The mild weather we are experiencing here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire will surely turn your thoughts to the warmer more colorful days ahead. Forcing branches to flower indoors is a great way to get in to a spring state of mind.
A tall vase of blooming forsythia branches can chase away the winter blahs. Bring a bit of spring indoors by gathering branches of flowering deciduous shrubs and trees and forcing them to bloom or leaf out early in your home.
Early native bloomers are particularly suited for indoor early forcing such as forsythia, witchhazel, and pussy willows. The closer to the actual bloom time you prune the shrub or tree branch for forcing, the faster it will bloom indoors. In late March or early April, later bloomers such as cherry, crabapple, flowering pear and dogwoods are great choices.
Follow these easy steps for success:
- Select a branch with many large, round flower buds on it. Leaf buds tend to be smaller and flatter, and lie closer to the branch. Cut the branch to about 6 to 18 inches long. Split the cut end with sharp shears or a knife. Remove any buds that would be under water.
- Once indoors, recut the stems and place them in cold water overnight to take up water and acclimate.
- Place the vase in a 60-65 degree room, out of direct sunlight. Once the buds start to show color, move to a sunnier spot and enjoy.