Growing a Forsythia from Seeds

What You'll Need
Healthy forsythia seeds
Peat moss, manure or compost
Spray bottle
Germination tray

Forsythia are generally grown from cuttings but you can also propagate from forsythia seeds. The brightly colored yellow-golden shrub is widely recognized across America as a sure sign that spring has arrived. You can plant the seeds indoors or outdoors. Seeds can be obtained from a garden center. You can also gather seeds from a mature forsythia plant. Indoor planting will require pots or a germination tray. If you choose to plant outdoors, it is best to set up a nursery bed. Below is a guide to help you grow your forsythia from seeds.

Step 1 - Prepare Site

For indoor planting, prepare the containers or germination tray. It is best to use well-drained soils of average fertility. Soil acidity should not exceed ph 5.0. Sandy loam soils are the most ideal for planting forsythia seeds. Fill your containers with soil and mix in some peat moss, compost or manure. Place adequate soil up to about half an inch from the top. Press the soil down lightly to secure in place. Avoid firm pressure on the soil as this can hinder germination. For outdoors planting, select a site that receives some sunlight for at least 4 hours during the day. Some shade should also be available, ideally from a tree or hedge. In the absence of trees, you can also put up a shade or canopy. This will protect the young seedlings from heavy rains and scorching sun. Mix some manure into the soil before you plant.

Step 2 - Sowing Seeds

You can plant the seeds indoors at just about any time of the year. This is because you have the benefit of a regulated environment indoors. The best time to sow seeds in the nursery bed is in the spring after the last frost. For seeds planted indoors, place just a few in each container or compartment of the germination tray. Select the most sturdy seedlings after germination for transplanting. If planting outdoors, place seeds no more than half an inch into the soil. Do not bury them deeply as they may rot and seed germination will be prevented.  

Step 3 - Watering

Put water in a spray bottle and spray the seed beds lightly. Apply water twice a week during the first 8 weeks. Thereafter, you can water once weekly. It is important that the soil is consistently moist but not wet. Avoid creating wet soil conditions as this will overwhelm the seeds. They are likely to be suffocated and rot.

Tips for Care

  • For indoors planting, place the germination tray or pots in a warm, humid place. Make sure the site receives plenty of natural light. However, do not place in a full sunlight area. Once the seeds sprout, move into a direct sunlight area.
  • Cover the germination tray with a perforated plastic lid to allow breathing. Keep the tray covered except when spraying water.
  • Do not allow the soils to dry out as seed germination may be disrupted.