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Growing Forsythia-A golden glow in Spring

By Edited Oct 22, 2016 0 0

Forsythia
One of my favourite flowering shrubs, finishes flowering in late Spring, until the next year. However when the Forsythia is in full flower it is a beautiful shrub. At the moment, Boxing Day, the Forsythia in my back garden is simply bare branches. However, as it is now quite large, it has been perfect this year for accommodating some rather pretty Christmas lights.
Bare but with the promise of beauty to come

We had our first Forsythia plant many years ago, in our second home, and recently have rediscovered this pretty Spring shrub. Our current Forsythia, which is planted in the back garden of my home, at present, was bought a few years ago from a large, local supermarket.

It was a very small shrub back then, bought in a wrapper similar to the type covering rose bushes when you buy them. We planted this Forsythia near to our small fish pond, in a tiny corner, as I did not think that it would grow quite as big as it has. Despite the fact that the Forsythia has been pruned each year it is now well over six feet high and quite bushy when in leaf. The downside is that it has gone a bit woody, but I still love this plant.

If you haven't seen a Forsythia or are unsure which plant I mean it is a shrub which, for a lot of the year, is covered in green leaves. The one we used to have resembled a privet for most of the year. According to my husband the one we have now resembles a weed for most of the year.

Losing leaves in winter
Not true, say I. The leaves of the Forsythia drop in winter and during February buds start to appear. This culminates in the Forsythia flowering in March or April with a mass of bright yellow flowers.

Forsythia in flower
If you look close up at the flowers you will see that they are cross shaped, almost star like, and a wonderful shade of bright yellow. When mine flowers, as the daffodils are also starting to bloom, I know that Spring has arrived or, at the very least, is just around the corner.

Can become overgrown
You can buy a few different types of Forsythias and I am going to buy one for my front garden which will hopefully be more compact and densely flowered than the one I own now. This is because, if the shrub goes a bit gangly, the flowers are not so dense on it.

A FEW FACTS ABOUT FORSYTHIAS

Forsythias like full sun, or very light shade.

They flower in late winter or early spring, depending on where you live and plant them.

They can be used as a garden or park plant, in isolated groups or hedges.

Forsythias are a robust shrub.

They are named after William Forsyth, 1737 - 1804.

They do not require specialist soils but do grow best in rich well drained soil.

Forsythia plants will need watering in summer, especially in very dry weather.

Propagation

The propagation of Forsythias is fairly easy. I have a small Forsythia plant growing in a tub, which has taken well. This was a branch, snapped off my plant accidentally by one of my dogs. I simply stuck this small cutting in with some other plants and forgot about it. Then, low and behold a while ago, I saw a few yellow flowers appearing and realised just how well the branch had taken root.

Forsythias officially can be propagated by hardwood cuttings. It is best to select strong, healthy, ripened shoots from this years growth and remove the leaves. Trim the soft wood at the tip and cut the stem into 6 inch lengths. Dip these lengths into rooting powder and plant in pots, which then need to be kept in a cold frame if possible.

Forsythias do seem to be hardy plants which survive most potential hazards.

IN GENERAL

As an edging
You can usually pick up a Forsythia for a couple of pounds, in the UK. If you need a hedging I would say that Forsythias work very well. Make sure that you buy one of the denser varieties though. That way you will have tight packed green leaves for most of the year and a mass of yellow flowers for quite a few weeks in spring.

You do need to prune these shrubs each year to keep your plant plant under control. I don't think that Forsythias have much fragrance to them but the sight of those flowers in Spring makes up for that. They are certainly a sight to lift your spirits, especially after those long Winter months.
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