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How to Propagate Forsythia Step by Step

Forsythia plants, also commonly known as “Golden Bell” because of their golden-yellow foliage, remarkably brighten the landscape. This deciduous shrub is excellent for use as hedges or borders in garden arrangements. Plants can be propagated from cuttings or through soil layering. It is best to layer in the spring or early summer when active growth is at its peak. Below is a guide on how to propagate forsythia.

Identify a Mature Forsythia Plant

For root propagation, you will need to identify a mature, well-established forsythia with budding tips. If overlapping roots, select a mature plant that has branches close to the ground to allow for bending and burying of branches. Identify healthy plant tips that are 5 to 8 inches long.

How to Propagate Forsythia: Cutting and Layering

Cut approximately 5 inches from the tip. Make sure each tip has about 4 buds. To stratify, cut off the side shoots and leaves with scissors. Scrape off the top layer of the stem with a budding knife to expose the cambium layer. Roots will develop from this area.

forsythia flowers

Root Hormone

Dip the cuttings in a little root hormone for a few seconds, then remove them for planting. The root hormone will encourage healthy root development.

Site Location Forsythia

Forsythia is tolerant of various soils. They require adequate sunlight, so select an area of the garden that receives full sun. The plant will tolerate some shade, although too much will prevent the flowers from fully developing. The site should have adequate space because the plants can reach 8 feet tall and spread up to 6 feet wide.

Site Preparation

Add some organic matter to the soil and mix well. Organic matter is beneficial for root growth and will help young plants get established faster.

propagate forsythia

How to Propagate Forsythia: Planting

Insert cuttings about a third of the way into the soil and mound the soil around them for stability. Apply water and be sure to water regularly so that the soil remains consistently moist. Avoid letting the soil dry out. This will weaken the plants and hinder proper root development.

When layering, create a narrow trench in the soil and place the stem inside, then cover with soil. After you have buried the stem, place a brick or stick next to it to keep it firmly enclosed in the soil. Rooting will take about 3 months. Once roots are established, cut the stem from the mother forsythia and plant elsewhere in a site of your choice.

How to Propagate Forsythia: Mulching

It is a good idea to mulch the cuttings. This will help conserve vital soil moisture. Mulching also restricts weed growth. Roots should develop in 6 to 8 weeks. Once they are well established, it is safe to transplant the forsythia to another site.

forsythia flower

About Henry Morgan

Henry Morgan is an agronomist horticulture founder of The Garden Style Company and The Garden Style Website. He previously worked for Mondelēz International as an Agronomist Engineer specializing in agricultural products management in highly populated areas. In 2000, Henry started working with farmer-producers in agricultural businesses selling wholesale fresh produce and retail plants in Van Buren, Arkansas. Nowadays, Henry lives in California, where he offers expert consulting services for organic vegetable gardening. As a science writer working with his wife, Julia, Henry shares his passion for gardening and farming, trying to reach and teach as many folks as possible.

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