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Arabian lilac, a garden gem

Arabian Lilac, it even sounds like a gem, doesn’t it?

Here is why the designer side of me loves this plant: it has remarkable leaves that are a soft green on top and a striking purple on the undersides. You don’t have to wait for the flowers for this plant to make a statement, it looks as lovely as a flower all of the time!

Here is why the practical side of me loves this plant: It survives in our terrible soils! This plant can take clay soil like a champion, and still thrive.

Also, I like that you can train it as a medium sized shrub (~4′ tall and wide) or let it be a larger shrub (~6′ to 8′ tall) or train it into a perfect tiny tree. And in the small gardens that most of us have, a perfect tiny tree is something I find myself looking for often.

Image credits: Flaming Petal blog by NZ Garden writer Jane Wrigglesworth, Monrvia Nursery’s website (where you can get great info about this plant and many other excellent plants that they breed).

© Kate Wiseman 2012. In San Diego? Want your own waterwise landscape design? I’d love to help! Please visit for more info.

Sage Outdoor Designs is a San Diego landscape design firm. Kate
Wiseman, the Principal, has been a San Diego landscape designer
for the past ten years. Find out more at