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Forsythias | Grow & Care Guide

Low-growing shrubs are a great way to fill out a garden, and the Forsythias provide a beautifully bright option. The fantastically yellow flowers of Forsythias begin to bloom in spring and will stay colorful throughout the summer months.

While they may need a little extra attention from time to time, they’re fast-growing, arching branches make them an ideal option for border plants. Follow our grow and care guide for big, beautifully growing Forsythia plant

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Forsythias Grow and Care Guide

What Are The Best Forsythia Species to Grow? 

Forsythias, also known as Golden Bells Plant, are common perennial shrubs with a variety of cultivars to choose from

Forsythias, also known as Golden Bells Plant, are common perennial shrubs with a variety of cultivars to choose from. Certain types are better suited to certain areas, so it’s good to know which one to choose. 

These fast-growing plants were initially named after the famous 18th-century horticulturist William Forsyth and are native to China, Korea, and parts of Europe. 

With brilliant, four-petalled blooms, these shrubs are often used in landscaping, and some varieties even bear fruit. Depending on the cultivar, you can use them as border plants, hedging or even as ground cover if you choose a low-growing variety. 

Popular Forsythia Varieties

The most popular Forsythia species to grow in America include:

Forsythia x intermedia 'Lynwood Gold'

This award-winning cultivar is notorious for its large buttery yellow blooms and beautifully textured dark green foliage that forms with an attractive upright habit.


Fast-growing in nature, this medium-sized deciduous shrub makes for excellent hedging or used as a feature specimen. Mature growth is around 8 to 10 feet tall and 10 to 12 feet wide.

Forsythia x intermedia 'Lynwood Gold' is notorious for its large buttery yellow blooms and beautifully textured dark green foliage

Source: PlantingTree

Forsythia x intermedia 'Spring Glory'

This cultivar is also a deciduous shrub with more of an upright, sprawling habit in its growth. It produces a beautiful abundance of light-yellow bell-shaped blooms with four linear petals atop lush green foliage.


This larger spreading cultivar is great for mass plantings or when used for hedging and screening. Mature growth is about 8 feet tall and wide. 

Forsythia x ‘meadowlark’

This vigorous hybrid cultivar was developed for winter hardiness. It features showy yellow flowers much like its counterparts and has a dense and spreading form with an attractive rounded crown.


It is an extremely hardy shrub that makes for brilliant hedging with its long-lasting, ivy-green foliage. Cut flowers will also look fantastic in arrangements. Growth in gardens is usually 8 to 10 feet tall and wide.

Forsythia 'Arnold Dwarf'

Another fantastic hybrid cultivar, this variety is a dwarf, low-growing and compact shrub with beautiful bronze foliage in autumn and cherry yellow blooms in spring.


It has more of a woody growth habit and appearance, excellent for hedging or as medium-sized ground cover.


Enjoy wonderful gently arching foliage and dainty bell-shaped flowers with this renowned cultivar. Mature growth is around 3 to 4 feet tall and 4 to 7 feet wide. 

Forsythia 'Northern Sun'

This Canadian-introduced cultivar is perfect for northern climates. It is noted for its large golden-yellow blooms that can survive colder temperatures than other forsythias.


Its growth habit features upright and arching branches with clusters of flowers and fine green foliage.


Perfect for borders, hedges or as a feature plant, this variety will reach around 8 to 10 feet tall and wide cultivated in gardens. 

Forsythia 'Northern Sun' is noted for its large golden-yellow blooms that can survive colder temperatures than other forsythias

Source: Mikesplants

Forsythia viridissima 'Bronxensis'

Also known as greenstem forsythias, these cultivars are noted for their excellent ground cover applications within landscapes.

This cultivar is a dwarf, low-growing and spreading plant that produces bright green foliage that turns into a beautiful burgundy in autumn.

Its spring blooms are pale yellow and its form is loose yet densely compact. Growth is around 1 foot tall and 2 to 3 feet wide.

Forsythia x intermedia 'Lynwood Gold'

Forsythia x intermedia 'Lynwood Gold' is notorious for its large buttery yellow blooms and beautifully textured dark green foliage

Source: PlantingTree

This award-winning cultivar is notorious for its large buttery yellow blooms and beautifully textured dark green foliage that forms with an attractive upright habit.

Fast-growing in nature, this medium-sized deciduous shrub makes for excellent hedging or used as a feature specimen. Mature growth is around 8 to 10 feet tall and 10 to 12 feet wide.

