The Korean Lilac (Syringa Pubescens Subsp. Patula) Care Guide

The Korean Lilac, otherwise known as the Syringa Pubescens Subsp. Patula or Littleleaf Lilac ‘Superba’, Very Little Leaf Lilac ‘Superba’, Lilac ‘Superba’, Syringa microphylla ‘Superba’, is a rather well known shrub plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and slow growth, this shrub will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

This is why all the topics you need to know in order to achieve this will be covered in this Korean Lilac Care Guide. Ready? Let’s go!

The fundamental caring guidelines for every Korean Lilac can be summed up into the following:

  • Water: The Korean Lilac wants regular watering to enhance fruit production but as a landscape plant, too much water will be a problem.
  • Light: Keep your Syringa Pubescens Subsp. Patula in an environment where it can receive full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Korean Lilac in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

And as with many other plants, these are the only three care factors you need to remember to make sure your Korean Lilac is, for the most part, healthy and well to survive.

Korean Lilac care

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Korean Lilac belongs to the Caprifoliaceae family, the genus Symphoricarpos and the species Orbiculatus, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Syringa Pubescens Subsp. Patula (sih-REEN-gah pew-BES-senz PAT-ew-la).

As with other Symphoricarpos’s, the Korean Lilac is a deciduous plant, which means it will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

Growing Region

The Korean Lilac is a plant native to the Tennessee, New Mexico, Kentucky, Alabama, Illinois, and Vermont.

Knowing your plant’s native region is very useful, as it can give you tips on which environment is best for your Korean Lilac. If you keep it in mind, you can try to replicate these conditions at home, and you’ll likely end with a healthier plant.

With this in mind, the Syringa Pubescens Subsp. Patula will be most used to climate zones that fall between the range of 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, A2, A3.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Korean Lilac is a relatively slow grower, which makes things easy for any plant enthusiast.


But what exactly does this mean for your Korean Lilac? How large a pot should you consider, how tall, how wide can it get? Let’s jump in…

The Syringa Pubescens Subsp. Patula can grow up to 5′ – 7′ (150cm – 210cm) in 5′ – 7′ (150cm – 210cm) and 10′ – 15′ (3m – 4.5m) in 10′ – 15′ (3m – 4.5m). 


In terms of watering, the Korean Lilac is a fairly complicated plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Syringa Pubescens Subsp. Patula wants regular watering to enhance fruit production but as a landscape plant, too much water will be a problem.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

Korean Lilac flowers


As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Korean Lilac in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, moist, and occasionally dry properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

In our experience, the famous ‘thumb’ or ‘finger’ test is what works best for the Korean Lilac since with it, you will be able to give it the right amount of water, every time – regardless of the environment or placement where you do decide to keep it.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Korean Lilac prefers to have soil with good drainage, moist, and occasionally dry properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

This is why most experts agree that the Korean Lilac requires soil with clay, loam (silt), and sand, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably neutral to alkaline soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Korean Lilac requires full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this shrub will do well as long as you keep it in full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Syringa Pubescens Subsp. Patula in from full or deep shade (no direct sunlight or at most 2 hours per day), to little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to dappled or moderate shade (under other plant’s canopy), and finally full and direct sun (more 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being a deciduous plant, the Korean Lilac will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (late), the summer (early, mid, late), and during the fall.


You can expect your Korean Lilac to flower around the summer months from July to September (summer).

In particular, this shrub is well known for its fragrant, flowers for cutting and showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Korean Lilac produces some beautiful purple, or purple/lavender, pink and white flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Korean Lilac have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a simple arrangement with a opposite organization in its leaves.

You can expect the leaves from your Syringa Pubescens Subsp. Patula to be around (1-3 inches) in size.

Korean Lilac and butterfly

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Korean Lilac is well known for being able to attract butterflies and birds, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for animals like deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Syringa Pubescens Subsp. Patula will be fine.


How should you then organize your garden to include your new Korean Lilac? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Most Syringa Pubescens Subsp. Patula owners agree that this shrub will look great in most cottage and rustic gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of informal and cottage, city and courtyard, and in traditional garden styles. 

In particular, the Korean Lilac’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, and in hedges and screens, others use it for landscaping in a specimen, privacy screen, mass planting, hedge, firescaping/fire wise, cutting garden, border, or a urban garden.

Companion Plants

Korean Lilac’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Buxus or the Green Spire Euonymus, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Weigela or Weeping Siberian Peashrub will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!


And we’ve come to an end. Fortunately, that’s everything you need to know about your Korean Lilac to keep it safe and sound in your garden or home. Enjoy planting!

Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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