Skip to Content

15 Great Companion Plants for Lilacs

Sharing is caring!

Discover the 15 best companion plants for lilacs in this comprehensive guide. Lilacs, with their fragrant flowers and beautiful blooms, thrive in well-drained soil and bloom from early spring through late summer, offering plenty of options for companion planting.

A lilac is any of the twelve (12) currently recognized species of flowering plants in the genus Syringa of the olive family known as Oleaceae.

Lilacs are woody perennial plants which bear dry brown fruits and are used as food for insects.

Grown mostly from Europe to Asia and in other temperate areas of the world, lilacs grow in bushes as small trees. They may reach between 6 and nearly 33 feet in length, and they possess very thick stems.

The leaves of these plants are usually arranged opposite from each other. In most species, leaves are heart-shaped or broad lanceolate but some species have pinnate leaves. The flowers of lilacs bloom in the spring, usually purple (a light shade called lilac), pink, pale yellow, white or dark burgundy.

In this article, you will learn of fifteen (15) good companion plants for lilacs. This will provide useful information on what to and what not to plant in the garden alongside your lilacs, with reasons why.

Companion planting is a tried and true method used by farmers and gardeners to ensure that their garden crops are grown around other crops that help foster their growth. It is a grouping of plants in order to share benefits.

Many other crops may be planted with your lilacs to foster their growth, help keep pests away from them, attract useful insects to them, help the soil with nutrients, maximize garden space or shade them from excess sunlight.

However, lilacs are not easily susceptible to attacks from a number of garden pests. Plants often used as companions for lilac bushes are as a result mostly those with aesthetic flowers that make your garden look more beautiful.

To grow properly, lilacs require full exposure to sunlight, good drainage and annual pruning. As for their soil, these plants need rich or fertile soil high in organic matter that drains well and has a slightly alkaline pH of 6.5 to 7.0.

Lilacs are medicinal herbs known over the years to reduce fevers. Some parts of their trees can also be used to make lilac tea, a soothing, calming and relaxing drink remarkable for aiding digestion and easing stomach difficulties or pains.

All parts of these beautiful plants lack chemicals or toxins that harm or are detrimental to the health of human beings and other animals. They do not irritate the skin and their flowers are edible. Keep reading to learn more about lilac companion plants.

Good Companion Plants for Lilacs

1. Clematis

Clematis growing in a garden.
Clematis growing in a garden.

Clematis, a great choice for lilac companions, thrives in the same well-drained, moist soil as lilacs. Planting clematis nearby in early spring encourages new growth that intertwines gracefully with lilac branches, ensuring full bloom synchronization. Their climbing nature allows for vertical interest, making them great additions to any lilac garden.

The genus Clematis, consisting of nearly four hundred (400) species, belongs to the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. Of the flowering plants in this genus, most species are popularly called clematis while other names are used to refer to others.

Some of the various common names of clematis are: virgin’s bower, traveller’s joy, old man’s beard and vase vine. These perennial plants are mostly woody climbing vines which may be low shrubs.

Like lilac, clematis grows best in moist, well draining soil, under full exposure to sunlight and in cool climate. This is a valid reason for companionship as comfort and similarity of growth requirements ensure that both plants are healthy.

Clematis vines are light and need support. When planted with lilacs, the clematis can use the lilac as a trellis, scaling its length and growing towards full view of the sun. Your lilac branches and stems are not harmed in this process.

Instead, the clematis blossoms when the lilac’s flowers are already faded. This way, vibrance, color and beauty are added to your garden space. The clematis ensures that your lilac plants do not lose their relevance when their flowers are done.

2. Columbines

Columbines growing in a garden.
Columbines growing in a garden.

Columbines or granny’s bonnets are any of the 60 to 70 species of perennial flowering plants in the genus Aquilegia. They are native to the Northern Hemisphere, found in forests, meadows and mountainous areas.

These woody plants are widely recognized by the petals of their flowers which are spurred or which have tubular extensions at their base. Their stems are erects and their roots form thick rhizomes.

Columbines are fragile plants with blue, orange, purple, red, white or yellow flowers. They thrive under shade but in the cooler parts, they could be exposed to some more sunlight for optimal growth.

Lilacs can have columbines growing comfortably beneath the shade of the bush or tree. Both plants are ornamentally compatible, as the colors of their blossoms complement each other and columbines produce bell-shaped flowers between mid spring and early summer.

3. Daffodils

Daffodil plant close-up.
Daffodil plant close-up.

