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 branchesAppleblossoms are some of the showiest blooms to force indoors.

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.

Flowering Branches to Force

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.

forcing branches indoors, forcing fruit tree branchesEnjoy tree blossoms indoors before spring arrives by forcing them into bloom. It's so easy to do.

Steps for Forcing Branches

  • Cut branches about 1 to 2 ft long, cutting at a 45° angle to expose the inner stem; this helps the branches draw up water.
  • Trim off any side branches or buds that will sit below water level.
  • Arrange branches in a tall container of room-temperature water. Any decorative vessel will do -- a vase, bottle or pitcher.

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.