Common Purple Lilac flowers smell delicious in spring

Common Purple Lilac

Royalty Lilac blooms

Royalty Lilac

James Macfarlane Lilac

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Extremely Hardy James Macfarlane Lilac Fragrant Blooms

  • Large Clusters of Pink Blooms
  • Blooms Later Than Common Purple Lilac
  • Amazing Scent
  • Attracts Butterflies & Hummingbirds
  • Low Maintenance Shrub
  • Non-Suckering Lilac Stays Elegant and Refined
  • Magnificent Flowering Privacy Screens
  • Mildew Resistant
  • Extremely Cold Hardy

Easily extend the amount of time you get to enjoy the mesmerizing springtime scent of Lilacs by simply adding James Macfarlane Lilac (Syringa presoniae 'James Macfarlane'). They bloom just about two weeks later than Syringa vulgaris types. And what magnificent blooms!

True, single, pink flowers bloom freely on large trusses borne on the branch tips for a showy display. These deliciously scented flowers bloom in May and June, depending on where you live. They are especially attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

They are so floriferous; you can use a single stem as a bouquet all by itself. The flowers are held on the plant on excellent stems for cutting and held upright on the plant very nicely.

The flower buds are a dark-rose, almost burgundy color. As the flowers open, the soft, true pink flower color is revealed. For cut flowers, pick them just as the flowers are beginning to open and they'll last in the vase for a long time. The flowers have a wonderful Lilac fragrance, but are not overpowering.

Landscapers love the versatility of this lovely, coarse-textured, deciduous shrub. It makes an elegant oval specimen for a sunny location.

Originating from Canada, tough James Macfarlane is very cold hardy all the way down to Zone 2. This wonderful Lilac blooms about two weeks after Common Purple Lilacs. Bright green foliage turns a buttery yellow in the fall before dropping.

It will not produce suckering growth from the base as the Common Lilacs do. Rather, it remains a strongly oval shrub that stays neat and narrow at the base. For that reason, it is a perfect backdrop to a perennial or mixed shrub border. Plant smaller ornamental shrubs in front without worrying about them being overrun.

Plant in your garden and enjoy the sight and smell of the gorgeous blooms for years to come. Order a James Macfarlane Lilac today!

How to Use James Macfarlane Lilac in the Landscape

This Canadian Hybrid Lilac makes the perfect untrimmed hedge. It grows to just the right height to block messy neighbors or unsightly views from your home.

You'll love these as a friendly fence along your property line, and we're sure your neighbors will agree. There is something wonderful about how the wind blows through big, mature Lilacs standing all in a row.

James Macfarlane makes the perfect backdrop for your mixed shrub border with nice green foliage and masses of huge branched flower trusses that are borne on the branch tips. Face their sunny side with layers of smaller, more colorful shrubs and perennials to create a wonderful focal point.

Use this Lilac as a perfect specimen plant or as an anchor at the corner of your home or deck. It instantly softens hard angles and provides a delicious spring fragrance.

Add privacy to the back of your patio seating. Or, try them in a side yard to shield the view from a window.

Plant one on either side of your outdoor fireplace, or at the entrance of an outdoor garden room. Include several along the backside of a cutting garden and add to cut flower arrangements.

You can even use the super cold hardy James Macfarlane Lilac in a row along the driveway to block blowing snow. Try them on the edge of prairie plantings for the same reason. No worries about winter damage!

James Macfarlane is going to love any wide open, sunny areas and requires little care beyond regular watering. These carefree plants are often used in gorgeous mass plantings for commercial landscapes.

To create a tight hedge, plant them 3 feet apart on center. Measure from the center of one to the center of the next. Increase the spacing to 5 feet apart, if you prefer a looser look and you aren't in a hurry for screening.

Use multiple zig-zagging rows to create a mass planting and cover a wide area with this beautiful, durable plant. Apply mulch between the plants and keep it weeded while you wait for them to grow together.

Butterflies adore this pretty shrub. Give one or more as a housewarming gift, with a Butterfly Identification book and a durable notebook and pen set.

#ProPlantTips for Care

Plant Lilacs in full sun, and it's best to give them well-drained soil. For the best results, Lilacs should be grown in fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soil.

James Macfarlane can tolerate very brief periods of damp soil that would hurt other Lilac varieties. However, well-drained soil is always best.

Keep you plants stress free by applying an even amount of moisture on a regular basis. Add a nice, thick layer of wood chip mulch to keep the root system cool and moist. Start this right away as your new plant is getting established in your native soil.

If you need to prune any crossing branches, prune immediately after the flowers start to fade. Don't wait any longer, or you'll risk removing the blooms for next spring. James Macfarlane will produce flowers on last year's wood, so properly timed pruning is important.

Preston Hybrids are a unique Lilac, in that they will not sucker in your garden bed. They'll stay just where you plant them. James Macfarlane also does not get mildew on its elliptical green leaves.

