When to Plant Forsythia – Planting Guide 2024

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If you’ve ever been out on an evening walk and admired your neighbor’s plant that seems to be in full abundance of bright yellow flowers, you’ve come to the right page. Forsythia blooms in early spring and is a sure sign that warmer, sunnier days are ahead.

When to plant forsythia: Forsythia is a shrub that is awash in hundreds of yellow flowers. It blooms in early spring and is a sure sign that the dulls of winter are over. Forsythia is best started as a cutting from a mature plant. You can find it at most gardening centers. Plant your forsythia in the early fall. The soil should still be warm and you should be able to work the ground well. The plant will be dormant at this time and will remain so until early spring when new growth will emerge. The flowers will last through early spring and you can actually bring branches inside for a pop of color in your home. While you should water after you plant your new shrub, forsythia is drought tolerant so you don’t have to worry too much about it unless you are in a heatwave. There are smaller dwarf varieties but larger varieties can grow as much as 24 inches in a year. Prune regularly, in late spring, to keep your shrub nice and tidy.

Planting Forsythia in Different Climates

Tropical Climate

Forsythia is a shrub that prefers cooler weather. It also needs a dormancy period, so a tropical climate is not recommended.

Dry Climate

Forsythia can be a good option for a dry climate. It is drought tolerant so it won’t need much extra water once it is established.

Temperate Climate

A temperate climate will definitely sustain forsythia. It will like the moist soil and consistent temperatures.

Continental Climate

You can find a lot of forsythia in a continental climate. It is drought tolerant and, as long as it is established, will be fine in colder winter temperatures.

Polar Climate

As hardy as it is, forsythia probably won’t grow in a polar climate.

Choosing Forsythia Seeds


This is a dwarf variety which means it will only grow to about three feet in height. The variety is perfect for low hedges and container gardens.

Citrus Swizzle

Another dwarf variety, this type of forsythia will grow to about two feet. It is a nice option if you want to add some edging to your garden.


With towering heights of up to 10 feet, this variety is a real showstopper. Its branches have a nice arching shape and the blooms are quite vibrant.

Lynwood Gold

Growing up to eight feet tall and with a spread of up to 10 feet, this is a lovely addition to a garden. It has plenty of golden yellow blooms that will light up any garden.

Benefits of Forsythia Bushes

This fast-growing shrub is perfect for many areas of your garden. It can be grown next to a fence or your house, or you can use it to accent a walkway.

The bright yellow blooms are gorgeous to see and they are great at attracting bees, butterflies, and birds.

Yet another benefit of forsythia is that it is deer resistant. If you live in a rural area, this is an excellent plant to have in your front garden.

How to Plant Forsythia Seeds

Seeds vs Cuttings

It can be incredibly hard to find forsythia seeds. While it is possible, it is far more common to start with smaller cuttings of mature shrubs.


To start your forsythia plant off right, the best time to plant is in the fall. When you purchase a forsythia plant at this time, it will be dormant, so you won’t be disturbing it.

Plant your forsythia before the threat of the first frost. The ground should be warm enough to dig in, which for most areas will be late September to early October.


Forsythia prefers full sun, so keep this in mind when choosing a location. When planting in the fall, be sure to consider what the area will look like in the spring, as trees will be fuller and shaded areas may move around.

Some varieties of forsythia can grow to be quite large, sometimes up to 10 feet in height and 12 feet in width. Plan for this growth when selecting an area for planting.

Soil conditions

The best soil for forsythia is in a location that drains well and is not compacted. If you have a lot of clay in the area, you will have to dig the soil up and add more organic matter before planting.

Neutral soil is best. Aim for a pH level between 7.0 and 8.0.

Digging the hole

As mentioned previously, it is much easier and more common to start with cuttings of your forsythia. This will give it a better head start at growing.

Dig the hole about two times the size of the root ball of your forsythia. You can add fertilizer or bone meal to the hole for extra nutrients.

Gently place the plant in the hole and line up the top of the root ball so that it is level with the ground. Add your dirt back in and firmly tamp down on the soil.

After planting, be sure to water thoroughly. If a lot of soil settles into the hole, you can always add more after watering.   

How to Water Forsythia

One of the major benefits of growing forsythia is that it is drought tolerant. This is perfect if you live in areas with minimal rainfall or are just eco-conscious.

After first planting your new shrub, you should water to establish it. However, because you are planting in the fall, there should be plenty of rainfall to keep it watered.

The same goes for the spring. When forsythia flowers in the spring, there should be enough precipitation for it.

As for the summer months, if you are in a long dry spell, you can give the shrub extra water. However, once it is established it won’t need much tending to.

How to Grow Forsythia


Forsythia will benefit from an annual infusion of fertilizer that is rich in phosphorous. Early spring is a good time to add fertilizer as this is right before the shrub will start to bloom.


Forsythia can grow quickly so if you want to keep it somewhat contained, annual pruning is recommended. Prune in late spring, right after the flowers have stopped blooming.

New growth on a forsythia shrub will start at the end of summer, so you don’t want to disrupt this process.

You can cut up to a third of the bush back at a time, so don’t be afraid to clean up any errant branches.

If you have an older forsythia bush that is quite unkempt, you can actually cut it right back to just four inches from the ground.

Blooms indoors

For those that want to bring the gorgeous blooms of forsythia inside, there is a very simple procedure. The trick is to cut the branches before they start blooming.

Starting in late winter or early spring, cut off a few branches of the plant. Place them in a vase of water and in about a week, the cuttings will actually bloom inside your home. This is a simple and economical way to have cut flowers.

How to take forsythia cuttings

If you love your forsythia plant and want to mimic its effect elsewhere in your garden, there is a simple method you can try. This involves taking a cutting.

The best time for this method is in the summer as you can use the new growth to help for the following year. Cut off these new branches and then remove the leaves from the bottom part of the stem.

Mix up a container with sand, starting soil, and perlite. Then, dip the bottom of the branch in a rooting powder and place it into the mixture.

As long as you keep the soil nice and moist, you should have thriving cuttings in about eight weeks. After this, you can transplant the cuttings to regular soil in a larger pot.

If all goes to plan, you can then transplant your large cuttings into the ground where they will continue to grow.

How long does forsythia take to grow?

Forsythia is incredibly fast-growing so you want to stay on top of it. As most people will start with a cutting of the plant, it will be in full bloom the following spring.

Each year, forsythia can grow up to 24 inches. While you can let it grow as wild as you want, most gardeners will prune it annually, in late spring, to keep the shrub tidy.


The bold yellow color of forsythia blooms is the perfect way to herald the start of spring. This shrub should be planted in the fall and will then be ready to bloom in the spring. It will keep growing each year unless you prune it back in late spring.

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