In Planting or Transplanting
Forsythia Blooms - we know spring isn't far behind
The Right Place
forsythias grow well in full sun to medium shade, and adapt to a wide range of
soil conditions. If they do not get enough sun, they bloom weakly. They do best
in fertile, well-drained soil that is slightly acid or neutral (pH 6.0 to 7.0).
forsythias with soil covered roots wrapped in burlap in late spring or early
fall. Fall is the best time for planting if you have a choice. Shrubs in
containers can be planted almost any time during the season. Keep the rootball
moist until planting time. Remove the shrub from its container or wrappings,
taking care to retain as much soil as possible around the roots. Pull apart or
clip off any roots that are densely matted or are circling the rootball due to
confinement in the container.
saucer-shaped planting hole slightly larger than the diameter of the rootball.
Score or roughen the sloping sides of the hole, but do not put any loose soil
in the bottom. Set the forsythia in the hole, making certain that the top of
the rootball is at or even a little above, ground level. Backfill the hole with
plain soil to the level of the surrounding ground, pressing it firmly to
prevent air from being trapped near the roots. Then water thoroughly to provide
good soil-to-root contact. Do not fertilize at this time. Allow forsythias a
space 8 to 10 feet in diameter in which to expand as they mature.
are a number of products at the garden center that will help your newly planted
or transplanted plants deal better with the stress inherent in the planting
process. All healthy plants have beneficial fungi, called mycorrhizal fungi,
living on their roots. You can buy these valuable additions to your plant’s
ecosystem. See the file describing Using Micorrhizae When Planting.
addition, there are a number of products such as seaweed, compost tea, and
beneficial soil microbes that when added to the planting process will help your
newly established plants get going faster. See the file New Technology In Plant
more information see the file on Planting Shrubs. For planting tools see Hand
Tools For Digging and Planting in Yardener’s Tool Shed.
the first signs of spring is the gorgeous yellow flowers of the forsythia. This
versatile flowering plant is a 'must' in many gardens because of its early
flowers, value as a source for cut flowers and use as a privacy screen or
background landscape shrub.
late winter bare branches of the forsythia are covered with golden yellow
flowers from February to April. During the months of December and January, the
branches may be cut and forced into bloom for winter color indoors.
grows and flowers best in full or partial sun. It has many uses in the garden.
The plants are often used as a summer screen for privacy; as a specimen plant;
and for espaliering against a wall or fence. Planted in an evergreen border,
the golden yellow flowers really stand-out with the green background of the
are not really fussy about soil, but will perform best when planted in
well-drained soil that is enriched with organic humus. So the addition of peat
moss; processed manure or compost at planting time is really beneficial in
getting the plant off to a good start. Simply mix about one or two shovel-fulls
of these organic materials with the existing soil.
forsythia is a deciduous shrub they are best planted or transplanted during the
winter dormant season when the plants are not in growth. However, with the
advent of container growing many nurseries and garden centers now carry the
plants year-round. Container grown plants can be safely planted at any time
throughout the year.
one plant that really benefits from pruning. A regular schedule of pruning does
several things; 1) provides cut flowers for forcing; 2) keeps the plants within
bounds, creating a bushier growth habit; 3) encourages better flowering.
the best time for pruning? Good question, and it's really up to you. If you do
some pruning in December or January it provides branches for forcing. If some
pruning is done when the plant is in bloom it again provides cut flowers for
use in indoor arrangements. Additional pruning after flowering encourages
better branching and the potential for more flowers in future years.
recommendation for the main pruning, which is done after flowering, is this:
Cut out about one-third of the old woody growth. This encourages new young
growth, which will supply the next season's flowers. However, you must be on
the lookout for new growth that develops quickly, in whip-like form. If it is
not trimmed or trained it will ruin the shape of your plant and will result in
limited flowering. So here's what you need to do: any whip-like growth that
develops, pinch or prune out the tip growth when it is about 15 to 18 inches
high. This tip pruning will result in several new growths developing at that
point, and consequently, the plant will become bushier and more prolific in its
December or January when the branches are covered with tight-flower-buds, cut
them at the length needed for your indoor arrangements. Next, place them in
warm (not hot) water over-night in the garage or other cool place. Then, the
next morning place the cut branches in your arrangement and move them indoors.
room temperatures of 60 to 75 degrees are ideal. If you want to bring them into
bloom quicker, put them in a warmer spot. Like wise, if you want to slow down
the blooming period, then put them in a cooler spot.
plants benefit from a light feeding of a Rose or All-purpose garden type
fertilizer. The best time to feed them is in mid-February or mid-May. Most
varieties of forsythia have medium to light green leaves, so don't be mislead
into thinking the plants need continual feeding. In fact, I have seen old plants
around abandon homes that obviously haven't been fed or pruned in years, yet
they are just doing fine.
new varieties have been introduced in recent years, with deeper flower colors
and larger flowers. Some varieties have weeping growth habits, others are low
and spreading enough that they can be used as large ground cover plants.
Unfortunately, many of these types and varieties are not readily available, so
here are three of today's favorites:
SPRING GLORY - Very popular because it produces
a heavy crop of brilliant medium yellow flowers. On average the plant grows
about eight feet tall and 5 or 6 feet wide.
LYNWOOD GOLD - Deep golden yellow flowers, with
dark green foliage. Plants average height is about 6 to 8 feet, quite upright
and spreads about 4 to 5 feet or more.
BEATRIX FARRAND - Showy large deep yellow flowers
with orange markings. Plants grow up to 8 to 10 feet tall and 6 or more feet in
mind, growing heights and widths can be reduced with simple pruning.
need to add a bright spot of color to your garden at this time of year,
consider the easy to grow, prolific flowering forsythias.
Life Cycle: perennial shrub
Time: spring or
Height: dwarf types up to 1', standard
types 8' to 10'
Exposure: full sun to partial shade
Soil: average to rich, well-drained soil
Hardiness: thrives in zones 5 to 9
Bloom Time: early spring to early summer
Foliage: green leaves on semi-hard woody
Use: shrub hedges,
espaliers; good for inner city landscapes due to tolerance of poor growing
plants or start with softwood cuttings from new growth in late spring or early
summer, or semi-hardwood cuttings in mid to late summer. Plants can also be
propagated over winter by layering. Simply make a small cut in a pencil thick
branch and secure the branch (cut side down) to a pot filled with soil while
it's still attached to the mother plant. Detach and transplant in spring when
roots become established. To grow hedges, space plants 4 to 6 feet apart.
Regular pruning is necessary to keep plants in bounds.
flowers form on the previous year's growth so cut 1/3 of the shrubs older than
4 years to within 4 inches of the ground.