Deer populations will choose other Lilacs before they go for Preston varieties. In heavy deer pressure, they'll eat just about anything. Always use Deer Repellent spray according to directions if you live with deer. Fence young plants as a precaution.

James Macfarlane Lilac grows well in the frigid winters of Zone 2, so it will absolutely laugh at even the worst winter weather we have in the United States. You'll never have to worry about near-Arctic blasts hurting this special variety. This is a great flowering shrub to use on open, windy prairies, or near lakeshores.

Order your fragrant, rugged James Macfarlane Lilac from the premier growers at Nature Hills Nursery today!

Buying Options for Plants

Nature Hills sells a large variety of plants with several options available. Plants are offered in both potted containers and as dormant bare root without soil. Here is a helpful resource to understand your options as you create a beautiful landscape with help from Nature Hills.

Ever wonder what a larger plant will mean for your landscape? Container Sizes are really all about the age of the plant!

Seasonally, Nature Hills offers hand selected, high quality bare root trees, shrubs and perennials. Bare root plants are sold by height from the top of the root system to the top of the plant. Plants may be taller than the height minimums.

  • Popular sizes of select trees are 1 foot, 2 feet, 3 feet, etc.
  • Popular sizes of select bare root plants is 1 foot, 18 inches, etc.

Nature Hills Container Size by Volume

Young Plants to 18 Months
Size Volume
2"x2"x3" Ranges from .18 to .21 dry quarts / .198 to .23 dry liters in volume
4.5" Container Equal to .65 dry quart / .72 dry liter in volume
Sprinter Pot Equal to .63 dry quart / .69 dry liter in volume
4" Container Ranges from .31 to .87 / .35 to .96 dry liter in volume
6" Container Equal to 1.4 dry quarts / 1.59 dry liters in volume
1 Quart Equal to 1 dry quart / 1.1 dry liter in volume
5.5" Container Equal to 1.89 of a dry quart / 2.08 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x5" Ranges from .8 to 1.1 dry quarts / .88 to 1.2 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x6" Ranges from 1.0 to 1.3 dry quarts / 1.1 to 1.41 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x9" Ranges from 1.1 to 2.1 dry quarts / 1.2 to 2.3 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x10" Ranges from 1.7 to 2.3 dry quart / 1.87 to 2.53 dry liters in volume
Plants 18 Months - 2.5 Years Old
Size Volume
2 Quart Equal to 2 dry quarts / 2.2 dry liters in volume
#1 Container Ranges from 2.26 to 3.73 dry quarts / 2.49 to 4.11 dry liters in volume
5"x5"x12" Equal to 3.5 to 4.3 dry quarts / 3.85 to 4.74 dry liters in volume
Plants 2 - 4 Years Old
Size Volume
#2 Container Ranges from 1.19 to 1.76 dry gallons / 5.24 to 7.75 dry liters in volume
#3 Container Ranges from 2.32 to 2.76 dry gallons / 10.22 to 12.16 dry liters in volume
Plants 3 - 5 Years Old
Size Volume
#5 Container Ranges from 2.92 to 4.62 dry gallons / 12.86 to 20.35 dry liters in volume
#7 Container Ranges from 5.98 to 6.08 dry gallons / 26.34 to 26.78 dry liters in volume

About Plant Sentry™

Plant Sentry is designed to protect both consumers and the nursery trade from invasive plant pests and diseases. Sites that display the Plant Sentry protection badge are protected from consumers buying and nurseries shipping material carrying invasive pests and diseases.

This proprietary eCommerce software prevents the shipment of a restricted plant to each state. The Plant Sentry system includes a shipment certification program. The Plant Sentry Compliance Officer works closely with and each nursery or fulfillment center to ensure only compliant plants are sold to customers.

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To obtain a more accurate shipment time-frame, simply enter your zip code in the “Find Your Growing Zone” box to the right. Our plants are grown all over the country and lead time on items may be different because of this. Once your order is placed, you will also receive the specific shipment time-frame information as part of your order confirmation. Once an item ships, you will receive shipment notification and tracking numbers, so you can follow along while your plant travels to your doorstep.

Shipping Rates

At Nature Hills we handle, package and ship the products you order with the utmost care to ensure healthy delivery. Shipping and handling charges are calculated based on the tables below. Please note that some items include an additional handling surcharge, these will be noted on the item's product page.

From To S&H
0 - 19.99 14.95
20 - 49.99 17.95
50 - 69.99 19.95
70 - 99.99 24.95
100 - 129.99 29.95
130 - 130+ Approx 25%

Click here to see our full rates


James Macfarlane Lilac Is Suited to Grow in Zones 2-7
Growing Zones 2-7
More Information
Brand Nature Hills' Choice
Botanical Name Syringa x prestoniae 'James MacFarlane'
Mature Height 6 - 8 feet
Mature Spread 6 - 10 feet
Sun Exposure Full Sun
Soil Type Well Drained
Moisture Moderate
Growth Rate Medium
Flower Color Pink
Foliage Deciduous
Foliage Color Green
Pollinator Friendly Yes