I have several 20 year old Forsythia bushes (14) about 1/2 are not blooming,...

Asked April 1, 2020, 12:49 PM EDT

I have several 20 year old Forsythia bushes (14) about 1/2 are not blooming, and haven't for 2 years. I've cut them back to 8 inches and they continue to grow sending out new growth but no or few blooms. Is there anything I can do to encourage blooms for next year. Or do I need to dig them out? Everything has a beginning, middle and an end?

Hamilton County Ohio

1 Response

The lack of flowering may have something to do with when you prune them. According to the Chicago Botanical Garden (https://www.chicagobotanic.org/plantinfo/forsythia) - Forsythia develops next year’s flowers on this year’s branches. Pruning should be done right after the shrub is finished flowering. If you wait too long, you’ll remove the buds and the flower show for next spring. Plants that are overgrown or have many dead stems can be pruned heavily by removing all the branches to about 8 inches above the soil. This can be done in early spring; flowering will take place the following year. To keep the plant looking good, prune 1/3 of the oldest canes at ground level immediately after flowering.

Overgrown plants can be severely cut back to within 3 to 4 inches of the ground in late winter or early spring and should regrow quickly to bloom within two years. Additional information on forsythia can be found at this link: https://wimastergardener.org/article/forsythia-forsythia-spp/ .