Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Border Forsythia
Forsythia x intermedia

Family: Oleaceae (oh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Forsythia (for-SITH-ee-a) (Info)
Species: x intermedia (in-ter-MEE-dee-a) (Info)

22 members have or want this plant for trade.

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8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From hardwood cuttings
By simple layering

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 36 photos.
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9 positives
3 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative Rickwebb On Jan 14, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This hybrid of two Chinese species, the Greenstem X the Weeping, is only a one or two season plant; not three or four. It seems to be sterile and bears heavy loads of blooms that seems gaudy to me, unless the plant is young. It does not have pretty bark, stems, or buds and it does not bear good fall color, only a poor yellow-purple-green-brown. It grows quickly and rampantly into a big messy shrub full of dead stems and ugly twigginess. Like its Weeping parent, its stems root along the ground and it becomes a colony if left alone. I have not seen pollinators like the flowers for two weeks in April. Deer have recently discovered that they can eat the younger growth; its only real wildlife value. Nurseries sell this cheap plant a lot in spring. If one must have this, keep it as an arching shrub, and it must be heavily pruned right after it blooms, removing all big stems and any suckers to the ground, removing any dead wood, and leaving a small number of medium size stems about 1 to 5 ft high. It is not a wonderful clipped hedge or sheared plant.

Positive Emerogork On Jul 19, 2013, Emerogork from Wethersfield, CT wrote:

Excellent Plant. I believe I have Forsythia ovata Nakai. It is the first to bloom (late winter) on the block and is a pale yellow rather than that dark yellow everyone else has. (Wethersfield CT)

Forget all those time consuming suggestions in how to maintain them. I simply chop it to 2' tall shortly after it blooms. It will grow many single strand branches that are up to 10' tall by the end of the year and will bloom as an extremely attractive spray by the next spring.

This ranks as one of my best plants and requires minimal maintenance.

Positive wendymadre On May 10, 2011, wendymadre from Petersburg, VA wrote:

I dug up a forsythia from a very shady area behind the garage, and it has been in a pot for several years, surviving hot, dry summers and cold winters. I am going to plant it in the ground very soon (in a sunnier spot), although I have just today found out that it grows 8 - 10 feet tall. I see a lot of forsythia in neighborhood yards, and it doesn't look to get taller than 5 -6 feet. Anyway, it is not only a harbinger of spring, but also is a cue for pruning roses.

Neutral themikeman On Mar 15, 2011, themikeman from Concord, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

I dont like how out of control and hard to tame and keep manicured forsythias are. you can cut these back to almost the nub of the trunk at the groundline and they will still come back and bloom the next year. So good luck getting rid of one these if you plant one and then decide you dont like it because it got out of control. I do however like the fact that they are the ultimate symbol and representation of Spring, here in the Eastern United states. Yes, they are a great indicator, always, as soon as you see the yellow of the forsythias, you know Spring is finally here..mike.

Positive pajaritomt On Oct 24, 2007, pajaritomt from Los Alamos, NM (Zone 5a) wrote:

I make sure there is a forsythia in the yard of every house where I live. One came with the current house. It is on the west side near the patio wall. It was so small I didn't even notice the first year or so, but now with water, it has become taller than the patio and blooms profusely each spring, just when I wonder if spring will ever come. I planted a second one on the South side of the front yard next to the gate to the back yard. It has grown very large and also blooms magnificently each year.

Positive saintartaud On Jun 20, 2007, saintartaud from Kansas City, MO (Zone 5b) wrote:

I've always loved the early yellow flowers and easy-going nature of these shrubs, but they can get overgrown very quickly and require at least a yearly pruning. Other than that, our bush needs very little maintenance.

Positive berrygirl On Mar 29, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I LOVE my forsythia! I wish every plant I have was this care-free. I do absolutely nothing for this plant and it rewards me faithfully each Spring with weeks of gorgeous yellow color.

Forsythia is also known by the common names of "golden bells" or "yellow bells", espec. here in the South.

Neutral raisedbedbob On Feb 1, 2006, raisedbedbob from Walkerton, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Granted this is a beautiful shrub, but takes a lot of pruning for it to look its best.

Positive Toxicodendron On Sep 17, 2004, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is the old fashioned type of forsythia, found around abandoned homesteads. Many named cultivars are sold today.
I love this sturdy, free-flowering shrub. Drought tolerant, sun to part shade, insect-resistant, and carefree would all describe it's attributes.
It does spread by rooting wherever the long canes touch the ground, so occasionally I pull those out and move them or share them with friends. Some of the canes reach 15 feet in length, but can be cut back after flowering if desired. Do not prune back in late summer or fall because you will cut off next year's blossoms.
Foliage turns yellow in autumn for an added bonus.

Positive ZaksGarden On May 6, 2004, ZaksGarden from Winston Salem, NC wrote:

This lovely bush blooms light yellow to almost an orange color in the spring. Lovely along driveways or fencelines. We have 3 of these beautiful bushes, and they are very easy to root. Just snip a branch off and stick it in the ground and within 2 weeks its taken root. Very low maintenance, and very self-sufficient.

Positive Bricca On Jul 17, 2003, Bricca from Sugar Grove, NC wrote:

You have to love forsythia - a gorgeous mass of early spring yellow, and bright green foliage thru the summer and fall! Can literaly become a tree. Grows great from cuttings. Wonderful in our mountains. Superb along HIGH foundations; great at property edge too! Lovely way to disguise your well or other detractions!

Positive Terry On Aug 31, 2002, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Some sneer at such an old-fashioned plant, but it's such a bright spot of color during those last bleak days of winter.

Some years, I bring in branches for forcing, and they make a nice centerpiece (not terribly long-lasting though.)

Neutral weebus On Mar 18, 2001, weebus from Olympia, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Arching Vase-shape. 10Ft. tall & 10-12 Ft wide. Blazing Yellow blossoms early in spring. May be used as an informal hedge.

Zones 4-9 Full sun, tol. half sun. Blooms on previous years growth and is easily propagated by "Layering".


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Morrilton, Arkansas
Clifton, Colorado
Wethersfield, Connecticut
Trenton, Florida
Marietta, Georgia
Winterville, Georgia
Indianapolis, Indiana
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Lisbon, Maine
Billerica, Massachusetts
Sudbury, Massachusetts
Lena, Mississippi
Madison, Mississippi
Conway, Missouri
Eunice, Missouri
Piedmont, Missouri
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Kingston, New York
Concord, North Carolina
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tillamook, Oregon
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Milford, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
Thompsons Station, Tennessee
Kempner, Texas
Kent, Washington
Falling Waters, West Virginia

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