If you’re tired of winter and want to see spring early, try forcing branches indoors. Some deciduous trees and shrubs with spring blossoms set their buds on the previous year’s growth. They need a cold dormancy period of about 6 weeks prior to cutting. So now is the time to bring in those branches and enjoy early spring flowers in a couple of weeks.
I pruned my weeping cherry tree on January 10th, and although most of the branches I cleared out were dead ones, there were a few that had buds on them. So I brought those in to see if I could force blooming. You’ll want to split the ends about 2 to 3 inches with a sharp knife, and place them in warm water. Then recut the ends at an angle while still under water before placing them in a vase of warm water. You can add a floral preservative if you have it. I didn’t have any, and was lucky to have no problems. Keep the vase in a cool space where it will get plenty of indirect light, and change out the water every few days.
After 2 weeks the buds started turning green. I wasn’t sure, but it must have had a long enough dormancy period.
At 2 1/2 weeks the first bud opened up.
After 3 weeks I was getting more blossoms. By this point I knew that a couple of the branches weren’t responding, so I removed them.
After 4 weeks it had significant blossoms. Woohoo!
Outside we’re having an ice storm. (sigh.) But inside, it’s spring time.
Some common plants for forcing branches are cherry, dogwood, lilac, forsythia, apple, redbud, pear, and spirea. There are many more. It’s such an easy way to bring spring into your home early.