Mark A. Miller
FORSYTHIA x intermedia 'Sunrise'
Plant Common Name
Border Forsythia, Sunrise Border Forsythia
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.
AHS Heat Zone
9 - 6
USDA Hardiness Zone
6 - 9
A2, A3, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19
Full Sun, Partial Sun
5'-6' / 1.5m - 1.8m
6'-8' / 1.8m - 2.4m
Early Spring, Late Winter
Cutflower, Feature Plant, Hedges, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break
Sharp or Has Thorns