The Ashridge Nurseries Blog

Flowering Forsythia in February - Unless you Clipped in Winter!

All over the country, yellow star shaped flowers are lighting up in streamers along the upright, arching branches of Forsythia in gardens and hedgerows.

The most popular garden variety is Forsythia x intermedia Spectabilis. It can be grown as a dense, functional hedge plant, a sinuous small tree or pruned into a vigorous shrub.

But you might well see many Forsythia hedges looking quite sad right now, with lots of bushy, bare twigs and few flowers.

These sparsely decorated hedges were trimmed in winter - this was bit of a mistake, because most of the maturing flower buds got chopped off.

Winter is a fine time to trim a hedge from the plant's point of view, but because you also want to admire the flowers of Forsythia, you have to trim it soon after it flowers in spring or early summer.

It's good to be rough with this trim: Try to cut off all of the parts of the stems that had flowers on them, ideally cutting back to nice bud or side shoot.

This will encourage lots of new growth, which have close to a year to mature and then flower.
You can tidy up vigorous shoots in August and even take a little off all over if you enjoy a really neat looking hedge without affecting the flowers much, but I prefer to just leave it be.

Forsythias come from China; they were brought here by a great-grandfather of Bruce Forsyth.
The Forsythia intermedia hyrid was first crossed in Germany in the 1870's.

The pictures above were taken on the same day in Bristol and all the plants were in sunny locations.

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