Family: Oleaceae
type : Shrubs, Deciduous
sun exposure : Full Sun
water : Regular Water, Moderate Water
planting zones : US (Upper South) / Zone 6, MS (Middle South) / Zone 7, LS (Lower South) / Zone 8
Plant Details

Though it's originally from China and Korea, this harbinger of spring has adorned Southern gardens for so long that folks assume it's native. At garden centers, it's often the top-selling flowering deciduous shrub because it's inexpensive, easy to grow, and dependably colorful. From late winter to early spring, countless yellow, 34- to 112 inches flowers smother the arching, leafless branches. During the rest of the growing season, the medium green foliage blends well with that of other shrubs. Fall color is inconsistent, but leaves may turn purplish or burgundy.

Forsythia can be used as a clipped hedge, an informal screen, a bank cover, or part of a shrub border. It thrives in most well-drained soils. Somewhat resistant to damage by deer. Rejuvenate after bloom by cutting a third of the oldest canes to the ground in late spring; also remove dead wood and old, woody branches. Prune to preserve graceful, fountain- like form; do not shear into balls or boxes. Cut branches are easy to rootjust stick them into moist soil.

border forsythia

forsythia 'Arnold Dwarf

  • Grows 1123 feet high, to 6 feet wide.
  • Flowers are sparse and not especially attractive, but plant is a useful, fast-growing ground cover.

forsythia xintermedia

  • The most widely grown forsythias are in this hybrid group.
  • Most grow 710 feet tall and have arching branches; smaller selections are also included in the following list.

korean forsythia

Beatrix Farrand

  • Upright to 10 feet tall, 7 feet wide.
  • Branches thickly set with 2- to 212 inches-wide flowers in deep yellow marked with orange.


  • Grows 34 feet tall and a little wider.
  • Deep yellow flowers are followed by green-and-yellow variegated leaves that hold their color all summer long.

Golden Times

  • To 68 feet tall and wide.
  • Variegated selection with yellowish green leaves edged in gold; extremely attractive, especially when grown in light shade.
  • Remove any branches that revert to green.
  • Soft yellow flowers.

Gold Tide

  • ('Courtasol').
  • Compact growth to 20 inches tall by 4 feet wide; profuse bright yellow flowers.


  • ('Gold Charm').
  • Erect to 68 feet high and not quite as wide, with large flowers in deep yellow.

Karl Sax

  • Resembles 'Beatrix Farrand' but is lower growing, neater, more graceful.

Lynwood Variety

  • ('Lynwood Gold').
  • Stiffly upright to 7 feet., with 4- to 6 feet spread.
  • Profuse tawny yellow blooms survive spring storms.

Magical Gold

  • Upright grower to 5 feet high, 4 feet wide, with large golden-yellow blooms.


  • Dense, upright, vigorous shrub to 9 feet tall and 6 feet wide.
  • Deep yellow blossoms.

Spring Glory

  • To about 6 feet tall and wide, with a profuse show of pale yellow flowers.

forsythia ovata

  • Zones US, MS; USDA 6-7.
  • To 46 feet., with wider spread.
  • Heavy crop of bright yellow blossoms appears early in the season.
  • Flower buds are hardy to -20F.
  • Tetragold is lower growing (35 feet high and wide) and has deep yellow blooms.

weeping forsythia

forsythia suspensa

  • Dense, upright growth habit to 810 feet tall, 68 feet wide.
  • Drooping, vinelike branches root where they touch damp soil.
  • Golden yellow flowers.
  • Useful large-scale bank cover.
  • Can be trained as vine; if you support main branches, branchlets will cascade.
  • Forsythia s.
  • fortunei is somewhat more upright, more available in garden centers.

greenstem forsythia

forsythia viridissima

  • Stiff-looking shrub to 610 feet high and wide with deep green foliage, olive-green stems, greenish yellow flowers.
  • Bronxensis is a slow-growing dwarf to 1112 feet tall and 24 feet wide; good for shrub borders or ground cover.
  • Forsythia v.
  • koreana (F.
  • koreana), to 8 feet., has larger, brighter yellow flowers and attractive purplish fall foliage.
  • Its selection 'Kumsom' has striking silver-veined leaves and purple branches; grows just 6 feet tall and 5 feet wide.

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