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Forsythia intermedia Complete Care-Guide

Forsythia Intermedia Background

The forsythia intermedia is part of the olive family (Oleaceae). The forsythia genus has 11 species containing dozens of varieties and cultivars.

This plant was named after the Scottish botanist, William Forsyth. He was the director of the Royal Garden at Kensington and a founding member of the Royal Horticultural Society.

Native Range

The forsythia intermedia is native to Asia, namely China and Japan. It has been naturalized in southeastern Europe and North America in the past few hundred years. 

Growing Habits

Forsythia intermedia is a deciduous shrub that grows six to ten feet tall with a spread of eight to twelve feet. It is a fast and vigorous grower. 

This shrub has rough brownish-grey bark and bears its flowers before its leaves. Because its stems grow naturally in an arching habit, it seldom needs to be pruned.

The forsythia intermedia does best in full sun and can tolerate some shade. If it receives too much shade, its stems will have a scraggly appearance and may not bloom as profusely.

This shrub is deer resistant and does not attract Japanese beetles.

USDA Hardiness Zones

Knowing your zone is important when selecting the right plant for your outdoor space. To figure out your zone, go to our home page and type in your zip code. There you will be shown exactly what zone you are in, no sign-up is required.

The forsythia intermedia can grow in zones five to eight. It can tolerate being grown in zone nine if given occasional shade and enough moisture.

This plant flowers in early spring before it grows leaves. The flower buds of the forsythia intermedia develop in fall and go dormant in winter. With enough warm days, forsythia intermedia will break dormancy and bloom. If the forsythia intermedia breaks dormancy but experiences a hard frost, the buds will die and the plant will not bloom that season.

Though forsythia intermedia are hardy, their tender buds may need protection from frost in late winter/early spring. This can be accomplished by covering the shrub with a woolen blanket or tarp.

Preferred Soil Conditions

Forsythia intermedia prefers a somewhat moist, free-draining soil. It can grow in soils that range from 6.0 to 8.0 pH. This shrub tolerates clay soils and can withstand alkaline soils. This shrub does not tolerate wet soil or excessive and prolonged periods of dryness.

Where to plant in the garden

This is a shrub that blooms for about two weeks in spring and shows off mellow, warm foliage colors in fall. It is an excellent shrub for beginning the momentum of succession planting. 

Succession planting is planting perennials, shrubs, and trees that vary in blooming times. This type of planting allows for there to always be something blooming or at its peak in the garden throughout the year. 

The forsythia intermedia can be grown in borders or hedges. It can fit in many gardening styles including spring gardens, Japanese gardens, and cottage gardens. 

How to Grow

Growing forsythia is as easy as planting any shrub. Here is the process step-by-step:

    1. Select a location that receives plenty of sun throughout the day
    2. Forsythia intermedia can be planted anywhere but at the bottom of a hill. This area is more prone to standing water and receives more frost in spring
    3. Dig a hole just big enough to cover the roots and not the stem
    4. If in a container, make sure roots are growing around in a circle, if they are, tease them apart so they can grow outward and not around
    5. Gently backfill and firm in soil with your hands
    6. Water thoroughly to help the plant establish and to remove any air pockets in the soil
    7. Do not prune for the first year or two so the roots can fully establish
    8. Fertilize each fall with 10-10-10 fertilizer

How to Prune 

  • Forsythia intermedia can be left to grow naturally
  • Broken or crossing branches should be removed to minimize disease potential
  • It can be lightly pruned by cutting back 20-30% of the branches at the base, this will thin it out and allow more light into the center
  • If very unruly or overgrown, it can be pruned within 3 to 4 inches of the ground, this can be done every four years to rejuvenate it

How to Propagate

Propagation can be done in two different ways: by layering or by cuttings.


This means taking one of its low-hanging branches to the ground without cutting or breaking it. The stem, in contact with the soil, will form roots. After several months or when there are enough roots, the branch can be cut away from the parent shrub. You can dig up the new plant or let it grow where it is.

Taking Cuttings

The second method of taking cuttings is very similar. Take a cutting of about six inches with the diameter of a pencil. Dip the cut end of the stem into rooting hormone if you have it, and insert it into a small container of potting soil. Water the plant regularly and plant once roots are visible, this may take up to a year.

Forsythia intermedia for sale

With its bright yellow flowers, the forsythia intermedia is the harbinger of spring. It is one of the most striking spring shrubs with the benefit of being easy to grow. It blooms in early spring for two weeks and then grows its foliage. In fall, leaves fade from green to gold for another beautiful seasonal display.

Zone: 5 to 8
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Mature Height: 6 to 10 feet
Water: Average 
Best for use as a hedge or in cottage and spring gardens

Buy Forsythia Intermedia here

Similar Shrubs

These shrubs are similar to the forsythia intermedia in their color, growth habit, or striking color. They all grow in similar conditions to the forsythia and can be used for succession planting.

Witch Hazel 

Witch hazel also has a beautiful yellow color, except it is most vibrant in the fall. This shrub makes an excellent screen to create a sense of privacy on your property. Because it is deciduous, it will lose its leaves in winter and regrow them in spring.

