How to Grow a Forsythia Bush

  • 3 hours
  • Beginner
  • 25-100
What You'll Need
Healthy, mature forsythia bush
Burlap wrapping
Granular fertilizer
Organic mulch

The forsythia bush is one of the most popular choices for hedges. When in bloom, the vibrant yellow-golden shrub pleasantly lights up the landscape. Forsythias are fairly easy to propagate. If you have the shrub in your house, you can obtain a root from the parent plant to reproduce another shrub. The plant does well in full sun areas. If it does not get adequate sunlight, blooms will not be as healthy, however, the forsythia will tolerate some shade. Fertile, well-drained soils are best for growing.

Step 1 - Obtain Roots

Forsythia bushes layer themselves to form other bushes. Quite often, some branches will drop onto the ground and develop roots at that point. Cut off the branch and gently uproot it from where it is rooted. Be sure to extract the branch with adequate soil around the roots. Wrap the root ball with burlap while awaiting planting. It is important that the root ball remains moist. Alternatively, you can purchase the rooted shrubs from a garden nursery.

Step 2 - Plant

The best time to plant forsythia is in the spring or early fall. This will allow the plant enough time to establish itself in favorable weather. Remove the burlap wrapping from the plant. Be careful to retain as much of the soil around the roots as you can. Cut off roots that are clumped together or those encircling the root ball. Use a spade to dig a hole that is larger than the root ball diameter. Insert the plant so that the root-ball is at ground level. Refill the hole with soil and pat firmly.

Step 3 - Water

Water your shrub well. This will support it to become well-established. Give the new transplant adequate water twice a week. Moist soils are desirable. Be careful to avoid creating wet soil conditions. This will suffocate the roots and disrupt healthy development. Root rot may set in if you give excessive water. Once the plant is well established you need not give it water frequently. It can survive from rainfall. However, supplemental watering is necessary when rainfall is scarce or when the weather gets extremely hot.

Step 4 - Fertilize

You do not need to fertilize your forsythia bush when you plant. Wait about a year after planting then give it a slow-acting granular fertilizer. Fall is the best time to fertilize. Sprinkle onto the ground within a range of 1 foot of the dripline. The rain will soak in the fertilizer. Keep up with annual application for a couple of years. Beyond that, no fertilizer is necessary. Forsythias are light feeders.

Step 5 - Mulch

Maintain a regular cover of mulch all through the year. Use organic material such as shredded bark or chopped leaves. Place a 4-inch layer of mulch around the bush. Leave at least 6 inches of space around the stem to prevent possible stem rot and rodent damage. As the mulch decomposes, it will add to the soil nutrients.