Why hasn’t my Forsythia not flowered the last three years?


My Forsythia has not flowered for the last three years. Does it need special fertilizer? Some say that I might have pruned it back too much and now has just a few flowers at the bottom. It gets full sun. It has good leaves all summer. There are no pests visible. 


Jonathan Foster, Home Horticulture Outreach Professional

It’s great news that your forsythias flush out healthy leaves and look good all season.

There are a couple of reasons why your plants may not be blooming, and pruning is a strong possibility, depending on how you did it. Forsythia sets flower buds for the current season the previous summer, so if you do any pruning from mid-summer onward, you are likely removing the next season’s flower buds. You should aim to do any pruning you need to immediately after they finish blooming for the season. The exception to this would be an unruly and overgrown shrub that needs to be rejuvenated, in which case you could do it during the dormant season knowing you were trading a showy year for better health of the plant. Please take a look at our UMaine Cooperative Extension Bulletin #2513, Pruning Forsythia in Maine, for more information on how to do the pruning. If you’ve been pruning aggressively, let them rest this year and next spring should bring stronger flowering.

One other possibility is the fact that we have had late frosts the last couple of seasons, and those can certainly impact flowering if the nascent flower bids grow active and then crisp under unexpected freezing temperatures. You’re in a more moderate part of the state, so this may not be as big an element as farther north, but it is something to consider.

Good luck and happy gardening.