Daffodils, blooming in early spring alongside lilacs, act as a natural choice for underplanting, providing a lush, low-maintenance plant option that brings early color to the garden. Their resilience to cold temperatures and beautiful blooms make them a good idea for any lilac garden.

Also known as jonquil or narcissus, daffodil is a genus of flowering perennial plants of the family Amaryllidaceae, the amaryllis family. Species usually have solitary yellow nodding flowers that predominantly bloom in the spring.

Daffodils are not edible but they are cultivated for their very striking flowers. These plants really love being exposed to full sunlight, like lilacs, and require a lot of moisture. They provide warm, sunny color by virtue of their flowers but these flowers may also be red, white, orange or pink.

Because of their beautiful and aesthetically pleasing flowers, daffodils attract beneficial insects such as European honey bees, monarch butterflies and rusty-patched bumble bees to aid pollination. They also repel deer, rabbits and rodents like mice and rats.

Like lilacs, daffodils bloom or flower in the spring. They also spread or multiply quickly and fill up empty spaces, ensuring that weeds are not encouraged to spring up. Because they are attractive, flower at the same time as lilacs and control weed growth, they are good companion plants.

Some other plants that bloom in the spring can be planted near by to curb the growth and spread of weeds. Daffodils are pretty easy to grow and care for so definitely consider planting them beside your lilac bush or tree.

4. Day Lilies

Pink daylilies close up.
Pink daylilies close up.

Daylilies or day lilies are flowering plants in the genus Hemerocallis within the family Asphodelaceae. They are perennial plants cultivated widely because their flowers are very attractive. These flowers typically last about only a day, which is the reason for the plant’s common name.

Spreading perennial crops like day lilies are aesthetically pleasing beside and thus good companion plants for lilac plants. This is because they grow to about between 2 and 4 feet in length.

At this height, they can hide the lanky and awkward-looking lower sections of lilac bushes. They are also comfortable in close proximity to lilacs because both plants can thrive in similar conditions.

With full sun and a well drained, fertile soil, day lilies can grow well. They are even drought tolerant, able to thrive in a wide range of areas and easy to cultivate because they have low care needs.

The beautiful and showy flowers of day lilies may come in several colors such as soft coral, yellow, pink, red and vivid orange. All of these colors complement the pink, purple or white blooms of lilac plants.

5. Dogwoods

Pink dogwood close-up.
Pink dogwood close-up.

Dogwoods are woody plants, shrubs or small trees in the genus Cornus that belong to the biological family Cornaceae. There are around 30 to 60 species in this genus. Most bloom, producing white flowers, but size and color varies by species.

These plants are cultivated for the hard timber that they yield and their decorative foliage. Their bark, blossoms, colorful berries and red stems are very distinctive. They are native to north temperate regions.

Dogwoods are good companion plants for lilacs. Although the lilac is not very susceptible to attacks from pests, dogwood can provide the benefit of pest control. It attracts beneficial insects to your garden or orchard, including those that aid in pollination and those that prey on common garden pests.

Bees, beetles, butterflies of several species, giant silk moths and many other pollinators cum pest predators are attracted to dogwood. Aphids, harmful beetles, flies, mealybugs, mites, scales, thrips and young whiteflies are controlled by these.

Flowering shrubs or small trees like weigelas, flowering cherries and magnolias are suitable for lilacs. When they are all planted near lilacs in the same area, their blooms are very attractive and add vibrancy to your garden.

6. Flowering Cherries

Flowering cherries close-up.
Flowering cherries close-up.

Flowering Cherries, blooming in unison with lilacs in early spring, are a spectacular sight. Their pink blossoms and green foliage are a testament to the garden’s vibrancy, showcasing the synergy between different plant species

The flowering, East Asian or Japanese cherry is a cherry tree species which grows naturally in Japan, China and Korea. The name is also used to refer to a cultivar of the Oshima cherry which is a cherry tree endemic to Japan.

The leaves or foliage of this type of tree is a beautiful purplish red color and its flowers, which also bloom in the spring, are a beautiful pink color. The tree also bears edible fruit after it has blossomed.

Flowing cherries are very good companion plants for your lilac bushes. They may be pruned into shrubs or allowed to grow past the height of the lilac. They are ornamental plants which usually blossom at the same time as lilacs.

Because of their beautiful foliage, stunning flowers, shape and often shiny barks, these trees look spectacular near lilacs. For a more aesthetic space, add some other flowering shrubs like dogwoods, magnolias and weigelas.

7. Grape Hyacinths

Grape hyacinths growing in the field.
Grape hyacinths growing in the field.

