Forsythia is an incredibly beautiful plant, intensely covered with bright yellow flowers. It belongs to the olive family and can grow both under the guise of a shrub and small trees. The plant is considered to be quite ancient, which is confirmed by a fairly wide growing area in the natural environment: regions of China, Japan, Korea and Europe (especially on the Balkan Peninsula). The shrub got its name in honor of the eminent scientist William Forsyth, who was the first to bring it to England from the Chinese forests. Initially, the flower was called forsythia, but over time, the name has changed.
Forsythia is considered a symbol of spring, since it is one of the first to bloom when the snow has not yet completely melted. Bright early flowers cheer you up after a long winter and announce the arrival of spring with their flowering. The buds on the bushes appear slightly earlier than the leaves, so during the flowering period the shrub looks like a golden ball. The height of a perennial can be from 1 to 3 m, some specimens even reach 4 m, the width of the bush is about 2 m.The leaf plates are predominantly oval in shape, most species have simple leaves, without trefoils, although some varieties may have trifoliate.
They grow oppositely, the edges of the plates can be solid or serrated, the length varies from 2 to 15 cm, depending on the type of forsythia. The plant is characterized by the appearance of leaves at the end of flowering. The stems are covered with a grayish brown, tough bark. The flowers are bell-shaped and yellow in color, although there are varieties with snow-white blooms. The diameter of the opened bud is 2.5–4 cm; they gather in small inflorescences.
The flowering shrub lasts three weeks, then the fruits are formed - somewhat elongated capsules with light seeds inside. When the fruit is ripe, it cracks and the seeds are sown into the soil.
Forsythia loves bright light, but it can well grow in the shade. In the autumn season, the foliage changes its usual color to dark lilac.
Overview of species and varieties
Perennial has a fairly numerous species and varietal diversity, but only a few lend themselves to cultivation in our latitudes.
A short perennial with a straight-growing trunk reaches a maximum height of 2 m. The foliage of European forsythia has solid edges and a size of about 7 cm. The buds are single, bell-shaped, yellow in color. This species belongs to long-livers, its representatives have reached 70 years. The plant prefers a bright place of growth, it is unassuming to soil and moisture, and also has winter hardiness.
Frozen shoots are capable of recovery in spring. For the winter, it is worth applying a layer of mulch from fallen leaves.
This type is used both in single plantings and in a group with others, as well as in different compositions and as fences.
The variety bears great resemblance to the previous species, but is vulnerable to frost. She comes from the northern regions of China. The stems are tetrahedral and yellowish brown in color. The leaves are slightly elongated, pointed, up to 10 cm long, their upper part is dark green, and the lower part is paler.
The flowering period is later, in April-May, but the flowers are quite large, with beautifully twisted petals, light yellow.
Forsythia drooping or drooping
The species differs in larger sizes, up to 3 m, belongs to the most popular varieties of perennials. The crown has a rather spreading shape with thin, arcuate stems. They are tetrahedral and have a brick or dark olive color. Young leaves are trifoliate, and mature ones have a simple shape, grow oppositely. Flowers are not too large, golden in color.
One inflorescence contains 3-5 bells. Flowering begins at 5-6 years. With the onset of autumn, the greenish leaves of the bush become a beautiful lilac shade. Representatives of this species are resistant to cold weather, but still it is better for them to winter under cover. Forsythia drooping has the following forms:
- variegated or "Variegata" stands out with golden buds and variegated crown;
- "Fortune" drooping has narrowed trifoliate leaves and dark yellow inflorescences;
- purple stem is characterized by shoots of a purple hue and foliage of the same tone when opened;
- "Siebold" with creeping branches and rich yellow flowers.
Forsythia dark green
The variety is characterized by tall forms, height up to 3 m. The shoots are directed upwards, densely covered with elongated simple leaves of rather large sizes. They have a deep green color and jagged edges along the top. The bark on the branches is the same shade. The buds are green-yellow, gather in small bunches.
The bush blooms in the fifth year after planting. This species is distinguished by a rather high drought tolerance and unpretentiousness to the soil, but it must be covered for the winter, since the plant does not tolerate low temperatures well.
For breeding in the middle lane, a squat variety "Bronxensis" was specially bred.