Forsythia x intermedia 'Spring Glory'

Forsythia x intermedia 'Spring Glory' produces a beautiful abundance of light-yellow bell-shaped blooms with four linear petals atop lush green foliage

Source: Garden Goods Direct

This cultivar is also a deciduous shrub with more of an upright, sprawling habit in its growth. It produces a beautiful abundance of light-yellow bell-shaped blooms with four linear petals atop lush green foliage.

This larger spreading cultivar is great for mass plantings or when used for hedging and screening. Mature growth is about 8 feet tall and wide. 

Forsythia x ‘meadowlark’

Forsythia x ‘meadowlark’ features showy yellow flowers much like its counterparts and has a dense and spreading form with an attractive rounded crown

Source: The Nationanl Gardening Association

This vigorous hybrid cultivar was developed for winter hardiness. It features showy yellow flowers much like its counterparts and has a dense and spreading form with an attractive rounded crown.

It is an extremely hardy shrub that makes for brilliant hedging with its long-lasting, ivy-green foliage. Cut flowers will also look fantastic in arrangements. Growth in gardens is usually 8 to 10 feet tall and wide.

Forsythia x intermedia 'Arnold Dwarf'

Forsythia 'Arnold Dwarf' is a dwarf, low-growing and compact shrub with beautiful bronze foliage in autumn and cherry yellow blooms in spring

Source: Garden Center Marketing

Another fantastic hybrid cultivar, this variety is a dwarf, low-growing and compact shrub with beautiful bronze foliage in autumn and cherry yellow blooms in spring.

It has more of a woody growth habit and appearance, excellent for hedging or as medium-sized ground cover. Enjoy wonderful gently arching foliage and dainty bell-shaped flowers with this renowned cultivar. Mature growth is around 3 to 4 feet tall and 4 to 7 feet wide. 

Forsythia 'Northern Sun'

Forsythia 'Northern Sun' is noted for its large golden-yellow blooms that can survive colder temperatures than other forsythias

Source: Mikesplants

This Canadian-introduced cultivar is perfect for northern climates. It is noted for its large golden-yellow blooms that can survive colder temperatures than other forsythias.

Its growth habit features upright and arching branches with clusters of flowers and fine green foliage. Perfect for borders, hedges or as a feature plant, this variety will reach around 8 to 10 feet tall and wide cultivated in gardens. 

Forsythia viridissima 'Bronxensis'

Forsythia viridissima 'Bronxensis' is a dwarf, low-growing and spreading plant that produces bright green foliage

Source: Oregon State Landscape Plants

Also known as greenstem forsythias, these cultivars are noted for their excellent ground cover applications within landscapes. This cultivar is a dwarf, low-growing and spreading plant that produces bright green foliage that turns into a beautiful burgundy in autumn.

Its spring blooms are pale yellow and its form is loose yet densely compact. Growth is around 1 foot tall and 2 to 3 feet wide. 


Where is the Best Place to Grow Forsythias? 

Forsythias are incredibly fast-growing, so wherever you plant it, make sure it’s got plenty of room to grow. The most important factor to consider will be the level of sun.

Forsythias need full sun in order to bloom, at least 6 hours at a time. If planted in partly shaded areas, it will have far less blooms throughout the spring.

While Forsythias are not overly picky when it comes to soil, adequate drainage is absolutely important. To help retain soil moisture and drainage, mulch around the base at least every 6 months.

They can also tolerate both acidic and alkaline soils. This cultivar is not suitable for marshy or swampy areas. 


How to Grow Forsythias

How to Grow Forsythias

Forsythias can be planted at any point in the year, provided there isn’t a lot of frost as this may kill off younger plants. 

The easiest way to get a new plant is to purchase one from a local garden center. However, with a little effort, they can be propagated from cuttings, as they are quite quick to root. 

Luckily, the process is pretty simple so even those without a green thumb can do it. 


How to Propagate Forsythias

It’s recommended to take cuttings around mid-summer for the best results, as the branches are already in a growing stage and will likely root faster. 

Try to choose cuttings from fresh branches rather than old ones for the best results. 

To propagate simply:

  • Use a sterilized pair of pruning shears and remove a branch, quite a few inches in length. 
  • Remove all the leaves from the bottom half, dip the end into rooting hormone and place them into a soil mix. 
  • Your rooted cuttings should be ready in about 6 to 8 weeks.

In propagating forsythias, a seed starting mix of soil and perlite is recommended. Be sure to keep it moist while rooting. 


How to Layer Forsythias

Another easy propagation method for Forsythias is layering, but you’ll need an established plant nearby. Forsythias are stoloniferous, which means if branches come into contact with soil, they will begin to root. 

You will need to: 

  • Choose a long, reaching branch and place a pot with perlite mix within its reach. 
  • Bury the end of the stem under a few inches of soil. 
  • Stake the branch into place with a small stick or landscaping pin. 

