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FORSYTHIA x intermedia 'Sunrise'

Image of Forsythia x intermedia 'Sunrise'

Mark A. Miller

Family

Oleaceae

Botanical Name

FORSYTHIA x intermedia 'Sunrise'

Plant Common Name

Border Forsythia, Sunrise Border Forsythia

General Description

This medium sized, bushy border forsythia bears especially bright yellow flowers in spring. It is a vigorous shrub that was bred at Iowa State University.

Nothing helps reign in spring like a bountiful arrangement of forced forsythia branches. This tried and true spring-flowering deciduous shrub is known by all and loved by many. Its cheerful bright yellow blooms appear before the foliage unfolds and are some of the first to appear. In fact, the early blooms often open too early and are damaged by frost. Forsythia x intermedia is the most popular hybrid in commerce and is a cross between the two Asian species Forsythia suspensa and F. viridissima.

When mature, this large deciduous shrub develops an arching, fountain-like habit. It bears an abundance of bright yellow flowers that have four prominent petals. The blooms appear in late winter or early spring, depending on the temperature. The flowers are quick to appear in warm weather, which makes them susceptable to damage during untimely warm spells. Its medium-green leaves are thin, plain and unassuming. They can develop purple hues before they drop in the fall but otherwise offer little in terms of visual interest. There are numerous cultivars available that vary in size and habit as well as flower size and shade.

Forsythia is very easy to grow. It grows best in full to partial sun and will tolerate a wide range of well-drained soil types. It is hardy to USDA zone 4, but the flower buds are only reliably hardy to zone 6. Prune judiciously to preserve its lovely arching habit. Forsythia has many landscape applications. It works well as a specimen plant, in informal hedges or massed in swaths across large open landscapes. Late in the winter, while still in bud, its branches may be cut, placed in a vase of water and forced indoors. The buds usually take a week or so to open.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 6

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    6 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    A2, A3, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    5'-6' / 1.5m - 1.8m

  • Width

    6'-8' / 1.8m - 2.4m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Hybrid Origin

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Tolerances

    Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Arching/Fountain-shaped

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Purple, Yellow Green

  • Bark Color

    Yellow Green, Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Cutflower, Feature Plant, Hedges, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No