This species is the result of hybridization of two types of forsythia: dark green and drooping. It blooms only in the fourth year. The leaves are distinguished by the presence of notches along the edges and an elongated shape, they keep the dark green color until the end of autumn. Yellow flowers are connected in pairs in dense numerous inflorescences, which are located on rather thick, straight shoots. The budding period begins in April-May.
The species is quite resistant to droughts and frosts, characterized by rapid growth. Often this species is planted as living fences. She reacts normally to the harsh climate in the Urals and Siberia. Known varieties:
- "Beatrix Farrand" belongs to high crops, can grow up to 4 m, yellow petals are decorated with darker stripes at the base;
- "Spectabilis" is a small bush with large flowers and leaves that change color depending on the season: when it is warm they are green, and in autumn they acquire yellowish-purple colors;
- "Linwood Gold" is distinguished by exuberant flowering and variegated crown;
- "Golden Time" is an undemanding bush with voluminous flowers, tolerates even severe frosts well;
- Weekend and Melissa are newly bred early flowering varieties;
- "Minigold" is a low-growing variety of the "Linwood" variety, rarely grows above 1 m;
- "Kid" is also a mini-variety, rarely exceeding 80 cm.
Snow forsythia (white)
A medium sized bush with oval leaf plates, the reverse side of which has a purple color. Plant height - 1.5-2 m. Ellipse-shaped leaves are small, in autumn they turn into purple instead of dark green. It is characterized by large white flowers with a yellowish throat and a light pink center.
Also a short shrub native to Korea. Perennial has lush shoots that have a gray-yellow color. The leaves are small, in summer they are green, and then turn purple-purple. This variety is the earliest flowering variety, characterized by resistance to low temperatures and drought resistance.
Perennials cultivated in the middle lane do not need to be insulated for the winter.
Famous varieties include:
- Spring Glory is the tallest variety with rather large flowers, which turns from green to motley in autumn;
- "Tetragold" - a small bush with significant dark yellow ovaries;
- "Goldsauber" belongs to the rather valuable and very famous varieties, with large golden buds, characterized by frost resistance;
- "Dresden Forfrühling" - medium-sized shrub, dense crown, light yellow inflorescences;
- "Weekend Sapphire" has a very branched crown with flexible shoots, late-flowering, but blooms longer than other varieties, in the fall the bush acquires a beautiful purple tone.
Korean forzition "Kumson" ("Komsan")
The decorative perennial stands out with white veins on green leaf plates. Does not have a special height, the shoots are slightly bent. Blooms yellow, buds appear evenly throughout the branch.
We take into account the climate and choose a place
Not all varieties of forsythia are suitable for the same climatic conditions, this should definitely be taken into account when choosing. For the southern regions, the Giralda forsythia, dark green, as well as intermediate and ovoid forsythia varieties are more suitable. For the middle lane, it is better to choose the European variety.
But in more northern regions, it is worth cultivating frost-resistant varieties of ovoid and intermediate varieties of forsythia . For the temperate climate of the Moscow region, European forsythia is more suitable, although with proper care it is possible to grow other species, but be sure to take into account their characteristic features.
Beautifully flowering bushes become a real decoration of the garden, in addition, hedges of green coniferous trees favorably set off forsythia. In this regard, the shrub must be planted in a prominent place where it will look advantageous. In addition, it should be borne in mind that the plant will still grow, and it needs a place for this, so it is worth placing the bush so that there is 1-2 m of free territory around. A place for planting should be chosen closed from the wind, but quite light, although the plant will grow well in partial shade.
Forsythia looks beautiful with blooming crocuses or lilacs, they become good neighbors, complementing each other.
Planting a perennial does not require too much effort, since forsythia belongs to unpretentious crops. When planting several bushes at once, you need to ensure that the distance between them is 1.5-2 m. You can plant seedlings both in autumn and in spring. The most appropriate time for autumn planting is September, and earlier in regions with more severe climates. A plant planted in spring has more time to form a root system, but this will result in less subsequent flowering.
Landing takes place as follows:
- dig holes 0.5 m deep in advance;
- pour a layer of drainage 20 cm on the bottom and 10 cm of sand on top;
- humus and ash should be added to the planting soil;
- carefully place the seedling in the hole, place the root collar above the soil;
- cover with earth, tamp and moisten;
- pour mulch from humus or fallen leaves on top;
- drive in a support not far from the plant to fix the bush to it.
