The Spring Flower Garden - Care And Maintenance of the Forsythia Shrub
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The Spring Flower Garden - Care And Maintenance of the Forsythia Shrub

Spring signals the awakening after a long winter sleep. Shrubs, bulbs, trees and flowers herald in the growing season with a splash of color. Forsythia in the garden splashes yellow.

Spring is vibrant with color as plants renew themselves for their growing season. The bright colors of flowering plants attract returning migrating birds such as the hummingbirds and Baltimore Orioles and provide for the emergence of bees. Zone 6 along the south coast of New England begins the New England spring flower show as it travels northward with the warming temperatures.

Forsythia is a yellow flowering shrub that adapts well in our area gardens. Blooming time is late March through April.

Forsythia is very versatile as a landscape shrub. It naturalizes easily and requires very little maintenance. If left to grow naturally unimpeded by competitive shrubs or trees, it will reach 7'-8' high and wide with graceful arching branches. During flowering, forsythia prefers full sun. As a marginal understory plant, it usually gets this full sun before the taller shrubs and trees begin unfolding their seasonal growth.

Forsythia can be used in the landscape:

  • as a stand-alone specimen
  • foundation planting
  • marginal woodland
  • hedge
  • backdrop to flower bed

natural forsythia shrub

Plant forsythia as you would any perennial. Find a spot that drains well. Dig a hole twice the size and depth of the root ball. Mix in a good share of nutritional organic humus or compost. No additional fertilizer is needed. Plant no deeper than it is in the pot. Water well until your forsythia becomes established.

Once established in the garden or landscape, your forsythia doesn't require much maintenance. Trimming off dead branches and unruly long tips will make your shrub grow fuller. As a hedge plant, sheering should be done right after flowering has finished so as not to interfere with flower buds developing for next spring's show.

Mulch can be applied yearly for esthetics or for winter frost heave protection. You may add a general all-purpose fertilizer to the soil after flowering. Forsythia is drought tolerant and insect/disease resistant. Deer don't appear to find this shrub to their liking.

Forsythia is one of those cool plants that you can force indoors to bloom early when winter doldrums gets you down. Look for branches that have swollen nodes in January or February. Cut branches at an angle and place in a vase indoors out of direct sunlight. These branches root easily in water and can be transferred to pots of good potting soil when roots are well developed if you want additional forsythia shrubs.

You can also take cuttings during the summer and stick into pots of soil or directly into the ground to propagate new shrubs for your garden, to share with friends and neighbors, or for your own plant business, or for a fundraising plant sale.

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Comments (2)

the only spring flowers I have are dandelions... oh and I guess my apple trees are starting to bloom... deer always eat my tulips.

I love Forsythia it was one of my mothers favorite shrubs. I didn't know you could cut them and plant them directly. Thank you for the wonderful article! I will buzz this up since I am out of votes.

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