Starting a Forsythia From a Cutting?

February 17, 2018

When rooting a forsythia cutting in water, how many roots do you need before planting it in the ground?



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February 17, 20182 found this helpful
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It is best to have a quite a few roots on the branch before you plant it. I normally root my plants in the florist foam that they use in flowers. This way the roots grow into the foam and when you plant this in the pot it helps to support the roots and the plants seem to grow better.

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February 18, 20182 found this helpful
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I would wait until I have a good cluster of roots before planting it in soil. Be sure and change the water often.

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March 31, 2021

I purchased a dozen forsythia branches in the plant section of a local grocery store. They had been placed in a pail of water, and the instructions state that they could be rooted in water. They're about 4 foot tall, have barely any buds on the bottom of the branch, and there's no sign of a root as yet. I wonder if I should cut off a portion of the branch from the bottom so that the water can more easily get to the top of the branch where there are many more buds. If so, can you recommend how much I should cut off? Also, approximately how long before I see a sign of a root?

Thank you so much for considering my question.


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March 31, 20210 found this helpful
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Four foot may be too long for cuttings as it is usually recommended that cuttings be 4-12 inches long according to the type of wood and when you are propagating.


Maybe they meant for you to make several cuttings from each section? Usually they include a sheet of paper showing how to plant the cuttings - that would have been helpful.

I would say to cut your branches into shorter pieces (cut under a node) and trim any leaves from bottom part so nothing but the stem is in water. It is recommended to place stems in water where they are not touching each other.

"For hardwood cuttings, the mature, dormant growth from the previous season is used for propagation. The cutting should be 8 to 12 inches long from a straight stem and the selection should be made with an angled cut at the base.
There should be about three nodes within the section you cut."

As a general rule it is recommend to start cuttings in soil instead of water.


Maybe you would like to start some cuttings in pots as well as water since the plants rooted in water will still have to planted in pots or in the ground.
Check out some suggestions:

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April 5, 20211 found this helpful
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Forsythia is one of the easiest of all shrubs to grow from cuttings but branches of this length should be cut into pieces - cuttings, about 6-8 inches in size. It is strange that it was not written in the instructions. Perhaps you had instructions for rooting the cuttings, not the branches.


4 foot tall branches are very long for rooting in water. I doubt that branches that tall will take root. I don't know how long you have kept them in water, but I think it's not too late to cut them into cuttings and root them.
Rooting in water is good for the winter.
Here are some tips for rooting cuttings in water:
- If the cuttings were harvested in the fall, and they began to root in the spring, it is first necessary to immerse the lower parts of the cuttings in water for several hours, then cut off the dry part to live wood, and only then put it in water for germination.
- Do not put too many cuttings in one container. It is better to distribute them so that there are 2-3 cuttings for every 200 milliliters of water.
- Use opaque containers. Roots form better in dark bottles and jars.
- The water in the container (and the water that is added there) should be at room temperature, in no case cold.

- Do not pour too much water into the container. The higher the water level, the more likely the cuttings will rot.
- Add root-forming preparations, phosphorus-potassium fertilizers to the water.
- If the cuttings were harvested in the fall and do not have leaves, keep the containers in the dark. If they have at least part of a leaf, then in the light.
- Do not change the water in the container, but top up if necessary. Changing water for cuttings is a lot of stress.
- From time to time, carry out aeration of the water in the jar. This procedure avoids rotting of the lower part of the cuttings.

In the spring, you can root the cuttings in the ground. For example, dig a groove, sprinkle it with water, wait for the water to soak in, plant the cuttings about 4 inches deep in the ground, and 2-3 inches apart. Water the soil regularly. If there are spring frosts in your area, cover the cuttings during the frost.


The first leaves should appear in about a month. This will indicate that forsythia has taken root.

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April 4, 2018

I have a forsythia hedge in the back of the yard and I'd like to start one in the side yard. I plan on growing them from cuttings off my existing plant.

How long will it take to establish a hedge row?


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April 4, 20180 found this helpful
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They grow up to 24 inches a year. You can just put the cuttings in the ground and they will grow.

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March 29, 2011

I heard you can take a forsythia branch and it will take root in a bucket of water. I would like to have this bush in my yard. Can it be done this way to start the root process?

By Susan from Catonsville, MD


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March 30, 20114 found this helpful

Yes, you can start forsythia in a glass of water. It's best to use water that is not chlorinated. Do you have any creek water or well water available? Once the roots are established, and just before planting dip the roots into root hormone which can be bought at Walmart in the lawn/garden dept. It's a white powder and be careful not to have any breeze blow this powder near your face and wash hands after use.
Have fun....

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April 2, 20110 found this helpful

In our area at least, Oklahoma, tiny little plants come up each year beneath the Forsythia bush. My
husband cuts them off or we dig them up and give away to others.

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April 2, 20111 found this helpful

Yes, you can pick some branches and enjoy the yellow flowers, then the flowers will fall off and green leaves will appear. Keep water in the vase and roots will start. When there are enough roots on each stem, they can be planted.

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February 15, 20180 found this helpful

You can use distilled water.

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February 15, 20180 found this helpful

Been rooting a branch over the winter in distilled water. Checked it today (2/15/18) and found a long root growing from the side of the plant. I assumed the roots would be at the bottom. There is a tiny (second) root as well. How many root do you need before planting into the ground?

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June 2, 2007

I have these bushes at work and would like to make a hedge using them. Can I root them to do so?

Hardiness Zone: 7a

Helen from Baltimore MD


June 10, 20070 found this helpful

A friend of mine started a hedge with cuttings from our Forsythia. She just stuck them in the groound, no rooting in water, and they took off & she has a beautiful hedge all around the back of her property.

Trish in CT

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June 11, 20070 found this helpful

its not forstyia, its just a green hedge that is quite nice does anyone know how to root it or what it is called?

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April 4, 20161 found this helpful

My grandfather had a hedge all my life, my mom cut stems off and stuck them straight into the ground and later a full hedge, still growing. for a while it looks like little sticks down the length of the yard.

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May 6, 20190 found this helpful

It could be privet. A fast growing hedge. They sometimes get small flowers on them

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May 29, 2012

I would like to start more lilac bushes and forsythia bushes. Can it be done successfully? Also a friend has a large rhododendron that they don't want. We want to move it to our house. What's the best way and the best time?



June 4, 20120 found this helpful

Bend forsythia branches to the ground and cover with soil. Water often. Roots will form and then you can cut it from the mother plant and transplant. I've also started them from cuttings placed in water and put out of the sun till rooted. Dig up baby lilac bushes that come up close to the mother plant and move to desired spot.

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