Forcing Branches Indoors

Forcing branches indoors allows you to enjoy flowering branches before spring arrives. It's all easier than you think. Find out how to force branches into bloom with the steps below.

forcing branches, forcing apple branches

Doing a little late-winter fruit tree pruning? Bring those branches indoors to enjoy their beautiful blossoms. Be sure to use freshly cut branches for forcing. Branches sold at craft stores are already dried and preserved and won't bloom.

Flowering Branches to Force

Pussy Willow

forcing branches, forcing cherry branches

Steps for Forcing Branches

  1. Do this in late winter or early spring when buds are starting to swell. Take several because some may not bloom.

  2. Cut branches about 1 to 2 ft long, cutting at a 45° angle to expose the inner stem.

  3. Place branches in a big container of room-temperature water. Any decorative vessel will do -- a vase or pitcher.

forcing branches, forcing cherry branches

That's it! You should expect your branches to blossom in about 2 to 3 weeks.

Keep your cut branches in a fairly cool (60-70°F/16-21°C) and bright room, but away from direct sunlight. Just like potted and cut flowers, warm temperatures and sunshine encourage flowers to open, while cooler temps will allow flowers to open slowly and last longer.

Another trick that helps flowering branches to last longer is to cut off a bit of the stems every day or two. Also, replace with fresh water every couple days.