Young Forsythia Not Blooming


A forsythia bush I planted last September is not blooming. It is planted in a full sun part of my yard. When I carefully open the buds some are green on the inside and some are dry and fall off. There is one small leaf open at the bottom of the plant. I live in Belleville ON, I don’t think the winter was too harsh. All the other forsythias in the neighborhood seem to be blooming.


There are many reasons why a Forsythia may not bloom; see the list below:

  1. Winter kill / late spring frost – this will affect tender buds that are not winter hardy.
  2. Improper Pruning – flowering is done on old growth so if pruning was done in the late summer / fall / winter, the flower buds are cut off.
  3. Lack of sunlight – this plant does best with roughly 6 hours of sunlight.
  4. Too much Nitrogen fertilizer – this will cause vegetative growth at the expense of flowering.  This excess food may be from a nearby lawn or other source but can be remedied by adding Phosphorus (bone meal) to the soil around the shrub.
  5. Lack of moisture – if plant didn’t get enough moisture in the late fall, winter and early spring, plant may be under stress.
  6. Transplant shock – a new nursery plant or a moved plant can suffer root damage which can lead to stress.

In your case, I would suggest that numbers 1, 5 & 6 may be the cause of the non-flowering.  They tie in together with a newly planted shrub.  Your best bet is to sprinkle some bone meal on the soil around the plant, add a 2 inch layer of mulch (keeping it away from the shrub trunk), and water it consistently from now until freeze up in the fall.  If you need to prune it back, do so when you see the other Forsythias in your neighbourhood have just finished blooming, no later.

Once your new shrub becomes more established, it will bloom beautifully for you.