Forsythia Plant Care

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One of the first bloomers in spring is Forsythia. Follow along as I explain some basic Forsythia Plant Care.

my yellow forsythia plant in the spring

I moved into my house nine years ago, and I had two well-established forsythia bushes in my backyard. My guess is that those bushes were planted within a few years after the house was built–back in 1974. So they have been around awhile. They are one of the first bushes to come to life after a long cold winter in south-central Illinois. Actually, the above image shows proof that my forsythia bushes need to be thinned out. The interior growth is too thick. The best time to prune forsythia is right after the plant blooms. If you wait until much later in the summer, you will be cutting off some of the blooming growth for the next year.

Supplies Needed:

the supplies needed for transplanting forsythia

Since it is not time yet to prune my forsythia, this post will concentrate on how to propagate forsythia. This process is really easy, and can be done by several different methods. I will concentrate on “layering” and “cutting.” The image above shows what supplies you will need before you begin. I used kneeling pads, gardening gloves, hand rake, knife and several rocks.

Propagation can be done just about any time of year. Forsythia is very hearty; you almost cannot kill it. The first step to “layering” your forsythia is to pick some small thin shoots from around the parameter of the plant. You want to be able to bend these reasonably well, and you want them to be long enough to score the underside of the plant and be able to stick it in the ground. Using your knife, score the underside of the stem, not cutting it but running the blade up and down the length of the stem to remove the outer layer of stem covering.

Score the Stem:

underscoring the forsythia stem in preparation of "layering"

By the way, I have zoysia grass which is a warm-weather grass. That is the reason it is not green yet.

Propagation by “Layering”

3 forsythia plant stems bent and anchored by rocks

After scoring the forsythia stems, remove the grass in an area where you can anchor the scored stems under soil. I used several rocks for anchoring. The stems will eventually grow roots into the ground. They will also get nutrients from the stems that are still attached to the main plant. I will be checking on their progress on a weekly basis. After the plant has rooted, I will snip off the stem to the parent plant.

Propagation by “Cutting”

forsythia cuttings in my kitchen window

Another method of propagating forsythia is just to take cuttings. Snip off the end of several branches, and remove the flowers and buds below the water line. Of course, the flowers will drop off the stems within a few days. Sit the cuttings in a sunny window, change the water regularly, and wait for roots to appear. When the roots appear, dig a hole and transplant your forsythia.

You will see forsythia bloom for about three weeks in the spring. A forsythia can live for 50 years or more. That is a lot of bang for your buck. With proper Forsythia Plant Care, you too can have a beautiful yellow blooming spring perennial.

Are you getting ready to plant annuals? Check out my post on Dianthus Care-Sweet William. It will soon be time to plant Azaleas. See the post from Southern Living for The Complete Guide to Azaleas.

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