Star-shaped reddish purple flowers appear in large dramatic clusters in early spring. The scent is spicy sweet—the essence of spring. The deciduous shrub reaches 6 to 8 feet tall and 5 to 6 feet wide; it takes full sun, or light shade in the hottest climates. Most lilacs bloom best in regions with winter chill (Sunset climate zones A1–A3; 1–11, 14–16). In mild winter areas (zones 18–22), try Descanso Hybrids.