forsythia question

greekisme(Z4NY)April 7, 2005

I absolutely love forsythia. Years ago I was given forsythia branches and told that I could plant them directly into the ground and have my own. Well, I have done this many times and been successful in that the tree/shrubs have grown well, BUT they have never flowered well. Those yellow flowers are why I planted them!!!!!!

I prune them back since they grow really long branches, but since they were originally branches and not plants with roots, do you think this is why they don't seem to flower or grow in the shape of a typical shrub? Granted I do not have a lot of full sun space, but they are in the sunniest spots on my property.

Should I yank them out, start anew and buy new potted forsythia or does anyone recommend cutting them down to the ground (when?, Spring, Summer or Fall?) and see if this helps establish proper growth shape and flowering for next year?

Thanks. Athena

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jannie(z7 LI NY)

I too have trouble with forsythia. We had a nice bush going in our back yard. Two years ago on a warm day in March I went out and pruned off what I thought were dead parts. And it has not bloomed at all ever since. I think it's mad at me. . .

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 1:57PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Normal, Lynwood Gold type, forsythia buds are only hardy to -15F. Colder than that and they start dying off. There are hardier forsythias out there, but they can be hard to find. ForestFarm has a decent selection of them. Do check flower bud hardiness before you buy. I was only looking for hardiness to -20. I think Meadowlark is flower bud hardy to -35F, but that may be the only one.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 2:02PM
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Aurore(Zone 4/5 NY)

I have noticed that for the last couple of years my forsythia has been blooming in the fall. You can't see the flowers then because they are hidden under the leaves. If you turn the branches over-there are the blossoms. Of course if they bloom in the fall then I'm not going to have any blooms in the spring. I think this crazy weather has confused the plants so they blossom at the wrong time of the year.
I also find that I don't get any blossoms until the plants are well established - three years or more.

Here is a link that might be useful: my webpage

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 2:18PM
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bklyndirt(5 Ithaca)

Hmmm . . . when are you pruning your shrubs?

Forsythia (as well as other spring-blooming shrubs) flower on the previous year's growth. Basically, they grow and set the buds by the end of fall. The buds sit dormant all winter and, as soon as it warms up enough and water begins to flow from the roots up to the buds, the plant blossoms.

If you pruned your forsythia last year anytime after mid-summer or if you got out your pruners and tidied up on one of these beautiful early spring days, you've basically cut off all the buds.

Wait until RIGHT AFTER your shrub flowers to tidy up or to try to prune it into any particular shape.

If your really must prune your shrub in the early spring you can bring the branches indoors and set them in a vase with water. The warmth of being inside and the water will force the buds to open so you can have a little preview of spring.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2005 at 11:10PM
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