Your thoughts on the dwarf Forsythia

aachenelf z5 MplsApril 16, 2013

This was mentioned in another thread, so I thought I would start something separate.

While perusing my garden catalogs this past winter I came across (and ordered) a smaller growing Forsythia - 'Show Off Sugar Baby' - in the Bluestone catalog. At 18-30 inches I thought this would work better in my smaller garden than the standard sized monsters which I did try once and removed after a few years because of the size.

When I received my Forest Farm catalog, I discovered they list a whole bunch of Forsythia that grow even smaller.

Arnold's Dwarf - a mounding groundcover
Citrus Swizzle - 3x3 feet after 10 years
Gold Tide - 2 feet
viridissima 'Klein' - 1-2 feet and reblooms in the fall

So, does anyone have any experience with these? I've held off on ordering any of the above, but if they are worthwhile I just have to.


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BlueBirdPeony(5b NE Ohio)

No experience, but I think they are beautiful. I have three full sized and I love them. It lifts me up in the spring to see those yellow blooms. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 8:15PM
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wynswrld98(z7 WA)

I am over the full-size Forsythias, they do become monsters and pruning isn't realistic, you end up losing the blooms if you try to keep them smaller. And I'm on an acre but they still overpower the many other things I like to grow.

I planted a couple of small Gold Tides (like 6-8" tall) last summer, they got a tiny bit of blooming this spring and are leafed out nicely right now so all good so far, not surprised hardly any blooms because they are really tiny.

I bought a few Show Off Sugar Baby Forsythia (gallon-sized) this early spring, they weren't blooming when I received them but boy are they blooming now, plants are about 1' tall and love shade of yellow they have.

I also bought a Show Off Starlet (grows a bit larger than Sugar Baby), gallon-size about 1' tall, not much blooming but starting to leaf out.

BTW I bought the plants at Sooner Plant Farms (online), highly recommend them, plants are in A+ condition, great branching and nice size vs. tiny plants from some other places. You pay a bit more but you get way more IMO.

I have always loved Forsythia and am so glad there are options for dwarf ones.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 12:16AM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Thanks so much for the detail on how these have done for you. I was hoping the smaller sized didn't mean a compromise on the blooming potential and it looks like it doesn't.

I'm still very curious about the viridissima 'Klein', but I must also admit I don't think I would like to see a Forsythia blooming in the fall. Just a little bit too odd. Lord, I hope no one ever develops a reblooming tulip.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 11:48AM
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I purchased a Show Off Sugar Baby last year from Garden Harvest Supply. The plant was healthy but very big. It did well over the summer, even with the nasty June into July drought and high heat.

This year, it is a mass of yellow flowers from dirt line to tips of the branches. I'm completely sold on it. I really was looking forward to the spring color from a forsythia but did not want to constantly have to prune or trim. I like the way untrimmed forsythia bushes look when in bloom.

I love my Sugar Baby and can highly recommend it!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 3:01PM
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but I must also admit I don't think I would like to see a Forsythia blooming in the fall. Just a little bit too odd. Lord, I hope no one ever develops a reblooming tulip.

This reminds of the kerfuffle a few years ago surrounding what was advertised as the ever blooming lilac ("Bloomerang"). (But for those of us that have it we see that it is much more like monthly flowering).

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 9:36AM
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Kevin, I also see at my nursery a compact variety called "Golden Peep".

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 9:56AM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Well, as long as there seem to be some Forsythia enthusiasts out here, has anyone tried the shrub commonly referred to as the Pink Forsythia (Abeliophyllum distichum 'Roseum')? I realize it isn't a true Forsythia, but has a similar bloom time and appearance. There's also a white variety.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 10:22AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

This has been an interesting thread. I wasn't aware that there was such a thing as dwarf forsythia. I have two huge old forsythias on my property - well, actually one, now, since I took out the first one last year, and I plan on taking out the second this season as well. I also started a third one with cuttings a few years back that I now regret (bad placement) and I'll be taking that one out too.

But the reason I am removing them isn't so much that I dislike them - forsythia is always a welcome sight in the spring, for me at least, no matter how common it may be. The reason for removal is that they just get too darn big and messy.

So I am happy to learn about these newer dwarf varieties. I'll have to look into one of them. Thanks Kevin and everyone else for bringing them to my attention!


    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 11:35AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I love the trend of grower's working on smaller and dwarf shrubs. They mix into perennial borders much better and with smaller gardens they are better too. With plants such as Forsythia which really only have one season of interest, a smaller plant is easier to mix in the rest of the year too though I have seen one with very interesting variegated foliage but it was too big of a grower for me.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 10:52AM
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Do any of them grow with the fountain shape of the full sized forsythia, just on a smaller scale? One of the things I love about full-sized forsythia is the shape of the plants and so far I haven't seen a dwarf that has a similar shape.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 12:33PM
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