Forsythia and Flowering Quince
are the reminders that spring is just around the corner. The yellow buds burst
forth with glorious color. They provide that late winter/ early spring color
needed in the garden. After their blooms,
the foliage fills out for the season. Forsythia shrubs are found in
zones 5 – 8, perfect for a Memphis garden. They love full sun and well-drained
soil. The plant taxonomy of border
forsythias is Forsythia x
. They are a hybrid of
greenstem (F. viridissima
) and a weeping type (F.
). Some varieties of Forsythia x intermedia
are "Sunrise" forsythia which are more compact growing 4'-6' tall
with a spread of 3'-5', ‘Meadowlark’ grows 8'-10' tall, and in between
'Northern Gold' at 6'-8' tall.
When to Prune Forsythia Bushes:
Pruning of forsythia bushes is
best done just after they've finished putting on their flower display in
spring, because they bloom on the prior year's growth (pruning either too late
or too early interrupts the growth/blooming cycle). Begin by pruning 1/4 to 1/3
of oldest branches, pruning them right down to the ground. This will encourage
new growth and a more compact form. Beyond this "renewal pruning,"
you can also selectively cut newer branches in order to improve upon the
overall shape of your forsythia plants.
Pruning after they have finished
their blooms allows you to see the newest branches apart from the older. Only
the older branches will have blooms; the first-year branches won't have any
yet, so you have a graphic reminder to avoid pruning them.
When to Fertilize:
It is best to fertilize in the
late fall just as they are losing their leaves. This will allow the plant to
have a fabulous floral display in the early spring. Use your favorite
fertilizer following manufacturer’s directions regarding amount and placement.
In the picture, you will see
yellow blooming forsythia with the pink flowering quince in the background.
These were planted close together in the bed by the penguin pool and Round
Barn. Enjoy your day at the Memphis Zoo.