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Forsythia is one of the most important indicator plants in the phenological calendar. Its golden-yellow blossom heralds the first spring. At this time you can expect significantly less frost. Here you can find out everything you need to know about the forsythia blossom.

In a nutshell

  • Forsythia flowers in early spring
  • phenological indicator plant
  • Date dependent on region
  • Late frosts are harmful

Forsythia: flowering time

The flowers of the genus Forsythia are among the impressive flowering shrubs that herald the first days of spring. The heyday of the golden lilac extends over a long period of time:

  • Start: beginning of March (rarely earlier)
  • End: mid-May (rarely later)

This period makes it so important as a phenological indicator plant. The flowering of forsythia marks the beginning of a new period in the phenological calendar. The first spring is especially important for gardeners because certain tasks have to be completed in the garden. When the forsythia blooms, roses, for example, are cut.

Region-specific heydays

A special feature of the forsythia flower is its dependence on the region. The weather and climate in the respective region determine when the forsythia blooms in the given time frame. Examples for clarification:

  • Southern Germany or Rhineland: beginning of March (rarely end of February)
  • Northern Germany: late March or early April
  • Finland: mid-May
  • France: early March

As you can see, the flowers appear at different times. You should keep this in mind when cultivating. You also have to consider the weather factor. For example, if the winter is milder or colder than usual, the flowers appear a few days later or earlier.

Notice: Compared to willows (Salix), forsythia does not provide food for pollinators such as bees. They are therefore unsuitable as bee pasture in spring, despite their abundance of flowers.

Flowers not frost-resistant

However, the flowering time of forsythia has a major disadvantage: the golden yellow splendor is susceptible to frost. Regardless of their variety, forsythia lose their flowers when sudden late frosts occur. Within a few days the flowers will die off and you will have to wait until next year for new ones to form. For this reason, it is not always possible to say with certainty whether forsythia flowering is safe. If you live in a region that often struggles with late frosts, you should reconsider planting a lilac.

Notice: Unfortunately, winter protection for the flowers is not effective in late frosts. This is even the case with potted plants, since only the planter is packed.

frequently asked Questions

What exactly is a phenological indicator plant?

These are special species that bloom or lose their foliage at a certain time of the year. Through these processes, the gardener is guided by nature and uses them to carry out certain gardening tasks, such as sowing biennial plants.

What is it about pruning roses when the forsythia blossoms?

When the forsythia blooms, it's time for spring pruning. Since gold lilac only blooms when it is warm enough, frost damage to the freshly cut roses rarely occurs. However, make sure that flowering occurs suspiciously early. In this case, late frosts can follow, which also severely affect the rose.

What is the reason for a failed flower?

If there are no late frosts, but the golden lilac does not present itself in yellow flowers, it was probably pruned incorrectly. If they are cut before flowering or if older shoots from the previous year are removed, flowering will be severely inhibited. The best time to prune is right after flowering, when they have turned brown.

How is climate change affecting the forsythia flowering season?

Due to the rising temperatures, the forsythia flowering time can be pushed back a little further into the year. According to the NRD (source:,phaenologie102.html), for example, Goldilocks often blooms in northern Germany as early as the end of March , no longer mid-April. This development visibly upsets the phenological calendar.

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