Peat cannot be used as mulch - it oxidizes the soil, and the acidic environment of forsythia is not suitable.
The tree does not differ in special care requirements. Forsythia does not tolerate waterlogging, therefore, in the presence of rains, it does not need additional watering. Almost all species tolerate drought normally, but nevertheless, in the absence of precipitation, moisture is enough for it 1-2 times a month. After watering, you should loosen the soil around the bush and pick out weeds. Feeding the plant begins in early spring, a small amount of rotted manure is laid out under the bushes (not under the trunk itself), in April it is worth feeding with minerals, well, additionally fertilizing forsythia after flowering.
Young shrubs carry out only sanitary pruning; in its process, it is worth cutting only dried or damaged shoots. An adult plant only needs to trim the frozen end of the stems in the spring. The main haircut is carried out in the summer, when the forsythia has faded:
- faded branches are cut in half;
- dried and perennial shoots are cut at a distance of 40-60 cm from the soil, so new lateral stems will begin to form faster.
By pruning, the size of the bush and its shape are controlled. For adult forsythia, it is worth doing a rejuvenating haircut once every 3-4 years, when all the stems are cut at a height of 4-6 cm. This procedure stimulates the growth dynamics of new branches. Often it is impossible to carry out such a haircut, otherwise the bush will grow strongly, but will stop blooming. At the end of winter, it is worth inspecting the bush, and if there are frozen or damaged branches, they must be removed before budding begins.
Although many perennial varieties are frost-resistant, it is still worth preparing forsythia for wintering before cold weather, especially in areas with a cold climate. To do this, immediately after the leaves fall, they are raked to the side, the plant is moistened and the soil near the trunk is well loosened. The roots are covered with collected leaves, it is also possible with straw, with a layer of about 10 cm, and if the bush is young, then you need to cover it completely. Flexible shoots are tilted to the ground, secured to hold, and covered. Saplings planted in autumn need shelter, but certainly breathable.
When the snow falls, it should be shoveled with a snowdrift, thus covering the bush. You can build a timber frame shelter and cover it with agrofibre or burlap. This option is suitable for regions with colder winters, it allows the bush to breathe, but at the same time not freeze. With the beginning of spring, it is removed so that the shoots do not get locked.
Frost-resistant varieties in the southern regions and the middle lane can winter without any shelter, one has only to cover the roots with leaves.
Forsythia is distinguished by a rather rapid growth and development of the root system, so it is better to immediately plant it in the required place. An adult plant does not respond well to transplanting and, moreover, often simply does not take root in a new place. In case of a necessary transplant, in order to achieve a good result, the procedure must be performed with great care.
When to do it depends mainly on the climate: in the south (and in addition, if the variety is frost-resistant) you can do it in the fall, in other regions - in the spring.
Transplant is carried out as follows:
- to determine the size of the root system, it is worth examining the crown, usually their parameters are the same;
- an adult bush is difficult to dig up without damaging the roots; for insurance, you can cut cuttings for propagation;
- it must be borne in mind that the root system will not completely take root, therefore, some of the branches must be removed (forced measures to create a full-fledged plant nutrition);
- cut off all old shoots, leaving only annual (flexible) ones shortened by a third, with 2-3 full-fledged buds;
- the bush needs to be dug in a circle, gradually deepening;
- carefully plant in a prepared hole (done as in the initial planting);
- for the winter, the transplanted plant must be mulched and insulated.
There are no particular difficulties in breeding forsythia, the main thing in this matter is to choose the right species and variety that suits the given climatic conditions. There are several ways to propagate a shrub:
It must be said that the seed method is not particularly suitable for hybrid varieties, since they lose their specific features, therefore it is used only for species reproduction. It is worth remembering that the process of growing forsythia from seeds is quite long-term. Seeds can be sown directly into open ground after harvesting or in spring after the threat of frost has passed. In the second option, the seed should be stored at a temperature of + 2–5 degrees. Then, at the beginning of spring, they are sown in containers with soil, humus and sand (in proportions of 2: 1: 1), covered with film or glass, the shelter is removed when shoots appear.
The sprouts are regularly moistened, after a year they dive, and after 3-4 years they are completely ready for planting on the site, the bush will begin to bloom after 4-6 years after sowing the seeds.
