Forsythia ovata
Common Name: Korean forsythia
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Oleaceae
Native Range: Korea
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 4.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 5.00 to 7.00 feet
Bloom Time: February to April
Bloom Description: Amber yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil, Black Walnut

Culture

Easily grown in loose, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best flower production occurs in full sun. Tolerates a wide variety of soils. Moderate drought tolerance once established. Shrubs are vegetatively winter hardy to USDA Zones 4-7. This species of forsythia is considered to have excellent flower bud hardiness (typically blooms after buds have survived winter temperatures dipping to as much as -25 degrees F.).

Noteworthy Characteristics

Forsythia ovate, commonly called early forsythia or Korean forsythia, is a compact, bushy, early-flowering, deciduous shrub that typically matures to 4-5’ tall with a spread to 5-7’ wide. It is native to Korea. Ovate to broad-ovate dark green leaves (each to 3 1/2” long) usually have serrate margins. Small, mostly solitary, amber yellow flowers (each to 3/ 4” wide) are probably the earliest blooming (late February to April) of the various species of forsythia. This shrub is particularly noted for its (a) flower bud hardiness and (b) early bloom time.

Ornamentally, this is an unexceptional shrub. It is easy to grow in the landscape and is generally free of serious pests, but features small flowers, non-showy foliage, absence of attractive fruit, and no bright fall colors. Although often described as a harbinger of spring because its flowers bloom at a time when little else in the landscape is in bloom, it is also often described as a one-season wonder because it typically fades into the landscape after bloom.

Genus name honors William Forsyth (1737-1804), Scottish superintendent of the Royal Gardens of Kensington Palace and author, among other works, of A Treatise on the Culture and Management of Fruit Trees which in its day was probably the most widely read work on the subject.

Specific epithet is in obvious reference to its ovate leaves.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to leaf spot, crown gall and dieback. Watch for spider mites, aphids, four-lined plant bug, Japanese weevil and northern root-knot nematode.

Garden Uses

Mass on banks or slopes. Sunny areas of open woodland gardens. Cottage gardens. Hedges.