With its burst of warm sunshine yellow bloom, forsythias are often one of the first signs of spring in Ohio.
This page has specific help for those who want to propagate or prune their Forsythia bushes. Videos for the best advice on how to accomplish these tasks and information highlights to give you good success in the care and multiplication of your spring blooming shrub.
The instructions are applicable to most Spring flowering shrubs that we commonly grow in our gardens.
Several Methods Of Propagation
Since you will want to keep the special attributes of the forsythia variety, growing from seed would not be the best way to increase your shrubbery. Instead, either divide the bush ( that is how I made new plants from mine) or layer one of the long, flexible branches.
Grow FromÂ Cuttings
Using soft wood cuttings, trim lower leaves, dip in rooting hormone and place into a pot with growing medium. Keep in protected place until rooted.
Divide and Multiply
Dividing, the easiest way to have a good sized start, consists of separating some of the newer branches with a clump of attached roots.Â You will need a very sharp shovel to use on a young plant, or a spud bar for cleaving off starts from and older plant.
Dig up the entire plant, if it isn’t too old and large, or use a spud bar to separate a piece from the side. The growing piece needs to have some of the root. Otherwise you may use hardwood or softwood cutting techniques for your shrub propagation.
Pare down the growing stems to about eight inches, plant the divided piece into soil at the same depth it was growing previous to lifting. Pack good soil around the roots, water in well, and mulch.This can be done early spring or fall, I prefer the spring.
A Lesson In Layering
In early spring or fall, take a very long branch that will reach the ground, scrape a bit of bark off where it meets the earth, fasten to the ground with wire, or lay a rock on it (my way of weighting down the branch).
Allow it to remain until rooted (a light tug should have resistance) and either allow it to grow there, orÂ cut from parent plant and move it to its permanent position in the garden.
Pruning Your Old Or Wild Forsythia
Remember These High Points
- Prune just after blooming
- Selectively remove a quarter of the oldest stems
- Thin out the canopy of the shrub byÂ hand pruning.
- Always remove all dead or diseased wood.
- Remove crossing, and inward growing branches and those which growing straight up from a main brain branch.
- Don’t Shear Forsythia
- Create an open habit.
Tools For Pruning
Tools you may need to prune a mature forsythia are:
A Few Trivia Facts About The Forsythia
First noticed byÂ Carl Peter Thunburg in a Japanese garden,Â who brought it to Europe. Later it was named in honor of the horticulturalistÂ William Forsyth. TheÂ Forsythia suspensa was then crossed with aÂ Forsythia viridissima which was collected in China byÂ Robert Fortune. From these two parents cameÂ Forsythia X intermedia, the shrub most of us recognize in gardens today.
“Pink” or “white” forsythia is a different plant,Â Abeliophyllum distichum.
It is non toxic, and in Chinese medicine forsythia is aÂ detoxifier and used to treat colds and fever.
The meaning of forsythia blooms in Victorian flower languageÂ isÂ “Anticipation”.