Signs of Spring: Forsythia and Redbud

Growing up in Ohio, I had a forsythia bush outside my bedroom window. This allowed me to be one of

Growing up in Ohio, I had a forsythia bush outside my bedroom window. This allowed me to be one of the first in our household to be able to announce, “Spring is here!” When those bright yellow blooms began to open, silhouetted against the browns and grays of an Ohio late winter, the world seemed to be become a brighter place. Forsythia is often followed closely by native Eastern Redbuds, which throw their pink flowers up against the brilliant blue sky under the spring sun. If you’re looking for a large shrub or small tree with springtime interest, these are two worth checking out.

Signs of Spring Forsythia anikasmomanikasmom
anikasmom The sight of forsythia blooms in the snow cheers the heart in spring!

Forsythia (Forsythia sp.)

  • Zones: 4 – 8
  • Size: Fast-growing large shrub, 8 – 12 feet; dwarf varieties available and can be pruned for size
  • Conditions: Well-drained soil with regular moisture, full sun to part shade
  • When They Bloom: In warmer zones, as early as late January or early February, through late March in colder zones. Blooms develop in late summer and early fall for the following year, so the shrub should be pruned immediately after flowering in the spring.
  • Other Facts: Native to Asia. Excellent for forming hedges that make a spectacular show in the spring.
Signs of Spring Forsythia Sharon WilhiteSharon Wilhite
Sharon Wilhite Brilliant yellow blooms cover the shrub from top to bottom.

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

  • Zones: 4 – 9
  • Size: Small tree, 15 – 30 feet
  • Conditions: Well-drained soil with regular moisture, full sun to part shade
  • When They Bloom: In warmer zones, as early as late January or early February, through May in colder zones. Blooms attract butterflies. Leaves form after the blooms, making the flowers especially conspicuous.
  • Other Facts: Native to the Eastern U.S. from lower Michigan to upper Florida. State tree of Oklahoma.

Signs of Spring Redbud

Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find her reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.