Grape hyacinths should not be confused with hyacinths. The former are perennial spherical, rounded or bulbous plants which are known by the botanical genus name Muscari. They are native to Eurasia.

Many species of the genus Muscari (grape hyacinths) are cultivated to be used as ornamental plants in the garden. The flowers that they produce also bloom in the spring and the most common color of these is blue.

They resemble grape bunches as they grow in spikes, look like urns (in shape) and are dense. Grape hyacinths spread very fast and can maximize the space in your garden. As they emerge in the spring, they spread and fill empty holes.

The flowers of grape hyacinths are also naturally good near your lilacs because both plants produce flowers and bloom at the same time. Other spring bulbs with the same effect are daffodils, peonies and tulips.

You should only plant grape hyacinths near lilacs if you need them to fill empty spaces. This is as a result of their growth behavior. They form colonies and then spread around in all directions. They thrive in both sun and shade so they can grow under lilacs, and they may bloom again in the summer.

8. Hostas

Hostas close-up growing in a garden.
Hostas close-up growing in a garden.

Hostas, also known as plantain lilies, are the monocotyledons in the genus Hosta which belongs to the biological family Asparagaceae. The plants in this genus were once classified under the family Liliaceae.

They are flowering plants, tolerant of shade and native to the northeastern part of Asia. Hostas have large, showy leaves that look very beautiful beside the flowers of lilacs. The blue flowers that hostas produce are also stunning alongside those of lilacs.

There are species of hostas with golden specks on their leaves. You can plant this kind near lilac bushes with white or lavender flowers. Several sizes, shapes, colors and species of hostas exist and they may be planted in various ways near lilacs.

Hostas are flowering shrubs that grow very comfortably under the shade of lilac bushes. They may grow up to 4 feet high and with their large and flamboyant leaves, they can also hide the awkwardness of the lilac tree’s base.

9. Lady’s Mantle

Lady's mantle close-up.
Lady’s mantle close-up.

Lady’s mantle is the common name for plants that belong to the genus Alchemilla, a genus of flowering and herbaceous perennial plants within the rose family Rosaceae. Some parts of these plants may be made into a herbal tea or used for medicinal purposes.

Within this genus, there are about 700 species of lady’s mantles. Most are native to the temperate and subarctic regions in the continents of Europe and Asia, and a few are native to Africa, South America and North America.

Lady’s mantles thrive in various soil conditions. However, the plants prefer to grow in slightly acidic to neutral soil. Lilacs can also grow in soils with neutral pH so both can be very comfortable side by side.

Also, they are drought tolerant when established within the soil. However, they will need to be watered more frequently in areas where they are exposed to full sunlight or where there is a lot of heat so as to ensure that their leaves do not brown.

Lady’s mantles thrive both in full sun and partial shade. They even tolerate near-complete shade so they can comfortably grow in the shade of your lilac tree. Because of their height, they can help hide the appearance of the base of lilacs.

10. Magnolias

Magnolia flowers in bloom.
Magnolia flowers in bloom.

Magnolia is a large genus in the family Magnoliaceae that contains between 210 and 340 species which are commonly called magnolias. The flowering plants in this genus produce cone shaped fruits in the fall but often bloom in the spring.

They may be evergreen or deciduous trees or shrubs that tend to spread widely. Magnolias typically have broad and aromatic or sweet smelling blossoms which may be shaped like bowls or stars. The flowers are usually green, pink, purple, white or yellow in color.

To grow well, magnolias need soil that is moist, drains well and is slightly acidic. However, soils with neutral or slightly alkaline pH levels are good for them to. They may become moderately drought tolerant when properly established.

Magnolias, as flowering shrubs, look beautiful beside your lilacs. Their flowers also bloom in the spring, and if grown alongside other plants with flowers such as dogwoods, flowering cherries and weigelas, they make for a stunning garden space.

11. Maypop

Maypop close-up with green leaves in the background.
Maypop close-up with green leaves in the background.

Another kind of plant that serves as a good companion for lilac bushes or trees is maypop. This species may also be more known as purple passionflower, true passionflower, wild apricot or wild passion vine.

It belongs to the passionflower genus Passiflora. Maypops are fast-growing hardy perennial plants that have climbing or trailing stems. Their blush purple flowers are large and very sophisticated. They may be found as wildflowers or cultivated for their fruit which have many seeds and edible juice.

Much like clematis, the maypop plant has light vines which need trellises for support. Lilac bushes can serve as good supporting trellises for maypops and even for the vines of other passionflower species.

