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force spring branches

On 15, Feb 2011 | No Comments | In advice | By All Year Garden

Probably by this date everybody had enough of winter, but since spring is not going to be here for a while, you can enjoy a preview indoors by forcing flowering branches into bloom.  Most tree or bush branches that bloom in spring would suit this purpose, some easier than others. Among the easiest to force into bloom – forsythia and pussy willow. Among the most difficult – crab apples. In between there is a whole range, you take your pick: flowering quince, magnolia, cherry and plum, witch hazel, lilac, viburnum, etc. I chose flowering quince and Japanese cherry.

The process is very simple: cut branches with rounded buds (those are flower and not leaf buds) with sharp pruning shears and bring them indoors. Smash the ends of the branches with a hammer, or slit lengthwise with a sharp knife. Place the branches immediately in warm water and put them in a well lit location, but not in direct sunlight.

Change the water every two or three days as needed to keep it clear. The easy ones, like forsythia, will bloom in a week, but for the rest of them expect to wait approximately four weeks.