Easy to grow, hardy deciduous shrubs, forsythias really cheer up the garden with their clusters of small, bright yellow flowers, grown on long whippy shoots, between late winter and spring.

Suitable site and soil. Forsythia grows happily in ordinary soil and does well in most sunny or partially shaded sites.

Cultivation and care. Plant out between autumn and spring. Prune after flowering by removing stems that have just flowered and trim forsythias grown as hedges.

Propagation. Can be increased easily by using cuttings in 74 summer or autumn. F. suspema might root itself when its branches touch the soil and can be layered in autumn.

Recommended varieties. Both F. x intermedia, ‘Lynwood’ and ‘Spectabilis’ are strong-growing compact shrubs, 2.5m – 8ft high by 2.3m – 7’ – 2ft wide, with profuse yellow flowers. ‘Spectabilis’ is one of the most popular varieties and often used for hedges. Another favoured variety is ‘Beatrix Farrand’, whose deep yellow flowers appear from early to mid spring before fresh green leaves appear. F. ovata is not as big at 1.3m – 4’ – ift high and wide and has smaller flowers. F. suspensa is more slender and suitable as climber on a wall or fence where it can grow to 3m – 10ft when supported.

Pests and diseases. Generally trouble-free but flower buds attract birds and the plant is prone to honey-fungus.


When forsythia stems have produced tight buds, cut a few from a large plant and put them indoors in a display vase. The yellow flowers will slowly come out in a warm room and really brighten it up.

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