Growing Forsythia (Forsythia)

Latin Name Pronunciation: for-sih'thee-uh  

The cheerful yellow blossoms covering Forsythia's bare stems are a welcome harbinger of spring, and burgundy-red fall color is another plus. A loose, arching habit suits Forsythia for informal shrub borders, hedges and banks, while the low-growing varieties are splendid ground covers. Reinforce that spring color with spring bulbs, such as Scilla or Crocus. The stems of Forsythia can be cut in late January or February and forced indoors.

Light: Full sun.

Soil: Average garden soil.

Watering: The key to getting your new shrub or tree off to a good start is moisture. Water thoroughly after planting, and keep a close eye on the plant over the following week. Then, give it a good soaking once a week during summer, unless rainfall is plentiful (more than 1″ per week). Established plants can generally get by on less water, but most grow best if the soil remains evenly moist. Please note that more is not better—when in doubt, don't water.

Fertilizer: We recommend against fertilizing at planting time and during the first growing season in your garden. Plants need time to settle in before being pushed to grow. Most established plants grow best if fertilized with a light hand. Here at the Farm, we fertilize our specimen trees and shrubs just once, in early spring, with a light but even coverage of a balanced, granular fertilizer (such 5-10-10, 10-10-10, or an organic fertilizer). If a concentrated, water-soluble fertilizer is used, please follow the manufacturer's recommendations carefully.

Continuing Care: Vigorous and easy to grow. Late frosts may damage flower buds. For established plants, cut ⅕ to ⅓ of the old canes to the base after flowering to promote new growth and keep shrub in bounds. Forsythia is rarely troubled by insects or diseases.