Zone: 3 to 8
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Mature Height: up to 25 feet
Water: Average
Best for use as a hedge or privacy screen

Buy Witch Hazel here

Northern Spice Bush

This deciduous shrub can grow up to 15 feet. It grows best in rich, well-draining soils. Like the witch hazel, the northern spice bush has the best colored foliage in fall. It gets its name from its enchanting, spicy fragrance.

Zone: 6 to 9
Sun: Full sun 
Mature Height: up to 15 feet
Water: Average 
Best for use as a hedge or privacy screen

Buy Northern Spice Bush here

Coral Red Dogwood

The coral red dogwood does not have yellow flowers or foliage. Instead, it has green foliage, white blossoms, and red berries. Best of all, it shows off bright, red stems from late fall throughout winter. This brings much-needed color to the otherwise dull winter garden.

Zone: 3 to 9
Sun: Full sun
Mature Height: up to 5 feet
Water: Average 
Best for a hedge or in winter gardens

Buy the Coral Red Dogwood shrub here


Whether you are looking to add color to a late spring garden or just want a privacy screen, the forsythia intermedia makes an excellent choice. With it being such a low-maintenance shrub, it is a great option for the novice gardener and seasoned gardener alike.

If you have any more questions about the forsythia intermedia or any other shrubs, please feel free to reach out!

Forsythia - TN Nursery


Forsythia has vibrant yellow, bell-shaped flowers that bloom profusely in early spring before their green leaves emerge, creating a striking burst of color in gardens and landscapes. It is a deciduous shrub widely appreciated for its abundant and vibrant yellow flowers that herald the arrival of spring. It offers numerous landscaping benefits, making it a popular choice for gardens and outdoor spaces. One of the primary advantages of incorporating it into landscaping is its early-blooming nature.  Make Your Yard More Yellow With The Forsythia Forsythia is unparalleled in its ability to fill yards with a profusion of golden colors. Their early-season blossoming is so abundant that it covers landscapes in a kaleidoscope of yellow hues, signaling the arrival of spring. Pollinators that emerge during the first signs of spring rely on the nectar produced by these blooms. The sight of these colorful, bell-shaped blossoms arranged so closely together along the stems is breathtaking. They can reach eight to ten feet in height and ten to 12 feet in width. Their bark is rough and gray-brown in color. They can be erect, rounded, mounded, or arching. Their branches can be straight or curved. You can plant them as focal pieces or in mass groups. Enjoy Changing-Color Leaves With This Shrub In addition to their showy yellow blossoms, they also alter their leaves with the seasons. Depending on the time of year, the leaves transition from green to yellow to purple. They stay mostly green during the summer and then transition from yellow to deep purple hues throughout late autumn, right before they fall to the ground. These plants go dormant in the winter. Enjoy Fast Growth  They, particularly the bigger types, are shrubs that grow rapidly, often reaching a height of two feet in only 12 months. Because they grow fast, they can quickly fill up empty spaces in gardens and landscaping. Their fast growth also makes them work well as natural privacy screens. You can even grow them as hedges and borders for gardens and driveways. Their rapid growth nature increases their resilience to environmental stresses as well. TN Nursery Offers Lots of Design Versatility In addition to their use as natural hedges and borders, forsythias provide a great deal of creative flexibility in terms of design. Planting them side by side along a garden path will cause them to grow inward, creating a natural archway. Some people use them to create focal points. Others use them to help with soil stabilization on sloped banks because of their deep, complex root systems that retain topsoil.

