Force flowering shrub branches to bloom indoors

Last Updated: 
April 1, 2008

Create an early springtime indoors by bringing in branches of flowering
shrubs and forcing them into early bloom. Forsythia, spirea, and flowering cherry and plum are good plants for forcing indoors, according to Barb Fick, home horticulturist with the Oregon State University Extension Service. Witch hazel, flowering crab apple,
winter jasmine and flowering quince also will burst into blossom with a
little care.

First, select branches from shrubs and trees in the yard. Look for those
with fat flower buds. Cut a two- to three-foot length of branch and take
it indoors.

Make a one or two inch slit in the base of the branch to allow for easier
water intake. Place the branch in a deep pail of water and leave it in a
room with cool temperatures until the buds swell and begin to show color.
The process can be done in a light or dark room.

Branches with fat buds will show a little color in four to eight days.
Tiny budded branches may take longer to show color. Once the buds show some
color, place the pail and branches in the normally heated part of the house.
The flowers should be in full bloom in a day or two and will last about
a week.

The flowers will have a longer life if they are kept in a cool spot away
from drafts caused by heating vents. Make new fresh cuts on the cut end
of the branches every couple days to help water intake.

Author: Carol Savonen
Source: Barb Fick