Forsythia x intermedia, Border Forsythia
Classification: woody broadleaf deciduous shrub
Origin: hybrid cross from F. suspensa and F. viridissima (both native to China and Korea)
Sunset Zones: 2 - 11, 14-16, 18, 19
Structure/Form: mounding, arching, fountain-shaped. Spreads by layering, so has the ability to establish clusters.
Mature Size: 6 - 10' (depending on variety) tall, and equal width or wide depending on variety).
Growth Rate: moderate to rapid
Foliage: opposite, elliptically shaped leaves with fairly prominent serrations. These leaves are approx. 3 - 5" long, dark green on top/pale green undersides. The stems have lightly colored glandular bumps or scars, "lenticils", and the mature stems are hollow, but solid at nodes (like bamboo).
Flower, Fruit, Seeds: 4-part trumpet-shaped yellow to golded yellow flowers run the length of the bare branches before the leaves appear. The flower display lasts about a month between February and April.
Uses: accent, background, informal hedges, espallier (very nice look), cut flowers, winter forcing (budded branches can be forced for blooms).
Propagation: cuttings, layering occurs naturally (horizontal stems start rooting where they touch damp soil)
Care & Maintenance: as with many basal growers, thin at the base (prune after bloom 1/3 of the stems to the ground starting with oldest branches and weak or dead wood). Looks best without cutback, but will tolerate pruning.
Cultivated Varieties: 'Spectabilis' (deep yellow), 'Lynwood Gold' (tawny yellow), 'Spring Glory' (lighter bright yellow)
Comments: like the flowering quince, the early blooming forsythia is a delight with it's yellow sprays in the late winter/early spring landscape. After it blooms it is rather non-descript, but blends nicely with other background shrubs.
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