How to Grow Forsythia Bush - Plant Care & Tips

By NorwichGardener Team   /   2024

Forsythia bush is an ornamental plant that belongs to the olive family. It is a deciduous shrub that is native to East Asia. The plant is named after William Forsyth, a Scottish botanist. The plant grows to a height of 6 to 10 feet and has a spread of 4 to 6 feet. The plant has greenish-yellow flowers that bloom in the spring.

How to Grow Forsythia Bush - Plant Care & Tips

Alternative name

  • Forsythia bushes are also known as border forsythia, common forsythia, or golden bell.
  • In China, the forsythia bush is called lian qiao.
  • In Japan, it is known as fukujuso.
  • In Korea, the forsythia bush is called gagasha.
  • In Vietnam, it is called cây B?ch D??ng.

Good to Know

  • Forsythia bushes are part of the olive family.
  • They are native to Asia, specifically China.
  • Forsythia bushes were named after William Forsyth, a Scottish botanist.
  • The bushes are known for their bright yellow flowers which bloom in the spring.
  • Forsythia bushes are fast growers and can reach up to 10 feet tall.
  • They are relatively easy to care for and are drought tolerant.
  • Forsythia bushes can be pruned to desired shape and size.
  • They make good hedges and can be used as privacy screens.
  • Deer and rabbits generally leave Forsythia bushes alone.
  • Forsythia bushes are relatively low maintenance.

Related plant:
Weeping Forsythia

Planting Process

  1. For forsythia bush, first step is to dig a hole that is twice the size of the plant's root ball.
  2. Backfill the hole with soil, making sure to firm it around the plant.
  3. Water the plant well.
  4. Place the plant in an area where it will receive full sun.
  5. Trim the plant as needed to keep it from getting too large.
  6. Fertilize the forsythia bush in early spring and again in mid-summer.
  7. Prune the plant after it blooms in order to encourage new growth.
  8. Monitor the plant for pests and diseases and take action as needed.
  9. Water the forsythia bush regularly, especially during periods of drought.
  10. Enjoy the beautiful blossoms that appear on the plant in early spring!

Soil Condition

About soil condition, a forsythia bush need well-drained, fertile soil with a neutral to slightly acidic pH to thrive. Choose a planting site in full sun for best results. If you have heavy clay soil, improve drainage by mixing in organic matter such as compost before planting. Forsythia are one of the first shrubs to bloom in the spring, their yellow flowers a welcome sight after a long winter. Though they're easy to grow, forsythia bushes do have a few specific requirements when it comes to soil. They need well-drained, fertile soil with a neutral to slightly acidic pH to thrive. Choose a planting site in full sun for best results. If you have heavy clay soil, improve drainage by mixing in organic matter such as compost before planting.

About light

Just like other plants, forsythia bushes need sunlight in order to grow and thrive. These bushes prefer to grow in full sun, which means they need at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. However, they can also tolerate partial sun, or dappled sunlight, as long as they still receive some direct sun each day. Forsythia bushes are relatively low-maintenance and can even tolerate some shade, making them a good choice for gardeners who don’t have a lot of sun in their yard.

The Temperature

The temperature condition that is ideal for a Forsythia bush is one where the bush experiences cool winters and warm summers. This type of temperature range allows the bush to experience a dormant period during the winter months and then a growth period during the summer months. If the bush experiences extreme temperatures, either too hot or too cold, it can cause the bush to die.

Ideal Humidity

Ideal humidity condition for this plant is between 40 and 50%. If the humidity falls below 30%, the plant may experience leaf drop. If the humidity rises above 60%, the plant may experience fungal problems.


Regarding fertilizer, this type of plant does not need much. In general, a light application of a balanced fertilizer in early spring is all that is needed. Forsythia are not heavy feeders, so be careful not to overdo it. With regard to the root system, these plants have a fibrous root system that is not difficult to grow.

Light requirement

Pruning a forsythia bush is important to maintain its shape and promote new growth. First, identify the branches you want to remove. Cut these branches back to the main trunk or a lateral branch. Be sure to make clean, sharp cuts at a 45-degree angle. Next, cut any remaining branches back by one-third to encourage new growth. Finally, remove any dead or diseased branches.

About Propagating

Propagation is generally done by rooting softwood cuttings taken from the tips of new growth in late spring or early summer. The cuttings should be about 6 inches (15 cm) long and have several leaves. Strip off the bottom leaves and dip the cut end into rooting hormone. Plant the cuttings in a pot filled with moist perlite or sand. Cover the pot with a plastic bag to maintain high humidity and place it in a bright, warm location but out of direct sunlight. Rooting should occur in four to six weeks. Once the cuttings have rooted, remove them from the pot and plant them in individual pots filled with a well-drained potting mix.

Plant Growth

Usually, the plant growth rate during the spring and summer when the weather is warm and there is plenty of rainfall. However, the bush can also grow during the fall and winter if the conditions are right. The ideal growth conditions for a forsythia bush are a sunny location with well-drained soil.

The Problems

Common problems for this kind of plant are powdery mildew, leaf spot, and bacterial blight. All three of these problems can be treated with fungicides. Powdery mildew is the most common problem and is caused by a fungus that lives on the surface of the leaves. Leaf spot is caused by a different fungus and affects the leaves and stems. Bacterial blight is caused by a bacteria and can affect the flowers, leaves, and stems.

Tips on Growing

  • If you live in a colder climate, wait until the last frost has passed before planting forsythia.
  • Choose a location in full sun for your forsythia bush.
  • Forsythia prefer well-drained soil.
  • Amend the soil with compost or organic matter prior to planting.
  • Dig a hole that is twice the width of the forsythia plant's container.
  • Gently remove the forsythia bush from its container and loosen the roots.
  • Place the forsythia bush in the prepared hole.
  • Backfill the hole with soil, tamping gently as you go.
  • Water the forsythia bush deeply immediately after planting.
  • Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the base of the plant, keeping it away from the trunk.

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Shrubs Category