Forsythia are fun to propagate, and you can easily grow several more plants from an existing mature hedge.
The best time to propagate forsythia is June and July, when the plant produces vigorous new shoots. Forsythia can be propagate from soft wood cuttings. Look for a new flush of growth among the branches, and choose your cuttings carefully, seeking healthy, vigorous branches.
Clean your pruning shears with alcohol and take several cuttings from among this new growth. Each branch should be at least four to six inches long. Strip off the leaves or pick off the leaves on the lower half of the cutting. Dip the end into rooting hormone, then place the end with the rooting hormone into a pot of rooting medium. You can also use perlite. Several cuttings can be rooted at once in a flat or tray, or use small pots for your propagation experiment.
After inserting the cut end into the pot, firm the soil with your fingers and water it well. Use a clear plastic bag, such as a bag from the produce department of the supermarket, to cover the top of the tray or pot like a dome. This creates a sort of miniature greenhouse to keep the cuttings moist and the humidity high.
Place the covered forsythia cuttings in a bright, sunny spot, but not in direct sunlight. Within six to eight weeks, the cuttings should root, and you’ll see new leaves begin to emerge. At this stage, transfer them to larger containers with sterile potting soil, and continue to nurture them along. Plant them in the fall so that they get a head start on root development for the following spring.
Propagating via Layering
Another popular method of propagating forsythia is through a process called layering. Many plants such as lavender and forsythia develop new roots along the woody stems when the stems touch the ground. You can help this natural habit along and grow a forsythia hedge by using simple layering techniques.
To grow a new forsythia plant by layering, follow these steps:
Use a mature, healthy forsythia plant as the parent plant. It should have at least one long cane on the side where you wish to grow the new shrub. The cane should naturally reach the ground.
Layering can be done in the early spring while the plant is dormant or during the late fall.
Bend the brand to the ground. A sharp bend tends to help the plant root more easily.
Use a U-shaped landscape staple, the kind use to affix landscape fabric to the ground, or make a U-shaped bracket by cutting a piece of wire from a coat hanger and bending it into shape. Use the bracket to affix the middle of the flexible branch to the ground.
Cover the portion of the branch touching the ground with soil. You may also wish to use a clean, sterilize knife to make a little wound or two under the side of the branch touching the ground.
That’s it. Just water it well, and look for new growth near the bend. New growth usually indicates a separate shrub has grown at the bend.
You can leave the new plant where it is, or transplant it once it has grown several sets of leaves.
Maybe do leave it in water, as it seems now, that'll give you the best chance.
These root easy and I loved mine till death!
This is a trunk with movement and taper you don't Reggie find in Forsythia.
Sure ain't gonna waste time.
Definitely worth the minimal effort.
If it roots, rather than just throw it in soil...
I always had a in situ conversion plan you could use....
Put large lava like rocks on the bottom, standard white rock next, pebbles, then once it start rooting, just leave it in there, start slowly adding bonsai mix and allowing the water to stay below the big rocks till your watering it just like a regular tree minus drain holes ....
This was a thought in response to "water roots are different".....
And in an effort of less confusion .
When the folks lived in the area, every year late winter a vase was filled with branches from the forsythia in the back yard. They would bloom, and about a third of them would start to produce roots just sitting in the water of the vase. Once roots were started in water, I'd pot them up, and kept several going for a number of years.
While this is not the ideal time to root cuttings, there is no reason not to try. The detailed methods Darlene gave you are based on nursery techniques where they want 90% success or better because the cuttings are paying the mortgage. If you can tolerate a maybe it will, maybe it won't, just keep it in water.
You can also pot it up in an organic mix.
Another technique I have used, but not for forsythia, is fill a pot with moist, but not dripping wet long fiber sphagnum moss, New Zealand or Chilean origin (higher phenolic content of moss from these sources prevents bacterial & fungal rots). Stick the cutting into the moss. Then put the pot, with the cuttings in a large clear or translucent plastic bag. Close the bag up tight, set in bright shade and check it once a week. If it roots you the cutting will feel firm when you try to wiggle it. Should root within 2 months, maybe a little longer because your's is older with developed bark. Once it roots, you can open up the bag, or just take it out of the bag, but don't disturb the roots. You don't want to repot right away.
Oh, for forsythia, if you do the ''Bag & Sphag" method, pinch, pluck or cut off all the flower buds before they open. In the bag the flowers will rot quickly and any rot that gets started might spread. So pick off flower buds before you seal up the bag.
When it is time to repot, often the next year - it is a pain to remove the sphagnum, don't worry, you don't have to get rid of all of it, it won't hurt to leave some. I do use a pot big enough that I don't have to disturb the roots until the following year.
Hello guys, thanks so much for all the advice! @Cadillactaste thanks for all the time you put in in finding the info. I actually scoured the web before posting and found a lot of what you posted but nothing about mature hardwood cutting. Nothing at all either infirming or confirming that they'll root.
I'll keep it for the moment, maybe I get super lucky. If it doesn't happen, at least I won't be dissapointed. @sorce: sounds like a plan if the thing actually surprises me and roots. @Leo in N E Illinois: a tousand thanks for the sugestion. Put a bag over it after you sugested it but did't have time to check in.
A week into it, the cambium around the base is still nice and green so I'm taking it as a good sign.
Since it costs nothing, I'll keep it till it either sinks or swims because I haven't seen anything resembling trunk character of forsythia in my area at all. So this damned stick that they cut off without a second thought would be amazing if it rooted.
Keep you posted.
Take your normal bonsai gravel, unless it is fall-apart-akadama.
Plant the stump in there.
Sink the whole thing in a bucket of water. As you start to see new growth, stop filling up the container. The plant will drain the water and the roots will naturally harden from waterroots to real roots.
Thanks for the update...was curious. Good luck with your next technique. They root so easily while in the ground on their own roots...and a branch lays on the ground. So air layering should be an easy task.