The Albert F. Holden lilac is a perfect shrub for early spring bloom. The dark purple-colored petals have a silvery blush, giving the flowers a bi-colored hue. Often reaching a mature height of 15 feet, this lilac variety is best used as a privacy screen or hedge. The President Lincoln lilac has unparalleled fragrance with blooms in a wedge-wood shade of blue. Often used as a specimen plant, it attains a 6-foot width and 10-foot height.
The traditional French hybrid lilacs are large shrubs that attain heights of 15 feet and often span 12 feet, with heart-shaped foliage in shades of dark green to nearly blue. They are grown in full sun to part shade and are characterized by their large bloom sizes and beautiful fragrances. Popular varieties include Sensation, with bi-color purple flowers edged in white; Leon Gambetta, a profusely blooming shrub with pink double flowers; and Charles Joly, featuring double flowers in a magenta shade. One of the darkest purple blooms is Edmond Boissier, while Victor Lemoine boasts fragrant lilac-colored double flowers.
Preston lilac cultivars are hybrids developed to bloom later in the season with more resistance to powdery mildew. Varieties include Donald Wyman, with purple single flowers, and Miss Canada, with single flowers of pink.
Dwarf lilac varieties are popular for containers, foundation plantings and edging. They grow more slowly than traditional lilac varieties, with beautifully fragrant flowers and smaller leaves that withstand late-summer mildew. Best known of the compact varieties is the Korean Dwarf lilac or Meyer lilac, which grows only 4 feet in height with a 5-foot width. Its dark violet blooms appear in mid-spring on 4-inch long panicles. Other dwarf lilacs include Tinkerbelle, with wine-colored blooms and a spicy aroma; Josee, a re-blooming variety with pinkish-lavender blossoms; and Palibin, best known for its extreme winter-hardiness.