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Confused Forsythia Blooms in the Fall Instead of Spring

My forsythia seems to be blooming now, in the fall. How is that possible, since this is a spring-blooming shrub?

forsythia flowers

Answer: Forsythias are beautiful blooming shrubs bursting with vibrant yellow blooms that cover the bare branches in a spectacular display of radiant color in early spring. Many forsythia growers will take the bright yellow blooms as a signal that spring season has begun. So what do you do when your spring-blooming shrub goes rogue and starts to bloom in fall?

Forsythias, and many other traditionally spring-blooming plants, can flower in fall when their normal growing season of later spring and summer puts them under stress—such as extreme weather conditions of heat and/or drought. This stress can cause plants’ growth to slow or even stop. Once fall approaches and the weather begins to cool and regulate, the outdoor conditions might trick the plants into "thinking" it is time to flower.

The good news with fall flowers is that it usually is not a full bloom and the buds that do blossom should not cause permanent damage to your plants. However, the buds that bloomed in fall will not bloom again in spring. Thus the spring show may not be as vigorous as in years past.

Although you can’t prevent harsh weather conditions, you can help to keep your plants from becoming stressed. Just make sure to follow their growing requirements while adjusting for extreme weather—such as applying mulch, giving supplemental water, etc.

Image: 3268zauber
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