Chinese Tree Lilac (Syringa Reticulata Subsp. Pekinensis ‘Zhang Zhiming’ BEIJING GOLD)

Plant: Table of Contents

Chinese Tree Lilac (Syringa reticulata subsp. pekinensis ‘Zhang Zhiming’ BEIJING GOLD)

As a plant scientist and enthusiast, I am excited to delve into the world of the Chinese tree lilac (Syringa reticulata subsp. pekinensis ‘Zhang Zhiming’ BEIJING GOLD). In this extensive guide, we will explore the nature, cultivation, uses, and maintenance of this stunning plant.

What is the Chinese Tree Lilac?

The Chinese tree lilac (Syringa reticulata subsp. pekinensis ‘Zhang Zhiming’ BEIJING GOLD) is a deciduous tree that belongs to the Oleaceae family. It is native to China and is known for its stunning appearance, fragrant flowers, and relatively low maintenance requirements. The ‘Zhang Zhiming’ variety, also referred to as BEIJING GOLD, is particularly prized for its vibrant golden foliage and beautiful white flowers.

Chinese Tree Lilac Description

The Chinese tree lilac is a medium-sized tree that typically grows to a height of 20-30 feet and spreads about 15-25 feet wide. It is characterized by its broad, rounded canopy and attractive, ovate leaves. The foliage of the ‘Zhang Zhiming’ cultivar emerges in spring with a brilliant golden hue, gradually maturing to a greenish-yellow tone as the season progresses.

The tree blooms in late spring to early summer, producing large, showy panicles of fragrant white flowers. The blossoms are a favorite among pollinators, attracting bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects to the garden.

Key Takeaways

Let’s delve into the key aspects of understanding and cultivating the Chinese tree lilac.


  • Common Name: Chinese Tree Lilac
  • Scientific Name: Syringa reticulata subsp. pekinensis ‘Zhang Zhiming’ BEIJING GOLD
  • Plant Type: Deciduous Tree


The Chinese tree lilac offers various landscape and ornamental applications, including:

  • Garden Feature: Due to its striking appearance, the ‘Zhang Zhiming’ cultivar makes an excellent focal point in the garden or landscape.
  • Shade Tree: Its broad canopy provides ample shade, making it suitable for outdoor seating areas or as a shade tree for smaller plants.


Proper watering is essential to establish a healthy Chinese tree lilac. Provide regular, deep watering during dry spells to ensure adequate moisture for the plant. However, it is important to avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and other moisture-related issues.


The Chinese tree lilac thrives in full sun to partial shade. When selecting a planting location, choose an area that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day for optimal growth and flowering.


Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring to support the growth and blooming of the Chinese tree lilac. Apply the fertilizer around the base of the tree, following the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the dosage and application method.


The Chinese tree lilac prefers well-draining, slightly acidic to neutral soil. Amending the soil with organic matter such as compost can improve its texture and nutrient content, promoting better growth and overall plant health.


Regular pruning is essential to maintain the health and shape of the Chinese tree lilac. Prune the tree in late winter to early spring, removing any dead, damaged, or crossing branches. Additionally, light pruning after the flowering period can help control the size and shape of the tree.


The Chinese tree lilac can be propagated through various methods, including:

  • Softwood Cuttings: Take softwood cuttings in early summer and root them in a suitable propagation medium.
  • Semi-hardwood Cuttings: Semi-hardwood cuttings can be collected in late summer to early autumn and propagated using appropriate methods.

Container Popularity

While the Chinese tree lilac is primarily grown in outdoor landscapes, it can also be cultivated in large containers. Select a spacious container with adequate drainage holes to accommodate the tree’s root system and provide proper care as needed.

Container Common Diseases

When grown in containers, the Chinese tree lilac may be susceptible to certain diseases, including:

  • Root Rot: Overwatering or poorly-draining soil can lead to root rot in container-grown trees.
  • Powdery Mildew: This fungal disease can affect the foliage of the tree, particularly in humid conditions.

Disease Diagnosis

To diagnose and address potential diseases in the Chinese tree lilac, closely monitor the plant for symptoms such as wilting, discoloration, or abnormal growth. Promptly address any signs of disease through proper cultural practices and, if necessary, targeted treatments.

Common Pests

The Chinese tree lilac may encounter pests such as aphids, scales, and borers. Regular inspection of the tree can help identify pest infestations early, allowing for appropriate pest management measures to be implemented as needed.

Botanist’s Tips

For optimal growth and performance of the Chinese tree lilac, consider the following tips:

  • Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the tree to conserve soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, and inhibit weed growth.
  • Regular Monitoring: Keep a close eye on the tree for any signs of stress, disease, or pest activity, intervening as needed to maintain its health and vigor.

Fun Facts

  • The ‘Zhang Zhiming’ cultivar of the Chinese tree lilac is prized for its outstanding golden foliage, adding a unique aesthetic appeal to gardens and landscapes.
  • The fragrant blossoms of the Chinese tree lilac attract pollinators, contributing to the overall biodiversity of the surrounding environment.

Links to External Resources

For additional information on the Chinese tree lilac, its cultivation, and maintenance, refer to the following resources:

  1. The Morton Arboretum: Syringa reticulata subsp. pekinensis ‘Zhang Zhiming’ BEIJING GOLD
  2. Gardening Know How: Chinese Tree Lilac Care – Tips For Growing Tree Lilacs

In conclusion, the Chinese tree lilac (Syringa reticulata subsp. pekinensis ‘Zhang Zhiming’ BEIJING GOLD) is a captivating and versatile tree that can greatly enhance the beauty and biodiversity of gardens and landscapes. By understanding its unique characteristics and implementing appropriate care practices, gardeners and enthusiasts can enjoy the beauty of this remarkable plant for years to come.

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Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.