A forsythia shrub is one of the first harbingers of spring. Who can resist those cherry yellow blooms that appear about the time that the daffodils poke their heads up?
What is a Forsythia Shrub?
Forsythia is a genus of flowering plants in the olive family Oleaceae. It is native to Eastern Asia and Southeastern Europe. The genus is named after William Forsyth, a Scottish botanist.
For many in the country, the forsythia shrub flowers somewhere near Easter time, giving the bush the common name Easter Tree.
Forsythia intermedia (also known as border forsythia) and forsythia suspensa (common name weeping forsythia) are two varieties prized for being tough and hardy. Both are spring flowering shrubs with yellow flowers.
A forsythia shrub is tough and easy to care for. They have a few drawbacks, one being that you will need room for them to grow well.
With their arching habit and a mature adult size of up to 10 feet across, this is not a plant to put in front of the window in a small garden bed!
If you love a blast of color that early spring blooming plants bring to your garden, try growing forsythia shrubs. Even though they only bloom once, it is worth waiting for the show!
Common Questions about Growing a Forsythia Shrub
I get questions from readers all the time about forsythia, since it is a favorite of mine and I have written several articles about the care of the plant. Here are a few:
Does Forsythia Grow in the Shade?
Forsythia likes the sun and does well when it gets plenty of it – at least 6 hours a day – in order for it to bloom properly.
While this perennial is tough, and can tolerate some shade, if you give it less light that this, it will affect the amount of bloom that the plant puts out in the spring.
Does Forsythia have a Scent?
Forsythia is grown mainly for the color of the blossoms and the early bearing flowers that the plant has. In my experience, I have not noticed a smell from my forsythia shrub and I have many of them.
I have heard others mention a smell at certain times – after a rainstorm, etc so your mileage may vary.
Does a Forsythia shrub Spread in a Garden?
The answer to this is a resounding YES. The growth habit of forsythia is such that the branches arch forward from the center of the plant.
If the tips of the branches come into contact with the soil, roots will develop and new plants will start to grow. This gives you new plants for free, but can also be a problem of managing size.
These plantings can be separated from the mother plant and placed in a new location, but if not separated, the plant will just get larger and larger. This habit is called tip-rooting.
Does Forsythia come in different colors?
There are different varieties of forsythia that have differences in size, but there is not much variety in color. All of them are yellow and trumpet shaped, with only slight variations in the yellow shade.
I have heard people referring to a white forsythia, but this is a different plant which belongs to another botanical family.
(The scientific name for white forsythia is Abeliophyllum distichum.) This plant has an almond like fragrance.
Are Forsythia Deer Resistant?
While there is no plant that is truly “deer-proof,” you should be safe planting forsythia even if you have deer visiting your garden.
Note that if the deer are part of a large population and have to compete for food, they will eat most anything, so forsythia may interest them.
Is a Forsythia shrub Poisonous?
Forsythia is said to be nontoxic to both pets and humans. The petals have a bitter taste that helps to keep animals away.
If this issue concerns you, this list of poisonous and non poisonous plants may be useful.
Can Forsythia be Pruned to a hedge?
It is possible to trim forsythia shrubs into a hedge. (I am planning this for a border patch of mine this year.)
If your mature forsythia shrubs have grown too large for their current location, pruning them into a hedge will give you an answer to the problem.
Making a forsythia hedge will change the arching habit of the plant and result in a tidier looking shrub that does a good job of hiding a fence. New growth will need to be trimmed periodically throughout the summer months.
Please note that pruning the plant during the growing season may result in far less blooms the following spring.
Tips for growing, pruning and planting a forsythia shrub
There may be other questions that you have in mind about growing forsythia. These posts should be helpful to you. So, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy reading my tips for growing and general forsythia care.
Note: the articles open in the same window. Use your browser back button to return to this page for more articles to read about forsythia shrubs.