 m. It has a purple autumn color.

Meyer's Lilac 'Palibin' (Syringa meyeri 'Palibin')

Meyer's Lilac 'Flowerfesta Pink' (Syringa meyeri 'Flowerfesta Pink')

This is one of the re-blooming varieties of lilac, bred by the Dutch breeder André Francisco van Nijnatten. A delightful lilac that blooms more than other varieties for several weeks. It begins to bloom with fragrant pink flowers in May and continues to bloom until June, and in September - the second time. This neat, compact dwarf lilac is perfect for patios or borders in even the smallest garden. Height: 100 cm. Width: 75 cm.0051

The name says it all, this attractive shrub produces many purple flower panicles when in bloom. It remains compact and grows to a height of 125 cm. It is an excellent plant for small gardens and balconies. Its panicles are larger than those of other Meyer lilac varieties. It blooms in early summer and again in autumn, the flowers spread a sweet fragrance.

Syringa meyeri 'Flowerfesta Pink' © baumschule-horstmann Syringa meyeri 'Flowerfesta Purple' © baumschule-horstmann Syringa meyeri 'Flowerfesta White' © concept plants

Syringa meyeri ‘Flowerfesta White’

Compact repeat blooming lilac. In late May, lilacs produce an abundance of pale salmon rosebuds that open to pure white flowers. It blooms for about three weeks, after a short pause it re-blooms in early summer, and in early autumn it appears for the third time. The individual flowers are narrow tubular in shape, in large upright panicles and exude a pleasant sweet scent. The leaves are rather small (3-5 cm long), round-ovate, light green. Forms a dense shrub 1-1.5 m in height and width.

Meyer's dwarf lilac: planting and care

If you love lilac and want to extend its flowering period, believe me, anything is possible. In this case, you should definitely pay attention to the dwarf Korean lilac. We tell you how to plant a fragrant shrub and how to care for it.

Valeria Skripko


The blooming lilac with its sweet fragrance is a breathtaking sight. These hardy shrubs are fairly easy to grow, less prone to disease and pests, and will fit into any garden. Lilac comes in a variety of shades: white, blue, pink and purple. Depending on your place of residence and the chosen variety, the lilac will delight you with its flowering and aroma from April to June. However, some varieties bloom in the spring for more than just a few weeks. They continue to re-bloom in summer and fall, bringing wonderful color and fragrance to the garden. If you have a small area, be sure to consider the Meyer lilac. You definitely won't regret it!

Contents of the article

Features of the Meyer lilac

No matter how big or small your garden is, there is sure to be room for the compact dwarf Korean lilac (Syringa meyeri). This miniature shrub produces an abundance of bright, intense flowers. You're sure to fall in love with its reddish-purple buds, lavender-scented flowers, and even its late-season fall color. It also has several features that distinguish it from other varieties of lilac.

First, Meyer's lilac flowers twice a year - once in mid-May and then again from July until the first frost.

Second, it has an incredible signature scent, refreshing and sweet, reminiscent of jasmine to many. In addition, Meyer Lilacs are ideal for planting near high traffic areas such as patios, pools and more. However, due to its miniature size, it can be planted almost anywhere on your site.

This small shrub is so versatile it will fit into any garden. It will make a fantastic low hedge. In addition, it can be grown even in large pots!

This deciduous shrub has so many flowers that it looks purple rather than green in spring. Fragrant Meyer lilac flowers cover each of the tops of the branches. The color of the buds is dark purple. As they open, they take on a beautiful lavender hue.

Stock up on beautiful vases and use cut branches in flower arrangements. They will certainly enliven the interior and add a touch of freshness.

Meyer Lilac Growing Tips


Lilac bushes prefer northern climates and bloom poorly in the south. First of all, choose a well-lit area with well-drained soil. You can choose almost any location where the lilac will be under the sun from 6 to 8 hours. Once you've decided on a location, dig a hole that's about twice the size of your shrub's root ball. Then place the tree in the ground, tamp the soil down and water so that the roots can take root.

A place in direct sunlight in well-drained soil of medium fertility will help keep the plant healthy and will encourage abundant flowering.

New plantings require evenly moist soil prior to establishment. Then you can water the shrub once a week during the summer season. Mass plantings greatly enhance the impression of this fragrant beauty. You can use a zigzag planting pattern, placing plants every 60-90 centimeters. Mulch the soil between bushes and weed new plantings. You will be amazed at how effective it is.

Meyer lilac pruning

After flowering, it is time to prune lilacs. Remove broken and old branches. Trim new shoots to the base and keep them to a minimum as this will reduce flowering next season. To strengthen the root system, you can pick wilted flowers, this will allow the tree to focus on creating roots.


Fertilize pygmy lilacs only after they have begun to bloom - best with a well-balanced fertilizer once or twice a year.

Watering Meyer Lilacs

Lilacs are quite drought tolerant once established, but it is important to establish a regular watering schedule before then. It is recommended to water the lilac about once a week. If you are not sure when to do this, test the soil at a depth of 5-7 centimeters. If it's dry, then it's time to water.

Meyer lilac varieties