Are you longing for the spring season, and all the fabulous flowers that come with it? Today I’ll show you how easy it is to force your spring-flowering shrubs and branches to bloom so you can enjoy an “early breath of spring” indoors.
If you’re a flower girl like me, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a process that allows you to have all the color and beauty of early spring blooms in your home during these gloomy weeks of winter ahead.
We all know that this is the time of year when a little pick-me-up is needed to cure those wintertime blues.
Good news! You can brighten up the inside of your home through late winter very easily. It’s as easy as bringing fresh cut branches from spring-flowering trees and adding them to a vase filled with fresh water.
By cutting these spring bloomers, you can bring these branches indoors to flower much more quickly than waiting for the plant’s natural bloom time.
As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. My blog contains other affiliate links as well for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
Flowering Branches to Force Bloom
Here are some of the spring-flowering trees and shrubs you can force to bloom indoors during the several weeks of winter that are left:
- Forsythia branches
- Witch Hazel
- Flowering Quince
- Eastern Redbud
- Flowering Cherry/Plum
- Crab Apple
- Pussy Willow
Steps for Force Blooming Spring-Flowering Branches
To force spring-flowering trees and shrubs into blooming this winter, here are some simple steps:
STEP 1: Choose branches from spring-flowering trees with lots of plump flower buds that are evenly spaced along the length of the branch.
STEP 2: Cut off healthy-looking branches, leaving a couple of inches of stem at the end.
STEP 3: For best results, submerge the cut end of the branches in water for several hours before bringing them indoors.
STEP 4: Once inside, place the branches in a tall vase filled with warm water. Optional: Add plant food or sugar to help promote blooming.
STEP 5: Keep the vase in a cool location with indirect light and high humidity.
STEP 6: Once the buds have opened, move the branches into a well-lit indoor location.
Branches should flower within 1-2 weeks, depending on how far along your flowers were when cutting them from the tree.
I usually start cutting forsythia branches in mid-January and it takes about a week for mine to bloom.
When To Force Bloom
The best time to begin forcing spring-blooming branches is once the night temperatures are consistently between 33-41°F.
After at least 6 weeks of cold weather, the buds on many flowering trees and shrubs have already formed from the previous year. At that point, they’re still in a period of dormancy for a few more weeks until the warmer weather arrives.
January through late February, and even early March, are great months for force-blooming flowering branches. However, you can also bring branches indoors just before they’re ready to bloom outdoors with plump buds that are already starting to swell.
How to Prune Branches
When pruning any branches, pick a day when the outdoor temperature is above freezing to help them transition from outdoors to the inside of your home.
Select branches that aren’t essential to the form of your shrub or tree. I always choose branches that are located in the back of a tree or an area where it wouldn’t hurt to thin out to prevent overcrowding.
Be sure to use pruners that are both sharp and clean to ensure that your cuts are clean and smooth. Cut stems that are 6-18 inches in length, although it’s really a personal preference. It’s important to prune the branch properly in order not to damage the rest of the tree or shrub you are cutting from, right above a branch or side bud so there is no stub.
Trim off any parts of the branch that isn’t aesthetically pleasing, and any branches that would be touching the water once placed in the vessel. Cut the base of the stem at an angle. and crush the ends of the branch with a hammer to allow the water to absorb more quickly.
According to The Spruce, there’s another alternative to crushing the ends with a hammer. You can cut another inch off the bottoms of the stems when they’re submerged in water. This second cut, performed underwater where air cannot act as a drying agent, will promote water intake.
How to Force Branches
Place the branches in lukewarm water for several hours to overnight. The next day, switch them to a vessel or vase, filled with warm water and floral preservative.
Move the vessel of branches into a cool place with no direct sunlight until the buds start showing color. Then move them to an area with bright indirect light for more quality cut flowers.
SHOP VASES & VESSELS FOR YOUR FLOWERING BRANCHES
Re-cut and crush the ends of the branch every few days for longer-lasting blooms. To prevent bacteria from forming, change the water every 1-2 days. It will also help speed up the flowering process if the air is relatively humid. If it’s not, mist the branches every few days to provide some moisture.
Flowering blooms should appear in a few weeks depending on the variety. The branches of forsythia seem to take the least amount of time.
That’s it! It’s so simple to force bloom these spring flowering branches. What a great way to make leaf buds bloom in less time than waiting for the higher temperatures to arrive.
You can experiment with just about any flowering tree or shrub you have in your yard. I’ve never forced lilac blooms, but I’m definitely going to try it, as well as rhododendrons, azaleas, and magnolias.
If you love bringing in the natural elements outdoors, try force-blooming your own fruit trees and other spring branches to create the most beautiful display for your home until the end of winter.
If you have any other information or ideas from personal experience that I haven’t touched on, leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time,
PIN AND SAVE ON PINTEREST
If you’ve enjoyed this blog post, please pin and share this on Pinterest.
Be sure to follow me @shiplapandshells on the following…