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ForsythiaForsythia x intermedia

  • Forsythia bush - Forsythia x intermedia
  • Forsythia - Forsythia x intermedia
  • Forsythia - Forsythia x intermedia
  • Forsythia - Forsythia x intermedia
The forsythia is a hardy, deciduous, shrub with an irregular or rank-growing upright or arching habit. Forsythias should be given enough room to spread without topping the branches for part of their beauty lies in the graceful manner in which the branches grow. Its yellow flowers bloom early in the spring before the leaves appear. Late spring freezes may injure the buds reducing flower quality. The leaves are medium to dark green in summer turning green to yellow-green with an occasional tinge of burgundy in the fall. The forsythia tolerates a wide range of soils except permanently wet or exceptionally dry soil. The forsythia will flower best in full sun to partial shade. After a period of time, the forsythia will need pruning and moderate maintenance. Forsythias bloom on wood grown in the previous year. For this reason, pruning should be done in the spring immediately after flowering. The flower buds develop during the summer and fall, and fall pruning will remove them. However, if the buds are already formed, necessary pruning can be done 4-6 weeks before flowering time, and the pruned branches can be forced indoors. Pruning should follow the natural habit of the shrub removing old or dead wood. Cutting the older branches to the ground every year will cause new shoots to grow from the roots and renew the shrub. If the shrub is completely cut down to ground level, it will come back but will take 2-3 years to flower fully. For hedges, plant forsythia 4-6 feet apart.

Hardiness Zones

The forsythia can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 5–8. View Map

Tree Type

Mature Size

The forsythia grows to a height of 8–10' and a spread of 10–12' at maturity.

Growth Speed Fast Growth Rate

This shrub grows at a fast rate, with height increases of more than 24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun and partial shade are best for this shrub, meaning it prefers a minimum of 4 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The forsythia grows in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, silty loam and well-drained soil.

Attributes

This shrub:
  • Blooms in early spring, with a profusion of pale to deep yellow, bell-shaped flowers on the previous year's growth.
  • Develops graceful branches with an upright or arching habit.
  • Features opposite, simple leaves, ovate to oblong-lancelolate in shape and 3–5" in length. The medium to dark green foliage is coarsely toothed along the up half of the margin.
  • Withstands city conditions, including air pollution.
  • Works well as a hedge, planted 4–6' apart.
  • Grows in a rounded shape.
  • Should be pruned immediately after flowering.

History/Lore

The forsythia is named after English horticulturist William Forsythe. It is also called the border forsythia or golden bell. Forsythia x intermedia is a hybrid between F. suspensa and F. viridissima. Many cultivars have been selected from this cross, including dwarf and compact forms.