How to Force Spring Blooms Indoors

Enjoy the season's earliest blooms by prodding branches to blossom inside.

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©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of FlowerSchool New York

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Forcing Spring Blooms

Give Mother Nature a little nudge and force spring-blooming quince and forsythia branches to bloom indoors.

Forcing forsythia

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

Step 1: Make the Cut

Prune branches about 3 feet long, making the cut at an angle.

Step 2: Timing Is Everything

Choose a warm day when temperatures are well above freezing. Look for branches with plump, swollen flower buds. Don’t be confused by leaf buds; flower buds are rounder and larger. Cut branches that are about three feet long, making the cut at an angle to give the branch more surface area for absorbing water. Place the branches in a bucket of water and take indoors.

Step 3: Second Cut

Once indoors, may a fresh second cut, again at an angle to give the branch more surface space for absorbing water.

Step 4: Pound the Stems

Pounding the cut can help loosen the branch's fibers for taking up more water.

Step 5: Revive

Soaking the branches overnight in the bathtub can help hydrate them, as indoor heat tends to dry them out.

Step 6: Arrange and Maintain

Place the cut branches in water in a spot that receives indirect light. Re-cut and change water every couple days.

Make an Inspired Arrangement

Now that you've managed to get your forsythia blooming indoors, try creating a beautiful Asian-inspired arrangement with your blooms.

Force Witch Hazel

The colorful, spider-like blooms of witch hazel can also be forced to bloom indoors.

Force Ornamental Cherry

The vivid pink blooms of ornamental cherry can make for a spectacular spring show indoors.


Spring budding pussywillows are also easily forced to bloom indoors.