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Witch Hazel - TN Nursery

Witch Hazel

The Witch Hazel is adeciduous shrub is known for its spidery, fragrant yellow to orange-red flowers that bloom in late winter to early spring, often before its leaves emerge, making it a unique and welcome sight in gardens. Itis a versatile shrub that offers numerous benefits in landscaping beyond its well-known medicinal uses. Native to North America and parts of Asia, these deciduous shrubs are prized for their unique appearance, vibrant foliage, and striking winter blooms. When incorporated into landscape designs, this plant can bring a range of aesthetic and functional advantages that enhance outdoor spaces. Witch hazel adds interest to the landscape throughout the year. Four-Season Interest: In late winter or early spring, the shrub bursts into bloom, displaying fragrant, spidery flowers in shades of yellow, orange, and red. This early flowering period provides a much-needed splash of color when most other plants are still dormant. Additionally, Autumn's foliage turns vibrant shades of yellow, orange, and red, creating a stunning autumnal display. Natural Privacy Screen:This shrub can be an effective natural privacy screen with its dense branching and arching habit. Planted strategically along property borders or in groupings, it can shield outdoor spaces from prying eyes and create a sense of seclusion. Pollinator-Friendly:The flowers are a valuable nectar source for early-emerging pollinators, such as bees and butterflies. By attracting these beneficial insects,this shrub contributes to the overall health and biodiversity of the landscape, promoting a balanced ecosystem. Tolerance to Shade: Witch Hazel shrub thrives in partial shade to full sun, making it an excellent option for landscapes with varying light conditions. Its adaptability allows for planting in different locations, from under the canopy of more giant trees to sunnier spots in the garden. Erosion Control: The extensive root system helps stabilize the soil and prevent soil erosion, prevention on slopes or areas prone to water runoff. Low Maintenance: Once established, this is a relatively low-maintenance shrub. It is resistant to pests and diseases, requiring minimal intervention. Wildlife Attraction: Apart from pollinators, this shrub attracts other wildlife, such as birds, which feed on the seeds and seek shelter within the shrub's branches. This feature contributes to the overall biodiversity and liveliness of the landscape. Winter Interest:Distinctive, ribbon-like flowers appear in winter, adding a unique touch to the landscape during an otherwise less colorful season. These spidery blooms can withstand light frosts, offering an enchanting sight in colder climates. Versatile Uses: Beyond standalone plantings, this shrub can be incorporated into mixed borders, woodland gardens, or naturalized areas. Its adaptability allows it to blend seamlessly with other plants and design elements. In conclusion, witch hazel is valuable to any landscape design, offering four-season interest, privacy screening, pollinator support, erosion control, and low maintenance. Its unique beauty and ecological contributions make it a sought-after shrub for enhancing outdoor spaces. By incorporatingthis shrub into landscaping plans, homeowners and landscape designers can create visually appealing and ecologically friendly gardens that stand out every season. Get Yours Today From TN Nursery This green-leafed shrub blooms with bright yellow flowers between October and December. The ribbon-like yellow petals usually appear after the leaves have fallen but sometimes will appear while the oval-shaped yellow autumn leaves still cling to the branches. It also has fruits that will form from fertilized flowers. They first appear as green capsules but then turn brown over time. Its scientific name is because this shrub’s flowers, fruits, and leaves can all appear on its branches simultaneously. Hamamelis loosely translates as “together with fruit.” Its hardy nature makes it an easy-to-grow shrub. Because of this, it is trendy amongst gardeners as a shrub hedge or screen. Its fragrant flowers often lead to it being grown in an area where its pleasant scent is noticeable. It is often the last bit of color in a garden due to its late bloom. The Shrub Thrives In Most US Zones This shrub can be planted successfully in U.S.D.A. zones 3 to 9. It requires a lot of sunlight and does best in full sun or partial shade. Flowering will peak in full sun. It does well in moist, acidic soil and can handle heavy clay soil. The height increases by 13 to 24 inches yearly, giving it a slow to medium growth rate. Pruning can be done in early spring to keep the shrub from growing that large if preferred. This plant requires little maintenance to flourish and rarely has insect or disease problems. Witch hazel has a broad, rounded leaf arranged in an alternating pattern along the branches. The flowers are also noteworthy in appearance with slender petals. Some bloom in spring while others counter that, and the plant can showcase its cycle between seeding and blooming, such as the snapping hazel with seeds that split in a manner that ejects the seeds to a sufficient distance of nearly 30 feet. The sunny yellow flowers of this shrub add a glow of happiness to yards and gardens. The delightful fragrance of those flowers creates an even more cheerful atmosphere. It is so easy to care for that it is an excellent fit for even the hands-off gardeners.

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Northern Spice Bush - TN Nursery

Northern Spice Bush

Northern Spice Bush is a deciduous shrub with aromatic, green leaves, clusters of small yellow flowers, and red berries, often attracting wildlife and providing a splash of color in woodland areas. They bring many benefits when thoughtfully integrated into landscaping designs, making them a valuable and ecologically significant addition to outdoor spaces. The Northern Spice Bush is popular with gardeners and landscapers because of its pleasant scent. It's often simply referred to as the spicebush or wild allspice. Its botanical name is Lindera Benzoin, and it's part of the Laural or Lauraceae family, which includes the bay laurel, California laurel, cassia, and avocado plants. It's native to eastern North America and can be found in Maine and New York. However, it can also be found as far south as Florida and southwest into Texas and Arkansas. Characteristics of Northern Spice Bush It is revered by gardeners for its aromatic leaves and flowers, which have a distinct scent when crushed. This deciduous shrub typically grows up to 15 feet tall and wide but can sometimes reach heights of 20 feet. Gardeners can expect it to develop flowers from March through May and produce red berries from late summer through October. The leaves are green in the summer and change color in the fall. The leaves typically reach lengths of between two and six inches. Attracting Wildlife with The Shrub Gardeners who are looking to spice up their wildlife viewing opportunities will love planting them. This shrub is known to attract all manner of birds, bees, and small mammals. The bees are attracted to the flowers, and birds, especially the very wood thrush, are drawn to its berries. This shrub also attracts squirrels and butterflies. Best Spots to Place The Shrub in Your Yard Since the shrub can grow up to 15 feet high and wide, it's best to plant it in open areas. It looks best as the focal point of a shade garden or rain garden or along the perimeter of front and backyards. Fantastic Companion Plants At TN Nursery The shrub can be successfully planted next to several types of perennials, including grape hyacinth and monkshood. Gardeners can plant blue spruce and deep green hemlock next to Lindera Benzoin, and the shrub does well around dogwood and red vein dianthus. The shrub is a great plant for most gardens. It thrives next to other trees and shrubs and makes a statement with its signature scent.

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