Forsythia Shrub Care

Overview

Forsythias are one of the earliest spring-blooming plants. When other trees and shrubs are bare, forsythias are announcing the arrival of warmer weather with a profusion of yellow blooms. Often called "golden bell," this fast-growing plant can live for a long time, according to information published by Clemson University. It is also generally resistant to pests and diseases, but some cultivars are less cold-hardy than others and, if exposed to several hard freezes, might not bloom as well.

Light and Space

Forsythias need full sunlight in order to bloom well, according to information published by Clemson University, but they will also flower in partial shade, although growth may be leggy. While they need a lot of room to grow (some cultivars reach 10 feet in height), they compete well with the roots of other plants and can be placed near trees as long as there is enough sunlight.

Soil

These hardy plants can adapt to any type of soil--even soil that has been exposed to the repeated use of herbicides, or soil that is polluted, according to the University of Illinois. If given a preference, however, forsythia would choose loose, well-draining soil rich with nutrients.

Water

Forsythia grows best when the soil is left to dry out between each watering. If the soil is consistently wet, whether from standing water or overwatering, the plant may develop root rot, a fungal disease that can eventually kill the shrub.

Pruning

Pruning is the most important care chore when it comes to forsythias, according to Iowa State University. These shrubs should be pruned as soon as the flowers begin to fade, before summer arrives. If you prune them too late, they will not bloom well the next spring. Remove dead and broken stems, and thin out the bush slightly. Every other year, give the shrub a more vigorous pruning. Remove one-third of the largest stems, to the ground. Unkempt, wild forsythias can be severely pruned to within 4 inches of the ground.

Climate

Forsythias grow best in U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) growing zones 5 though 8, which cover most of the United States save very warm and cold areas.

Forcing

Forsythia branches are easily forced and make an attractive indoor display. Cut them to the desired length and set them indoors in water by a brightly lit window.

Keywords: forsythia shrub care, growing forsythia plants, care of forsythias

About this Author

April Sanders has been a professional writer since 1998. Previously, she worked as an educator and currently writes academic research content for EBSCO publishing and elementary reading curriculum for Compass Publishing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in social psychology from the University of Washington and a master's degree in information sciences and technology in education from Mansfield University.