Filed under: Shrubs. Tagged as: forsythia x intermedia.
No, forsythia is not a native species. Yet, its bright yellow exuberance arrives just when our winter-tired eyes need it the most, and so it has won me over. Forsythia is the energetic friend you invite to spice up your party. And, like your high-spirited human friend, forsythia does not like to be restrained. Please, please, please do not prune forsythia into a little ball. Some shrubs, such as the faithful Japanese holly, will tolerate that, but forsythia will not. Most of its blooms, as well as its charm, will be lost. So, do not plant forsythia by the front door or walkway. Give it room to celebrate. Its mature size is 8-10 feet high and 10-12 feet wide. And do prune it correctly. Do not cut the branches partway down because it will encourage new growth at the ends, leaving the bottom part of the shrub with few flowers. Forsythia will never be a tidy shrub, but you can cut one-third of the oldest stems all the way to the ground each year after it blooms. Or, cut while it is blooming and put the flowers in a vase indoors. This type of pruning will encourage new growth from the base of the shrub that will produce next year’s flowers. Enjoy!