Forcing Spring Blooms

Bring on springtime by making buds open indoors.

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Forcing forsythia

Forcing forsythia

Forsythia is among a number of early-spring-blooming shrubs and trees that can be forced to bloom indoors.

That nose print on your window pane says it all. Tired of peering outside at what seems like the longest winter ever?

If you can’t wait for all the living color the season delivers, you may want to take things into your own hands and force it — indoors.

Forcing branches of spring-flowering shrubs and trees to bloom indoors is one of the simplest indoor projects you can do. Plus, it’s always fun to be able to fool Mother Nature.

The easiest plants to force are woody ones that set their buds the previous year: forsythia, Japanese flowering quince, pussy willow, spirea, witch hazel and ornamental cherries, to name a few. All require a dormancy period of six weeks or so of cold temperatures before they begin to bud, typically in February and March.

Once those buds begin to swell, it’s time to start harvesting. All you’ll need are a pair of pruners, a bucket, a tall vase and maybe a little patience.

Follow the steps in this gallery to see how to force blooms indoors:

Force Blooms Indoors

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Forcing Spring Blooms

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Forcing forsythia

Step 1: Make the Cut

Step 2: Timing Is Everything

Step 3: Second Cut

Step 4: Pound the Stems

Step 5: Revive

Step 6: Arrange and Maintain

Make an Inspired Arrangement

Photo By: Image courtesy of FlowerSchool New York

Force Witch Hazel

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Force Ornamental Cherry

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Pussywillows

Buds should begin to open in one to four weeks, depending on the type of plant. The closer you cut to the plant’s normal flowering time outdoors, the quicker the branches will bloom. As blooms occur, move the branches to an area that receives bright sunlight and enjoy.

Now it’s safe to clean your window panes of all those nose prints!

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