Miss Kim Korean Lilac: Lavender, Sweetly Fragrant Flowers In May

Miss Kim Korean Lilac: Lavender, Sweetly Fragrant Flowers In May

Miss Kim Korean Lilac

Photo Compliments Of Laine Wolfsong

Syringa pubescens subsp. patula ‘Miss Kim’ or Miss Kim Korean Lilac is a compact cultivar; it is a upright, deciduous shrub which grows 4 to 7 feet tall with a similar spread.

Lavender to ice blue, sweetly fragrant, single flowers are arranged in dense, terminal clusters (panicles that reach 3 inches in length) which cover this shrub in May.  Leaves are elliptic to ovate, dark green leaves (about 5 inches in length) and turn burgundy in autumn.  This is an especially good selection for southern climates.

The reason for choosing Miss Kim Korean Lilac (Syringa pubescens subsp. patula ‘Miss Kim’) is that it blooms later than most lilacs extending the season for your lilacs, it is one of the most fragrant lilacs (even more fragrant than roses), and it has a more compact growth habit making it easier to fit into a small space.  It also has good fall color so it needs to be planted where it can be admired three seasons of the year.

How To Make Your Miss Kim Korean Lilac Thrive

This shrub is easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun. It will tolerate light shade, but best bloom is in full sun.  The ideal condition is rich, moist, somewhat neutral soils.  You will get better results when you provide good air circulation. Prompt removal of faded flower panicles before seed set will increase bloom in the following year.

General Miss Kim Korean Lilac Information

Diseases And Pests

No serious insect or disease problems. This lilac is considered to be a low maintenance plant with excellent resistance to powdery mildew. Young leaves and flower buds are susceptible to frost injury in spring so location is important.


Softwood cuttings should be taken from the current year’s growth while it is still succulent. Make your cuttings when the new growth is 6 to 8 inches long. Each cutting should have two or three nodes.


Pruning the oldest and most damaged branches from the shrub will improve the blooming season. If you leave the lilac bush to grow wild, the blooms will be small, or fail to grow at all. A  good time to prune is directly after a spring bloom, as you will be able to pinpoint the old wood that will not aid future flower production.

Garden Uses

This compact cultivar is a good selection for smaller areas.  It may be massed, grouped, or planted as a small specimen.  Consider it as a choice for shrub borders, foundation plantings, peripheries of borders, or rock gardens.

Quick Facts

  • Family: Oleaceae
  • Botanical Name: Syringa pubescens subsp. patula ‘Miss Kim’
  • Plant Type: Deciduous shrub
  • Flower Color: Purple
  • Blooms: Spring (May)
  • Foliage Color: Green, great fall color
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 3 to 9
  • Height: 4 to 9 feet
  • Width: 5 to 7 feet
  • Light Needs: Full sun
  • Water Needs: Medium, once established needs only occasional watering
  • Average Landscape Size:  Slow grower reaching 6 to 8 ft. tall and wide
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Growth Rate: Slow
  • Key features: Compact habit, later blooming lilac, most fragrant lilac
  • Attracts: Hummingbirds, butterflies
  • Tolerates: Deer

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  1. I love this one-it’s an old favorite here. I use it because it extends the season and is extremely fragrant-just as you said. I also like it because it doesn’t sucker quite as freely as our native lilacs, so it’s easier to keep contained in a given space.

  2. We have one of these, and I am guessing it is almost 25 years old now.
    It’s a wonderful tree.

    • I have seen them get to be six feet; at twenty five years my guess is it could be eight to ten feet if it has not been pruned. I have several spots where I can go to look at shrubs and trees that have reached that maturity, but not for the Miss Kim.
      Charlie@Seattle Trekker recently posted..Miss Kim Korean LilacMy Profile

  3. This is lovely. I don’t grow it but I see it used in NC often. It is supposed to be able to tolerate out hot humid summers better than some other varieties.

  4. They really seem to be tolerant of a wide range of conditions; it would be interesting to see how the warmer winters affect blooms.
    Charlie@Seattle Trekker recently posted..Miss Kim Korean LilacMy Profile

  5. I have been so tempted to try Miss Kim! I once saw (and smelled!) one in a nursery, but lilacs don’t usually like our acid soil or our short, mild winters and hot, humid summers. I wish it weren’t so, and I know if any would survive it would probably be Miss Kim. If I could find one really cheap, I would try!
    debsgarden recently posted..Confederate Jasmine for a Fragrant Layer in the GardenMy Profile

    • The Miss Kim can thrive in a soil pH of 6 to 7.5 so slightly acidic would work. I am pretty careful, but I buy bare root end of season and very selectively purchase from the pot bound plants at end of the nursery season, or plants that have made it to the discard shelf. I have some exceptional specimens that I purchased for 50 to 75% off list. I hate losing a plant, but it does make it a little easier to accept when I am experimenting. I also have a business license so I can buy from the wholesale nurseries at 30 to 35% off list. This isn’t much of a savings, but the plants tend to be much larger and much healthier so they seem to accept harsher conditions better.

  6. Ah – lovely lilac! And it smells so good.
    ladyfi recently posted..Fleeting beautyMy Profile

  7. Good Morning Charlie,

    Well, you are just a wealth of gardening knowledge. We actually planted dwarf lilac bushes along our north property line a couple of years ago. What a beautiful sight! Enjoy the long weekend!

  8. Spring loveliness and fall colour–what a perfect plant!

    I hope you are having better weather than we are: my lovely lilacs had to put up with a snow flurry this morning. Yes, it’s true, on the 24th of May and all of my annuals had to be brought inside overight.
    Patina and Company recently posted..Thriving on Neglect: Easy Plants for Beginning GardenersMy Profile

    • I really enjoy your blog and find it full of useful information…the weather; the weather has been frustratingly unpredictable. I have lost some annuals this which is the first time since I started gardening. The strange thing is the garden is the healthiest it has been in years. Isn’t that odd?
      Charlie@Seattle Trekker recently posted..Miss Kim Korean LilacMy Profile

  9. That is a lilac that is a true favorite with homeowners. Very reliable too.
    Donna recently posted..Winterthur Quarry GardenMy Profile

  10. Surprised to find such current messages on this topic. Can anyone who has a “Miss Kim” tell me if theirs is in bloom or at least showing buds?

    Last year ours was the best ever – fantastic blooms and amazing fragrance. This year it appears that we’ll have nothing. We’re fairly careful about watering and I removed the spend blossoms promptly last year. The main difference that I can think of is the mild winter.

  11. I purchased my Miss Kim from a nursery in Clarkston which told me it would bloom two to three times each season. I’m disappointed in that point, but according to information here I will not be disappointed in the long run here is Spokane where winters are not usually overly harsh. Thanks for the website.

    • My portion of Seattle is Zone 8 and my Miss Kim is just now blooming and filling the air with fragrance; it sits just off the deck so it has become a special treat each year…You made an excellent choice.

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