Welcome back! Winston here with this month’s Winston Wednesday! Today I want to share with you a cool spring flowering shrub called Forsythia. Did you know Forsythia originate from Asia?
Here are a few fun facts:
- In our zone, Forsythia are usually the first woody shrub to flower. Which means they are the first real sign of spring!
- Showy bright yellow flowers each spring, golden brown mature twigs, and green leaves after blooming
- Forsythia come in a wide range of sizes and shapes due to the many varieties developed by plant breeders
- Forsythia can range from 18 inches tall to more than 10 feet tall! (In dog terms it can be as small as a Dachshund like me or as large as a Mastiff)
- Forsythia are all deer resistant
Forsythia thrive in full sun, but will handle part shade locations. They also love moist soil! If you have a challenging low area at your home such as a back-corner property line, these are the perfect plant. Forsythia have an extremely fast growth rate, sometimes too quick for their own good. The fast growth rate also makes them a great candidate for screening or creating a hedge.
I like this shrub because it is hardy and easy to grow. On my walks with mom, I notice these shrubs are planted on lot boundaries. This makes sense because some get very large and can overtake other plants. Forsythia require pruning to maintain their health and shape. The best pruning technique is renewal pruning. Renewal pruning removes 1/3 of the oldest branches to help maintain the size and health of the shrub. The best time to prune is right after it blooms, otherwise you risk cutting off next season’s flower buds. Since Forsythia flower early in the spring, they set their flower buds the previous summer.
Some of my favorite varieties of Forsythia are:
Forsythia ‘Courtaneur’ (Gold Cluster Forsythia)
Mature at 4’ tall by 4’ wide
Leaves turn burgundy in fall
Forsythia ‘Northern Gold’ (Northern Gold Forsythia)
Mature at 6-8’ tall and 5-7’ wide
Upright growing habit unlike traditional arching habit
If you need an early kick start to spring, bring a few cuttings of a forsythia shrub inside to force bloom the twig. All they need is a little warmth and water! This is a great way to brighten up your home for spring.