Once the reaching branch has begun to root, you can cut it away from the original plant. Thereafter, it will begin to grow its very own shrub. 


Planting Forsythias

Once properly rooted within a pot, you can easily transplant them into your garden. It is recommended to do so during the plant’s dormant season, in late fall or winter. 

Try to leave at least 8 feet between each plant, leaving it plenty of space to grow.


Caring for Forsythias 

Pruning Forsythias

For a happy growing plant, you will want to keep up with regular watering, fertilizing and pruning. 

Watering

Forsythias enjoy frequent watering and a good amount of it too. You will want to give it at least 2-inches of water per week. This cultivar is known to thrive with rain water, so try to keep some aside if you can. 

Fertilization

A balanced, 10-10-10 fertilizer is recommended for this perennial plant. You can feed it every week throughout the spring and summer months to help promote bloom production.

Be sure to cut back during the dormant months of autumn and winter to avoid disease. 

Pruning

Pruning is especially important when it comes to Forsythias, and as they are ravenous grower’s, they can quickly become over-grown. It’s essential to wait until just after blooming for pruning.

If pruning is left too late, it will likely have fewer blooms in the following season. A deep pruning will help to maintain shape and keep your Forsythia well controlled.

Ensure you are lopping off enough off the top so that your plant's inner doesn’t die.


Forsythia Pests & Diseases to Look Out For

Forsythias aren’t overly susceptible to local pests and diseases, as they are non-native. As long as your soil is draining adequately, you’ll be able to avoid most pests, like garden snails or beetles, as well as any fungal infections. 

The most common issues you may find include leaf spot, root rot and twig blight. For leaf spot and twig blight, be sure to remove the infected leaves or branches, and treat your Forsythia with a multi-purpose fungicide. 

On the other hand, Root rot can be fatal for your Forsythia, and the best solution is to remove the plant from the soil and remove all infected plant matter to avoid infecting other plants. 

Unseasonable frost can also kill off the flower buds. While Forsythias are quite hardy, should you notice a sudden, unpredictable drop in temperature, consider covering your plant with a hessian covering to protect the flower buds?


Forsythia's Landscaping Applications 

Caring for Forsythias

Forsythias are super versatile shrubs and how you grow them is entirely up to you. They don’t make particularly good feature plants, but planting them along other blooming plants make for great gardening landscapes. 

You can use Forsythias for hedges, as part of a mixed shrub border, as a privacy screen or perimeter plant. The flowers are also fantastic for spring-time floral arrangements. 

Complimentary Plants For Forsythias 

Forsythias are fantastic flowering plants for the sprint time and it’s always a great idea to plant a few other spring-flowering plants alongside it to really give your garden that brightness you’re looking for. 

Some amazing complimentary plants include: 

  • Redbud Trees
  • Cherry Trees
  • Flowering Quince
  • Daffodils
  • Tulips
  • Snowdrops
  • Hyacinth
  • Hellebores
  • Pussy Willow

Forsythias Frequently Asked Questions

What is the lifespan of a forsythia bush?

In climates that experience mild winters, forsythias can survive for 20 to 30 years or longer. Proper growing conditions will also help to ensure more longevity. 

Will forsythia grow back if cut down?

Older, more neglected forsythias can easily be rejuvenated by pruning the shrubs back to about 4 to 6 inches off the ground. Cut them back in late winter or early spring.

With a little extra care, the shrubs should grow back quickly and start producing blooms again after 1 to 2 years. 

Are forsythia roots invasive?

The vigorous growth habit can quickly take over gardens and prevent other plants from getting what they need to grow, hence why the bush itself is considered invasive in some areas.

However, the roots are only about 2 to 3 feet deep. Be sure to give your forsythia enough room to develop in your garden and it won’t become a problem.

How fast do forsythias grow?

These shrubs are considered fast-growing and can grow as much as 24 inches per year. Larger varieties can even grow a little more vigorously.

What is Forsythia Medicine Used For? 

Fruit-bearing Forsythias have been known to have a range of medicinal benefits. The fruits can be used to ease the swelling of air passages and ease the effects of bronchitis, tonsillitis, fever, vomiting and heart disease. 

It is usually administered intravenously by a healthcare professional or combined with other herbs.


Wrapping up our Growing & Care Guide

It’s a fantastic idea to introduce forsythia bush into your gardening landscape. These ornamental shrubs will begin to bloom as spring hits and give your garden that hit of colour that we love about summer. 

Just ensure that you keep your soil well-draining with regular mulching and prune back as soon as your flowers begin to wither. 

Follow our care tips and you’ll be sure to have plenty of happy, healthy and profusely flowering Forsythias. 

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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