Forcing Blooms on Branches to Bring Indoors

STORY

BRING A LITTLE SPRING INTO YOUR HOME

Springtime blooms cheer up the last, seemingly endless days of winter. Follow these few easy steps to have gorgeous blossoms in no time. These pretty stems make a beautiful dinner party centerpiece and make a lovely hostess gift too.

HOW TO PRUNE BRANCHES

All you need is a pair of clean, sharp pruners (and a spring-flowering tree or shrub!)
Choose a day when the temperature is above freezing. The milder temperatures help ease the transition the plants must make from outdoors to indoors.
Select branches that are not essential to the form of your shrub or tree, in a crowded section, and towards the back of the plant.
Prune a 1 to 2 foot-long length of branch. Choose a branch with lots of buds, preferably with very small buds that are beginning to open. (The flower buds are generally fatter and more rounded than leaf buds.)
Remember proper pruning! Cut branches on the diagonal. Steeply-angled cuts ensure water uptake.
It helps to “bruise” the cut ends: Crush the stem ends with a small hammer; they’ll soak up the water faster.

HOW TO FORCE BRANCHES
Once you’re inside, set the branches in a vase or vessel of room temperature overnight. Cut slits from the cut up the branch for several inches to promote water uptake. (Make sure the vase won’t tip with the heavy branches.)
Keep vase in a bright room away from heaters and direct sun. The brighter the room, the better the quality of bloom.
Recut the ends using a slanting cut the next day.
Change the water every few days so the branches don’t rot from build-up of bacteria forming. Mist flowers.
Flowers should appear in a few weeks. Once blooms appear, display in a warm area and enjoy!
Note: If it does not work the first time you try a plant, cut branches a few weeks later and try again.
Misted flowers and catkins can last for up to a week in a cool, 60 degree room. Branches with leaves may last longer.

BEST TREES AND SHRUBS FOR FORCING INDOORS
Tree or Shrub Time to Bloom
Buckeye 5 weeks
Cherry 4 weeks
Cornelian dogwood 2 weeks
Crab apple 4 weeks
Deutzia 3 weeks
Flowering almond 3 weeks
Flowering dogwood 5 weeks
Flowering quince 4 weeks
Forsythia 1 week
Honeysuckle 3 weeks
Horse chestnut 5 weeks
Lilac 4 weeks
Magnolia 3 weeks
Pussy willow 2 weeks
Red maple 2 weeks
Redbud 2 weeks
Red-twig dogwood 5 weeks
Spicebush 2 weeks
Spirea 4 weeks
Wisteria 3 weeks

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