How to Grow Forsythia From a Cutting

Do you want to know how to grow forsythia from a cutting? Here, you’ll find everything about forsythia for its growth and care. 

Forsythia is a bright yellow flower with five petals. The forsythias genus belongs to the olive family, it has 11 species of deciduous woody shrubs that bear yellow flowers in the early spring. These species are different in shape, and size and grow in different zones, but all bear yellow flowers.

The forsythias grow well in USDA hardiness zones range 5 to 8, they are fast-growing plants that can grow up to 10 – 12 feet taller. This is because they grew as a border gardening plant.

Quick Guide

Common NameForsythia, golden bell
Scientific NameForsythia spp.
Plant typeOleaceae
Mature Size2- 10 ft taller, 2-10 ft wider
Sun ExposureFull sun, partial shade
Soil TypeMoist, but well-drained soil
Soil pHAny pH level 
Bloom TimeSpring
Flower ColorYellow
Hardiness Zones5 to 8 USDA
Native AreaAsia

How to Grow Forsythia


When to Grow

Forsythia is a hardy shrub that can be planted anytime in a year. However, in the cold season, their growth rate becomes slower or goes dormant.

It’s better to plant them earlier in the year. So that they will get enough time to get established.

Plant forsythias between early to mid-spring. During this period they grow faster, which gives them a good time to get established. Once settle they become hardier and can survive in tough conditions.

Where to Grow 

Forsythias are tall growing plants. They can reach up to 10 to 12 feet in good growing condition. Some forsythias species grow short or weeping types.

But, most prefer open and large areas. Plant them outdoors where they get a large area to spread, you can control their growth by pruning occasionally. Growing them in pots or containers will not result in a good flower stalk.

How to Grow Forsythia From a Cutting

how to grow forsythia from a cutting

Growing forsythia from stem cutting is the best way to multiply them. You can grow them in different parts of the garden through stem cuttings of a single forsythia.

Here is what to do:

  • Take a clean and sharp gardening shear. Cut stem cutting of about 4 to 10 inches long.
  • Take stem cuttings from a mature forsythia plant that is at least one year old. 
  • The stem cutting should have leaves and few branches. Clear all leaves from the bottom half of the stem cutting.
  • Plant the stem cutting in a small pot or a garden bed with moist soil mixed with peat moss. Mix some amount of sand and perlite in the soil for better drainage. 
  • Place the pot where it gets indirect sunlight. Planting them in full sun in the early stage will cause leaf burn or wilt leaves because the stem does not have roots yet. 
  • Water stem cutting daily, within one month it grows at least one inch of roots.
  • Once roots get established you can transplant each stem cutting to the garden bed for continuous growth.

Can you Grow Forsythia in Water?

Yes, you can grow forsythia in water. Here, is what to do:

  • Take a stem cutting from a mature plant (at least one-year-old). 
  • The stem cutting should be not too woody and have some leaves on it.  
  • Clear all leaves from half of the stem cutting so that new roots can grow.
  • Fill half the jar with water and emerge half stem cutting into it. Do not emerge while cutting, it needs the upper part to grow leaves.
  • Place the jar where it gets indirect sunlight, avoid placing it in direct sunlight, it will heat up the glass jar which does not result in root growth.
  • It will take about 2-3 weeks to grow new roots from the cutting. 
  • In these weeks, you have to change the jar of water every 3-4 days. Staying in water will attract diseases and gradually oxygen in the water will go away.
  • Replacing it with fresh water will cut good oxygen which will help to grow faster.
  • Once the roots get about 1 inch long, plant them in a pot or directly in the garden bed.
  • In the water stem cutting will only be limited in size after that it will stop growing. To grow more leaves and flowers you have to plant them in the soil.  

Forsythia Care


Forsythia is an easy to care shrub, it thrives perfectly even in tough soil conditions. In the summer and fall seasons, they are used as a privacy wall as their leaves fade away.

Many people in the slop region used this wild shrub to control soil erosion; it has a deep, interconnected root system that binds soil rock solid.

Some species like forsythias suspense is a weeping type plant that can be grown as a vein that hangs on the trellis or planted behind the wall and allows it to cascade over the side. 

Forsythe’s is a hardy plant that grows drought tolerance once established. This makes them easy to grow, as you do not need to worry about watering them frequently. 

They can be an excellent choice if you have poor garden soil because they adapt to the condition fastly.

