How to Plant & Care for Forsythia


The bright yellow blooms of the forsythia bush add a cheerful note to the gray scenery of early spring. The blooms appear in early April and last about two weeks. Once flowering is complete the bush will quickly become covered in bright green leaves. Forsythia are available in many different varieties, some as small as 1 foot tall with others reaching heights of up to 10 feet. Forsythia bushes do best in full sun and soil that drains well, and they are resistant to most insects and diseases.

Step 1

Dig a hole that is two times as wide and the same depth as the container that the forsythia bush was purchased in.

Step 2

Add a 4-inch layer of organic compost to the planting hole. If the forsythia is growing in a plastic pot, gently squeeze the sides until the root ball slides out easily. If the bush is wrapped in burlap or other material, cut it free, taking care not to damage the roots.

Step 3

Place the root ball into the planting hole at the same level it was growing in its container. Replace the loosened soil and pat down to remove air pockets from around the roots.

Step 4

Soak the plant until the soil feels very moist, but not waterlogged. Continue to water whenever less than 1 inch of rain has fallen per week during the first growing season. After the roots are well-established, supplemental watering is only necessary during drought conditions.

Step 5

Fertilize once each year in late winter or early spring with a 10-10-10 fertilizer.

Step 6

Prune 1/4 of the largest branches back all the way to the ground every two years. Do not prune until flowering is complete because forsythia blooms on old wood.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Organic compost
  • 10-10-10 fertilizer
  • Pruning loppers


  • Iowa State University: Growing Forsythia in the Home Landscape
  • The Garden Helper: Care and Cultivation of Golden Bells Plants
  • North Dakota State University Extension: Questions on Forsythia
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension: Forsythia
Keywords: forsythia, plant forsythia, care for forsythia, forsythia bush

About this Author

Annita Lawson has been working as a freelance writer since 2004. Her work has been published in various web and print outlets, including The Dabbling Mum, A Virtuous Woman, and Pediatrics for Parents. Lawson is pursuing an Associate of Arts degree at Southeast Kentucky Community College. She enjoys sharing all that she has learned about parenting, healthy eating and living a frugal lifestyle.