We know spring has arrived in northern climes when we see the cheery yellow blooms of the ubiquitous forsythias in April. Named after William Forsyth, one of the founders of the Royal Horticultural Society in the 18th century, forsythias are medium to large shrubs that produce four- petaled clusters of bell-shaped flowers in the axils of the stiff, rough branches.
Forsythia x intermedia is a cross between Forsythia viridissima and Forsythia suspensa var. fortunei. It was found as a chance seedling in the Botanic Garden of Gottingen, Germany, in 1885. It has given rise to many popular cultivars. ‘Beatrix Farrand’ is a widely cultivated old standard, found in many old landscapes. It grows large and is very floriferous. However, it is not very cold hardy and after a cold winter, only a scattering of flowers may appear below where the snow line was.
Although not noted for fall color, in good seasons the shrubs will have an interesting mix of yellow, red and purple leaves. They are very adaptable to poor soils and varying moisture. Pruning is best done immediately after flowering, giving new growth time to form flower buds. Never shear forsythias into “green meatballs”, as their natural shapes are graceful enough.
Screen/Hedge, Specimen Plant