The large, bordered flowers that appear when the maypop is in bloom are usually noticed after the flowers of lilacs have already faded so they are a beautiful addition to your garden when lilac bushes are no longer blossoming.

Maypops can grow well and thrive whether they are placed in full sun or beneath partial shade. For this reason, avoid planting them in areas where they will be completely blocked from the sun by the tall lilac bushes. They can grow under the shade but should be allowed to receive sunlight too.

12. Peonies

Peonies close-up.
Peonies close-up.

These plants may also be spelled as paeonies. The peony is a flowering plant in the only genus of the biological family Paeoniaceae, which is known as Paeonia. They are native to Asia, Europe and Western North America. Between 25 and 40 distinct species have been recognized.

Peonies also bloom in the spring so they are frequently used by gardeners as companion plants for lilacs. Both plants flowers at the same time, and peonies also help to fill empty spaces and control the growth of weeds.

They can multiply and spread out all over the area. Some other flowering bulbous plants like daffodils, grape hyacinths and tulips can also be cultivated in large quantities to add vibrant colors to the area and control weeds.

Peonies produce flowers of different colors, such as pink, red and white. They complement the flowers of your lilac bushes very well. Although both plants flowers at about the same time, peonies are at their peak right after lilac flowers fade.

13. Roses

Red flowering shrub roses close up
Red flowering shrub roses close up

Roses woody flowering plants in the biological family Rosaceae. These biennial or short lived perennial plants have distinct flowers which are popular for decoration. The different species or cultivars of roses have peculiar colors.

Lilacs and roses are comfortable growing together because they have similar requirements and care needs. Both plants appreciate full or direct exposure to sunlight. Both plants’ roots thrive in moist but well drained soil.

Both plants possess beautiful flowers to attract pollinators, mostly bees and butterflies, to themselves and other plants in the garden. This companionship ensures your garden is pleasing to the sight and attractive to beneficial insects.

14. Tulips

Tulips growing in the field.
Tulips growing in the field.

The plants commonly known as tulips all belong to the genus  Tulipa within the lily family Liliaceae. They are bulbous plants which bloom in the spring. These herbaceous perennials also have beautiful flowers.

The flowers of tulips are very big, flamboyant and bright in color. Some flower colors popular within this genus are red, pink, yellow, white and other warm colours. Tulips serve as good companion plants for your lilac bushes.

Like lilacs, they bloom in the spring so they are naturally used as companions to make for a beautiful garden. Other spring bulbs like daffodils, grape hyacinths and peonies can be grown as well to discourage weed growth.

All of these plants bloom in the spring as well and multiply, taking up the space that weeds would otherwise flourish in. Also, tulips are easy to grow. The lilac bushes can hide their leaves when they brown in the summer.

15. Weigela

Weigela close-up with green leaves in the background.
Weigela close-up with green leaves in the background.

There are about 6 to 38 species of deciduous shrubs in the genus Weigela. These plants belong to the biological family Caprifoliaceae and they are natives to the eastern part of Asia.

Weigelas have short to fairly long which are ovate-oblong in shape and taper or narrow to a slender point at the tip. Early in the summer, these plants produce pink, red, white or, although rare, yellow flowers with five lobes.

Flowering shrubs or small trees, such as weigela, dogwoods, flowering cherries and magnolias tend to make fantastic companions for lilacs. Their flowers are beautiful and when planted together, the combination is breathtaking.

Bad Companion Plants for Lilacs

While one of the main reasons for companion planting is the protection of plants from pests and diseases, lilacs are not really susceptible to the above. In short, good companion plants for lilacs are based on other reasons.

Such reasons include ornamental compatibility, similarity of growing conditions and maximizing of garden space. Lilacs have very adorable flowers but they bloom only for a short while. The companions complement and look good near lilac.

All this said, there are not exactly bad companion plants for lilacs. Simply aim to cultivate other flowering plants that also bloom in the spring and have similar growth requirements to those of lilacs and the companionship is ideal.


What plants go well with lilac?

Pink daylilies close up.

Some plants that go well with lilac include clematis, columbines, daffodils, day lilies, dogwoods, flowering cherries, grape hyacinths, hostas, lady’s mantles, magnolias, maypops, peonies, roses, tulips and weigelas.

Do you need to plant two lilac trees together?

Lilac flower close-up.

Yes, you can plant lilacs next to each other but not too close. Lilac trees or bushes should be planted about 5 to 15 feet away from each other.

Can hydrangeas grow with lilacs?

Purple Hydrangeas growing in the garden.

Yes, hydrangeas can grow with lilacs but be careful as they may show little growth and they may not even flower.

