Forsythia, yellow flowering shrub

Forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia) is a deciduous shrub (loses leaves in winter) that displays brilliant yellow flowers for two to three weeks in early to mid-spring. Cold hardy in USDA planting zones 4 through 8, forsythia grows about 10 feet tall and wide. Forsythia, planted about 10 feet apart in a row, creates a low privacy fence.  Set shrubs 6 to 8 feet apart for a dense hedge.

The shrub tolerates windy conditions. After the blooms fade, green leaves display. The leaves turn a purplish color in the fall. The shrub produces long stems or "cane." Some limbs grow upright while others droop from the weight of the foliage. Plant in full sun and well-drained soil.

Base of forsythia

Care

Water forsythia for the first few months following planting. Rainfall alone is sufficient once the shrub is established. The shrub grows quickly. Pruning is not needed, and if fact, forsythia looks best when allowed to grow naturally. If you prefer to control the shape of forsythia, prune after the shrub blooms. Buds for the following year will set by fall. Cut the thickest (oldest) limbs near the ground, which encourages younger, healthier branches to take over.

Force forsythia to bloom

Get a jump on spring and cut some limbs of forsythia any time after January. You can force forsythia limbs to bloom indoors. Place the cut limbs in water. They should bloom in about 10 days.

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