Gold Tide ForsythiaForsythia x intermedia 'Courtasol'
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Forsythia x intermedia 'Courtasol'
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Gold Tide® Forsythia is a low-growing shrub that stays less than 2 feet tall, but covers an area 4 feet wide. It is perfect for ground cover, planting on banks or slopes, or for spilling over walls. In very early spring it blooms profusely on the bare stems, with bright yellow flowers that tell us spring is finally here. The dense foliage with its bright green leaves makes an excellent companion to shrubs that bloom later in the growing season. Very easy to grow and tolerates poor soil and urban conditions.
Full sun will give the most blooms on the Gold Tide® Forsythia, but it will grow well in partial shade too. It is hardy almost everywhere, hot or cold, but bloom damage is possible in zone 5 and colder zones. It grows in all soils but constantly wet ones, including heavy clays and urban soil. It has no important pests or diseases and deer leave it alone. Prune immediately after flowers to keep it open, neat and vigorous.
Filling spaces around the garden is an important part of landscaping, especially if you have a large yard. Often perennial plants just a few inches tall are used, but in large spaces something taller is best, to show more effectively from a distance. Low-growing shrubs are great for this, but most are rounded, so the smaller the plant, the less space it covers. This is where the Gold Tide® Forsythia steps in, because this great plant is not only a wonderful harbinger of spring, it’s a great groundcover as well. Growing hardly more than 18 inches tall, the arching branches spread outwards gracefully, covering a space a full 4 feet across. One or just a few will fill a big space in your garden, and after the wonderful spring display the pleasant green leaves are perfect neutral foreground to your later shrubs as they come into bloom. Let a golden tide sweep across your garden bringing color, beauty and practical benefits with it.
The Gold Tide® Forsythia is a low-growing deciduous shrub, typically reaching about 20 inches tall and spreading its arching stems over an area up to 4 feet in diameter. The branches rise up at 45 degrees, and arch over as they grow, creating a semi-weeping effect. The stems have a rough, yellow-green to beige colored bark, and the leaves are tightly spaced along the branches, giving a look that is denser than we usually see in forsythia. The leaves are oval, tapering to a point, with fine serrations along the edges, and they are about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide, colored a bright mid-green.
This shrub comes into bloom very early in spring, with the first arrival of warmer days, and well before the leaves. Blooming on bare stems intensifies the effect, and this variety is a very profuse bloomer, much more densely covered in blooms than most other varieties of forsythia. The flowers are clustered all along the branches, in groups of four, and each bloom is a 1-inch trumpet, deeply divided into 4 flaring petals. The color is a vibrant and showy bright yellow, beaming out like sunlight across the garden. Once December has passed you can cut branches and bring them indoors. A few days in a vase and the blooms will open – an early promise of what is to come.
Grow this beautiful shrub in the foreground of larger beds, or set back a little in smaller ones. Plant it spaced 3 feet apart to create a continuous ground cover, or plant individually as a specimen. Grow it on banks and slopes for a cascade of gold, or at the top of a wall, where it will spill over in a very attractive way.
The Gold Tide Forsythia is hardy even in zone 4, but it will not flower, as the flower buds are not as cold-resistant as the leaf buds. In zone 5 it will often bloom well, but in years with late cold-snaps the flowers may be damaged. In all warmer zones, right into zone 9, it blooms reliably and profusely. See our current selection of other forsythia for more cold-resistant forms.
Full sun will give the best results with the Gold Tide Forsythia, but it will also grow well with a little partial shade. This rugged and reliable plant grows well in just about any kind of soil, including rough urban soils and heavy clays. The soil should be well-drained, and even dry soils are tolerated well once the plants are established. This tough plant is hard to kill, and it will even grow beneath black walnut trees, notorious for killing most plants planted near them.
Pests and diseases are rare on the Gold Tide Forsythia, and deer don’t usually bother it either. Pruning established plants immediately after flowering, removing stems that have flowered for more than one season, will keep it from becoming too tangled and untidy. Alternatively, cut back to a few inches from the ground every 3 or 4 years. Do not prune once leaves are developing, as this will reduce flowering in the next year
Forsythia x intermedia is a plant that was found around 1885 growing naturally in the Göttingen Botanic Garden, Germany. It was apparently a hybrid between two Chinese species growing near each other – Forsythia suspensa and Forsythia viridissima. A plant of this hybrid was sent to the famous Arnold Arboretum near Boston, Massachusetts in 1889, and from there it spread to nurseries and into gardens, becoming very popular.
The variety we know by the registered trademark name of Gold Tide® was created in the 1980s by Alain Cadic at his nursery, Agri Obtentions, in Guyancourt, France. He exposed plants of the forsythia variety ‘Spring Glory’ to gamma ray radiation, which is known to create genetic mutations (sounds like a bad thing, but it just means a change), and collected seeds. Among the seedlings was one that grew very differently, with a low, arching habit. After further study of it he named it ‘Courtasol’ and sold it in France with the trademark name of Marée d’Or®. He also patented it in the USA in 1995 (PP# 9,104, now expired) and it is here sold as Gold Tide®.
This plant, with its unique origin (don’t worry, it isn’t radioactive, and it doesn’t glow in the dark) is a lovely and unique forsythia that is perfect for ground cover or planting on slopes. Very easy to grow, and reliable even in the most difficult locations, it’s a real winner and a great plant. Order now because our stock is limited, and it will sell out fast.