Where is the best place for lilac bush?

Lilac flowers in bloom.

For the best results, place lilac bushes underneath full sun or partial shade, although they prefer full sunlight, and grow them in slightly alkaline to neutral soil.

Where should you not plant lilac bushes?

So, if you’re thinking about planting lilac bushes, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you’ll want to make sure you choose a spot with good drainage.

Lilacs don’t like to have wet feet, so avoid planting them in areas that tend to stay soggy or where water tends to collect.

They also need plenty of sunlight, so pick a spot that gets at least six hours of direct sun per day.

If your soil is too alkaline, you may need to add some amendments to lower the pH and make it more suitable for lilacs.

And if you live in a warmer climate, be sure to choose a type of lilac that can handle the heat. Does that help? Let me know if you have any other questions!

How do you use lilacs in landscaping?

Lilac bushes can be a beautiful addition to any landscaping project.

Here are a few lilac bush landscaping ideas to get you started:

Use lilac shrubs as a fragrant border: Plant a row of lilacs along the edge of your property or around a garden bed to create a fragrant, colorful border.

Create a lilac hedge: If you have a larger property, consider planting a row of lilacs close together to create a hedge. This can provide privacy and a beautiful backdrop for other plants and flowers.

Combine lilacs with other spring-blooming plants: Lilacs bloom in the spring, so they pair well with other early-blooming plants like tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. Plant them together for a stunning display of color and fragrance.

Plant lilacs in containers: If you don’t have space for a full garden, consider planting lilacs in large containers. This can be a great way to add some color and fragrance to a patio or balcony.

Use lilacs as a focal point: If you have a large yard or garden, consider planting a single lilac bush as a focal point. This can create a stunning visual centerpiece and provide a beautiful backdrop for other plants and flowers.

So, there you have it! Those are just a few ideas for your lilac landscape project to get you started.

Do you need to plant two lilac trees together?

Yes, but they should be planed 5 to 15 feet appart.

Wrapping up

Lilacs are not only beloved for their fragrant lilac blooms, but they are also popular blooming shrubs for many gardens.

With over 20 lilac varieties to choose from, you can find a lilac that will fit any landscaping style. To add texture and interest to your garden, consider pairing lilac bushes with ornamental grasses, which can provide a striking contrast in both color and form.

Lilacs are woody perennial plants which bear dry brown fruits and are used as food for insects. They are flowering plants in the genus Syringa of the olive family known as Oleaceae. Listed and explained above are fifteen (15) good companion plants for lilacs.

Twelve (12) species and subspecies of lilacs are recognized, alongside nine (9) hybrids. The species and subspecies of lilacs are:

1. Broadleaf or early blooming lilac (Syringa oblata),

2. Common lilac (Syringa vulgaris),

3. Himalayan lilac (Syringa emodi),

4. Hungarian lilac (Syringa josikaea),

5. Japanese tree lilac (Syringa reticulata),

6. Korean early lilac (Syringa oblata subsp. dilatata),

7. Nodding lilac (Syringa komarowii),

8. Syringa pinetorum,

9. Syringa pinnatifolia,

10. Syringa pubescens,

11. Syringa tomentella and

12. Villous lilac (Syringa villosa).

The hybrids are:

1. Cutleaf or cut-leaf lilac: S. × laciniata (S. protolaciniata × S. vulgaris)

2. Persian lilac: S. × persica L. (syn Syringa protolaciniata)

3. S. × chinensis (S. vulgaris × S. persica)

4. S. × diversifolia (S. oblata × S. pinnatifolia)

5. S. × henryi (S. josikaea × S. villosa)

6. S. × hyacinthiflora (S. oblata × S. vulgaris)

7. S. × josiflexa (S. josikaea × S. komarowii)

8. S. × prestoniae (S. komarowii × S. villosa)

9. S. × swegiflexa (S. komarowii × S. sweginzowii)

Lilacs have since been used as medicinal herbs to provide relief for fevers. Several parts of the tree or bush can also be used to make lilac tea, a soothing, calming and relaxing drink used to assist with digestion and relieve stomach or digestive problems.

No part of the lilac contains harmful chemicals or toxins. The plant is neither detrimental to the health of human beings nor other animals. In fact, parts of the plant are edible and they do not irritate the skin.

While growing them, remember that lilacs need full exposure to sunlight (although they can grow in partial shade as well), good drainage, annual pruning and soil which drains well, is rich or fertile, is high in organic matter and has a slightly alkaline pH of 6.5 to 7.0.

More plant stuff