Propagation by cuttings is simple, and this method is faster in time. Cuttings are harvested around the beginning of summer:
- the cut shoot should be young, about 15 cm long;
- leaves are removed from the bottom of the cutting;
- the cut is treated with a preparation for root formation;
- they can be planted in a greenhouse or in a container, but by creating the conditions for a mini-greenhouse.
You can also use woody shoots as cuttings, but they must be cut in October. For reproduction, a stalk of more than 15 cm is needed, it is planted immediately in the soil, leaving 2-3 buds above the ground. To provide them with the right temperature, they are covered with fallen leaves. Through the winter, such seedlings should take root, and with the beginning of spring, the foliage is removed and the bush begins to form.
Reproduction by layering is distinguished by such a positive moment as rapid flowering, forsythia forms buds already in the coming season. When implementing this method, you need:
- reject the shoot located near the surface of the earth from the parent bush;
- at the base, pull the stem with wire;
- make cuts on the bark of the branch at the point of contact with the ground;
- fix the shoot and sprinkle it with earth and humus.
When propagated by layering, forsythia takes root at a fairly fast pace and can be transplanted as early as next spring. To do this, the shoot must be carefully cut off from the mother plant and planted in open soil.
Diseases and pests
Perennial is quite resistant to diseases and parasites, but sometimes bushes can be affected by diseases such as moniliosis, bacteriosis, or wilting. When infected, you need to immediately take up treatment and not wait for the forsythia to dry out and die. The first disease is characterized by the formation of brownish spots on the leaf plates; if it is detected, all affected parts must be removed by cutting off in healthy places.
Bacteriosis is manifested by early yellowing of the leaf plates, followed by wilting of the entire bush. There is no cure for the disease, so the plant is completely dug up and burned outside the site.
When the shoots wither, they die during the flowering period, the disease is dangerous because it affects the vessels of the bush. As a treatment, the plant is treated with a solution of Vectra. First, it is applied to the trunks, and then to the shoots. In order for it to stick better to the branches, shabby laundry soap is added to the solution.
From excessive watering, the shrub can be affected by fungal diseases, so you should not overmoisten the plant.
Forsythia may suffer from the appearance of nematodes on it, from their activity the leaf plates become discolored and curl up into a tube. The fight against them consists in treating the soil with the "Carbation" preparation, you can also plant marigolds near the bushes, which negatively affect these parasites. Sometimes forsythia is attacked by aphids, they get rid of it with a strong soapy solution, which is sprayed on the plant, or with bitters from marigold or dandelion.
Although forsythia belongs to unpretentious and undemanding plants, some difficulties may arise during its cultivation that can affect the general condition of the shrub.
- wrong location: heavy or acidic soil, too shaded area, the presence of drafts;
- care errors: excess moisture, wrong amount of fertilizer;
- missing or incorrect cropping;
- improper organization of wintering, especially in cold regions.
You also need to remember that the shoots are shortened only after flowering ends. Mature woody branches are cut off gradually, moreover, thinning the bushes is a necessary procedure for the normal distribution of nutrients by the root system throughout the bush.
Sometimes in winter, birds can peck buds from a bush, so that this does not happen, it is worth covering the plant with agrofibre.
Use in landscape design
Forsythia is a fairly common culture in landscape design. Such popularity is fully justified by its unusual appearance. The shrub is used both in the form of single plantings and in groups. The plant is beautifully combined with other shrubs, including conifers, forming a beautiful, bright spot against the general background. The bush organically fits into the now popular natural gardens.
Due to its ability to grow fairly quickly, forsythia is often used as living enclosures. Hanging forsythia and its creeping varieties are often used in vertical gardening of walls or fences. Increasingly, shrubs are used not only in decorating parks or squares, but also in private plots. Low-growing perennial varieties are planted in pots and decorate terraces, balconies with them, or are placed near the house. Hanging varieties are often planted on slopes or artificial slides.
The shrub also looks beautiful in mixborders; it is also planted on alpine slides. The yellow inflorescences that adorn the site in early spring fascinate not only during their flowering, but also in autumn, when the purple foliage of forsythia looks beautiful against the rest of the greenish-yellow background.
Paying a little attention to the shrub, you can enjoy its beauty for many years.
For the features of caring for forsythia, see the following video.