'Ivory Silk' Tree Lilac - A Remarkable Summer Blooming Tree

Ivory Silk Tree Lilac - Jan Johnsen all rights reserved

Years ago I moved to Northern Vermont to be a landscape designer for a fledgling design / build firm there.  I didn't realize that my 'plant palette' would be greatly altered by the colder weather but I soon became quite knowledgeable about cold hardy plants.

One of my hardy discoveries that has remained a favorite is the ornamental tree,  'Ivory Silk' Tree Lilac (Syringa reticulata "Ivory Silk" ).  This small flowering tree, which grows no taller than 25 feet, was selected by Sheridan Nursery of Ontario, Canada in 1975 as a compact cultivar of Japanese Tree Lilac. It is hardy to USDA Zone 3!

I love Ivory Silk because of two things. First it has spectacular creamy white, fragrant flowers borne in abundance in 6" - 12" long clusters. In my part of the world it blooms from June to July.  The fragrance is similar to a common lilac. 

And secondly, Ivory Silk has a lovely  upright oval form which is quite different from the spreading habits of other small flowering trees such as dogwoods, cherries, magnolias and crabapples.

(one of my landscapes - look for the 2 Ivory Silk tree lilacs in this photo - Jan Johnsen all rights reserved)

The leaves are fairly large and dense. It has no disease or insect problems and is adaptable to a wide range of soils and exposures. Ivory Silk can be used as a patio tree, lawn specimen or even as a small street tree. 

Japanese Tree Lilac won the Cary Award in 2000 for outstanding plant for New England gardens.


  1. I was looking up some info about the Ivory Silk Tree since I have decided to plant one in my garden. I have some information of my own posted on my website; Exquisiteplants.com if anyone is interested?

    I particularly like the quote I found here: "The meaning of life is to find your gift, the purpose of life is to give it away"



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