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.
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.
The best candidates for forcing include forsythia, cherry, pear, crabapple, apple, quince, pussy willow and dogwood.
Remember, these trees and shrubs need about 2 months of temperatures below 40°F/4°C before they can be forced into bloom indoors. Late winter or early spring is the ideal time to start gathering branches. Select branches when buds are starting to swell. Take several because some may not bloom.
That's it! You should expect your branches to blossom in about 2 to 4 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.