GardenHouse Perennials

Forcing Branches Into Bloom Indoors

Spring is officially here, but, here in Ontario, with the warmer weather a few weeks away, you can still force branches of some of your favourite shrubs and trees into bloom indoors, bringing the fragrance and excitement of Spring early into your home.

To force branches, you must cut them, bring them indoors, provide spring-like warmth and a generous amount of water.

First, gather branches from your garden. The easiest branches to force are early-season bloomers, but experiment with any of the deciduous shrubs or trees in your garden. Apple, crab apple, forsythia, bridal wreath spirea and pussy willow branches will all provide a pretty show.

Bring the branches indoors and cut each branch again with sharp bypass pruners on a 45° angle and, to encourage water absorption, split the branch about 2 inches up from the cut end. Submerge in a deep bucket of water treated with floral food or with a some bleach and white sugar.

Mist the branches with water and cover with a garbage bag to provide a consistent moist environment. Ideally the branches should be kept for 1-2 weeks in a cool (from 10-15° Celsius) environment while coaxing the buds.

When the branches are ready (about 1-2 weeks) arrange them in pretty containers and place in a room temperature location that is bright but not in direct sunlight. Remember that these arrangements tend to be top heavy so use a solid vase weighted down with garden pebbles if necessary.

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Forcing, Etc.: The Indoor Gardener's Guide To Bringing Bulbs, Branches And Houseplants Into Bloom by Katherine Whiteside

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