Is forsythia an invasive plant?

December, 2023
Darren Spalding

The unrelated white forsythia, Abeliophyllum distichum, has many of the same characteristics as forsythia, flowering at about the same time, but with white flowers. If you are happy with the shape of your shrub, you can go several years without pruning. Be aware that even the hardiest forsythias can suffer occasional flower bud death during mid- to late-winter thaws. Be aware that even the hardiest forsythias can suffer occasional flower bud dieback during mid- to late-winter thaws.

The weeping type (Forsythia suspensa) can even be trained to grow as a vine on a trellis or planted behind a retaining wall and allowed to cascade over the side. Forsythia is one of the first shrubs to bloom, and provides a burst of color when gardeners need it most. Pruning forsythia shrubs is best done just after they have finished blooming in spring because next spring's flowers will bloom on the wood produced the previous year. The bright yellow flowers often start to bloom even when there is still snow on the ground.

Where does forsythia grow best?

Bare-root plants are plants that are not actively growing, usually perennials that are dug up and stored without soil around their roots. Large shrubs that have weeping branches, or a combination of arching and upright, are best grown informally. Full sun and partial shade are best for this shrub, meaning it prefers a minimum of 4 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day. They are happiest when the temperature ranges from 55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but are also quite hardy to colder temperatures (however, many varieties do not respond well when winter temperatures drop below 5 degrees Fahrenheit).

It is drought and salt tolerant and grows quickly, often two feet or more per year, depending on the variety. It is counterproductive to fight two to four feet of growth each year with pruning shears in an attempt to make them behave contrary to their nature.

What Is Forsythia Used for?

The traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) characteristics of Forsythiae Fructus (bitter taste, slightly cold nature, and lung meridian) support its strong anti-inflammatory effects. Cuttings from forsythia bushes can be forced to flower by cutting them and bringing them indoors and keeping them in a vase of water. They will not keep their color for the whole year, so try to use this soap a few months after it has cured. The fruit, called lian qiao in China, is used internally for chills, fevers, headaches, muscle aches and to expel internal parasites, and externally for burns, cuts, grazes, infections and rashes.

Most published scientific studies on the medicinal properties of forsythia have been done on animals or in vitro, that is, outside of a living organism, probably in a petri dish or test tube. Often, one of the first signs of the arrival of spring are the bright yellow flowers that appear on the branches of the forsythia bush.

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