My home garden is in Monroe, Ohio. Officially in USDA hardiness zone 6a, we still, however briefly, have hit zone 5a lows in winters not to distantly past. The soil in my immediate vicinity is Eden silty clay. In many local developments, the good stuff has been scraped away and sold off as topsoil to some other poor schmuck who also had THEIR upper soil horizons scraped away. Whatever we had upon our arrival has been amended with horse manure, coir, and compost. There is no bed in my yard that couldn’t have been amended some more.

08 February 2013

'Palibin' lilac

Given the fact that Syringa meyeri 'Palibin', or dwarf Korean lilac, has been in the trade since the 1920's, one might expect to see more of it in the landscape. After all, it really has quite a lot going for it.

'Palibin' blooming in early May of 2006.

The more familiar common lilac, S. vulgaris, easily reaches heights of eight or nine feet and typically forms a clump just as wide via suckers. S. meyeri is, as the common name suggests, more diminutive in nearly every aspect. It typically tops out around four or five feet in height and spread, possibly making it more appealing for the smaller garden/yard. For what it's worth, 'Palibin' blooms slightly later; usually only beginning to bloom when common lilac is peaking bloom.

The same specimen as above, late April of 2010. Still less than 5' tall, but spread out a bit. 

Discounting size, 'Palibin' still has a number of advantages over common lilac, most notably that it is resistant to powdery mildew. While the leaves of many common lilacs gray over and possibly drop off, the medium-green leaves of 'Palabin' stay clean through the humidity and heat of summer. I've grown 'Palibin' on both the east and north sides of my house (sometimes I test limits) and never saw any mildew. However, it also produced fewer blooms in those locations. A sunny location would really be optimal as far as limiting potential mildew problems and getting the most blooms.

'Palibin' and bronze fennel
The flowers of 'Palabin', as with most lilacs, are delightfully fragrant. But that fragrance differs from that of common lilac. Whether that's better or worse is a matter of judgement best left to the nose that will be inhaling the scent.

'Palibin' and ragwort

As a genus, Syringa doesn't usually have much to offer in the way of fall color, but foliage on 'Palibin' may change a bit in autumn.

October 2009

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