Forsythia is one of the most favored garden shrubs. It is easy-to-grow and the least demanding to maintain. It is the ideal shrub to beautify your garden. The forsythia bush is known to bloom in the spring with an amazing array of bright colors. Both pure and hybrid forsythias are now commonly grown in domestic gardens. Among these, the most famous variety is the Weeping Forsythia or the Forsythia suspensa. For dense foliage, low shrubs like the Arnold Forsythia Dwarf are preferred. Growing and caring for forsythia is not difficult, but some basic guidelines that should be followed.
Forsythia Growth Factors
- Getting Started—you don’t need to buy forsythia seeds or stems from garden shops to plant it. Just borrow some dug-up roots of newly-bloomed forsythias. These can be used to start a forsythia shrub in your garden.
- Fertilizers—the only material that needs to be bought is a rooting hormone that is rubbed along the stem of recently-planted forsythias. You don’t need to invest in organic or chemical fertilizers. The occasional dose of a teaspoonful of compost is sufficient.
- Soil—forsythia is undemanding in terms of needing typical soil conditions. It can be grown in low-acidic, neutral and even moderately alkaline soils.
- Light—both shade and sunlight don’t deter forsythia growth in any way. However, it is recommended that you plant it in a garden bed that is exposed to a few hours of bright sunlight every day for helping the plant bloom properly.
- Season—forsythia is best planted during the early spring season or during fall when the temperatures are moderate. Any season that has a mixture of bright sunlight during the planting season and the occasional shower is good enough.
- Spacing—forsythia is a dense bush that tends to expand more horizontally than vertically. Most forsythia shrubs will grow to about 8 feet and expand up to 5 feet. Therefore, at the time of planting it, ensure enough space.
- Choosing Planting Site—you should not plant forsythias in spaces that are close to foundations of surrounding structures. Being a fast-growing shrub, the forsythia roots multiply fast and nearby foundations could be endangered.
Forsythia is an easy plant to spread in your garden. Spreading the forsythia shrub needs minimum effort and no overhead costs.
- Some tip-rooted forsythias can be dug up and then buried in new areas. Simply watering this area along with a few hours of daily sunshine is sufficient for new growth to begin.
- The cane-like stem of the shrub can be cut and sliced into 3-inch pieces and planted in potted soil. You can place the pots in the greenhouse or the windowsill. When the roots of the potted plant develop, shift it to the garden space.
- An elaborate and more effective method is to dig out an existing forsythia plant. Slice the base of the shrub and roots, right in the middle, using shears. You should have equal root spread on either side. Replant both the sections (halves) as new plants.
Caring for Developing Forsythia
You have a choice between letting forsythia grow naturally and manipulating its growth to suit your garden setting through pruning.
Pruning is done to make forsythia a landscaped shrub. However, some degree of pruning is also needed even if you don’t want to landscape the plant, to ensure that the bush is dense and the blooming is comprehensive during each season.
Forsythia Pruning Basics
Forsythia needs to be pruned for separating the old wooden stems to help the new flowers bloom properly. While pruning:
- Focus more on the older canes, totally avoiding the seasonal bloom.
- Pruning is needed during and after the blooming season to keep the forsythia bushy.
- Don’t use hedge clippers around the edge of the branches—this means pruning heavily along the edges and leaving the core dense with older growth.
- Using your shears, begin your pruning from the middle, moving towards the outer edge and not vice-versa.
Handling Forsythia Blooming Problems
If the plant does not bloom properly, chances are that the shrub has overgrown to such an extent that blooming was suffocated. To correct this, pruning is not sufficient. Your need to use a special technique called Forsythia Layering:
- Let the main plant grow and create the typical hedge-like formation among its branches, i.e. don’t prune any further, instead let the plant grow.
- Choose the large, older branches that have some signs of new growth along the sides.
- Bend these branches towards the ground.
- The bent branch has to be partially covered with ground soil.
- Leave some part of it, about 6 inches, above the ground.