Content Detail

White-forsythia is a small shrub with a rounded to arching habit that is great for specimen planting. Its fragrant, white flowers bloom in early spring. This early bloomer is spectacular in spring, but offers very little seasonal beauty through the rest of the year. Prune it after flowering to promote new stem growth and a fuller plant.  

  • Family (English) Olive
  • Family (botanic) Oleaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Small shrub (3-5 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest early spring
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, White
  • Shape or form Arching, Multi-stemmed, Round
  • Growth rate Fast, Moderate

Native geographic location and habitat:

White-forsythia is native to central Korea where it grows on hillsides.

Bark color and texture: 

The young stems are light brown, while older stems take on a shredded appearance.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

The simple leaves are arranged in pairs (opposite). They are oval and 2 to 3 inches long with smooth edges. The leaves are green in summer, with no significant fall color.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

White, four-petaled flowers are held in elongated clusters.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

The small, dry, winged capsule is not ornamentally important.

Plant care:

The 3 to 5 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide plant does best in full sun in well-drained soil. Prune it every three to four years after flowering to promote new stem growth and encourage a fuller, tidier plant. It can be cut to the ground to rejuvenate it. 

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

This plant has no serious diseases or pests.


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