Forsythia can thrive anywhere in the garden with minimal care. Unless you plant them where they receive a lot of sunlight. It needs a decent amount of sunlight that is not intense or harsh.


When you grow them in your organized garden bed, pruning is the only care they require. Forsythia is a very fast-growing plant. Leaving them unpruned or trimmed for long period will lead to giant-looking wild shrubs. However, many people who have a large garden, let them grow bigger to get a feel of the woody area.


Forsythe’s prefer to grow in moderate sunlight. Plant them where they face at least 6 hours of direct sun. Planting in shade or low light areas will cause less production of leaves, it may grow wilt as well.

However, this depends on the climate, if you live in a warm climate give them cover from afternoon sunlight. Too much heat will cause leaf burn.


Forsythia does not need too rich soil to thrive. It prefers only loose and well-drained soil. However, this is a tough plant and will be able to survive in clay soil too.

This shrub is not picky about the pH level of the soil, they can thrive both in acidic as well as alkaline soil.

For better drainage you can mix sand or perlite with the soil, this will make water flow smoothly. Avoid planting them in stay water it will damage their roots and cause several diseases. 


Forsythia does best in moderately moist soil. They become drought tolerant once get established. They do not like soggy soil.

In the beginning, water regularly tills until it gets established. Then water occasionally or when it’s been a long without rainfall. Watering once thoroughly in 2 weeks is a good practice. 

Temperature and humidity


Forsythias like to grow in slightly humid climates. If it’s too dry it might not bloom or if planted in the too moist condition it might become wilt.

They grow excellently when the temperature is between 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. However, they are fairly hardy in the cold climate. But struggles when the temperature goes below -5 degrees Fahrenheit. If exposed to extremely cold conditions, it might affect the spring growth.

When they got affected by cold, take more time to flower in next spring. However, the plant can recover and return to normal by next year. Many gardens in the north prefer to plant forsythias species that can be handy in their hardiness zones.


Forsythia does not need fertilizer to show quick growth, they are naturally fast-growing plants. Fertilize them only when they become one year old. At that point, you can add about a cup of granular fertilizer every few weeks throughout the spring and summer. 

Common plant diseases

Forsythia is only susceptible to knobby galls that form around its stem, also with fungal twig blight. You can get rid of both of the problems by pruning or trimming affected stems. Twig blight can be prevented by keeping forsythia well pruned for better air circulation and by applying a fungicide. 

Common Forsythia varieties


There are many varieties and cultivars of forsythia. Its cultivars are hybrids of two forsythias that share similar traits between two plants. These cultivars are developed for better growth, adaptability, and plant type. The varieties named ‘intermedia’ forsythia are developed from crossing Greenstem forsythia (F.viridissima) and Weeping forsythia (F.suspensa). 

Some of the most common varieties of forsythia are:

Forsythia ‘Arnold Dwarf’:

This is a low-growing forsythia variety that grows about 2 to 3 feet tall and is spread in a large area. It does not flower as profusely as other varieties but is used as a great ground cover plant. You can use this variety to cover your lawn. 

Forsythia ‘Courtasol’:

Cortisol is also a dwarf variety that grows 2 to 3 feet taller. However, this does not spread much (only 1 to 4 feet), it produces light yellow color flowers during early spring to summer.

Forsythia ‘Northern Sun’:

This is a good variety if you live in a colder region (hardiness zone 4 to south). It grows 10 feet taller and spreads 9 feet, producing light yellow flowers. 

Forsythia x ‘New Hampshire Gold’:

This is also a cold-hardy shrub that grows well above zone 3. It grows 4 feet tall and spreads about 5 feet with red-colored leaves in the fall.

Forsythia x intermedia ‘Kolgold’:

This variety grows larger flowers than other varieties which are about 1 inch long. It grows to 4 feet in height and spreads about 5 feet. 

Forsythia x intermedia ‘Lynwood Variety’:

Lynwood varieties produce large bright yellow flowers and leaves with purple stems in the fall.

Forsythia x intermedia ‘Meadowlark’:

The is a large growing variety that grows about 7 to 9 feet taller and spread nearly the same. It is known for having very few issues with pests and diseases.

Forsythia x intermedia ‘Sunrise’:

This compact shrub grows between 4 to 6 feet in height and spreads similarly. The variety is hardy in cold weather. It easily sustains in a cold climate than other forsythia varieties.

Forsythia suspens:

If you want to grow forsythia in trellis, grow this variety. It is a weeping-type shrub that grows about 10 feet long with pendulous branches.

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