How to Force Flowering Woody Plants

How to Force Flowering Woody Plants

Nothing signals Spring like the budding of flowering wood branches and adding a few such branches in a container is an easy way to bring Spring into your home. Almost any spring flowering shrub or tree can be coaxed to display their beautiful flowers if you follow a few simple steps.

Flowering Branches

Cherry tree branches produce small white flowers that are surrounded by small light green leaves. Another beautiful looking flowering woody plant is forsythia, which has branches filled with golden yellow flowers that just seem to glow.  Forsythia also blooms in white or light pink. 

The cut green branches of forced willow and hazelnut look lovely in unusual containers. Experiment with different containers of metal, wood, ceramics or unusually formed glass to show off your spring blooms.

Forcing Flowering Branches

If you have flowering trees in your yard you can force the branches to bloom before April by following a few simple steps:

  1. The buds, which will form into flowers in Spring can be coaxed to make an early show if you cut a few branches to put in a vase.
  2. Cut the ends of the branches about 4 inches up the branch at a diagonal angle with a sharp knife. The longer the surface area of the cut, the more water can be taken in by the branch. 
  3. Arrange the branches in a vase and fill with warm water. Submerge as much of the brach in warm water as is possible and let them soak overnight.
  4. Remove the excess water and place your arrangement in a cool room or your garage for a couple of days. Optimal temperature is between  50 and 70F. (10-21C.). This will allow the branches to get used to the warmer indoor temperatures.
  5. Afterward bring them inside, and place the vase away from areas that are too warm such as close to radiators or windows that get full sun.  It's important to prevent the branches from drying out, so every other day mists the branches with water.
  6. Your arrangement will need fresh water, so replace the water every two to three days.
  7. It takes anywhere from one to eight weeks, depending on the variety of the flowering shrub or tree before the first blooms appear. Once the branches start to bloom, you can place the arrangement anywhere in your home as long as you move them gradually to the new location.

flowering trees and shrubs

Which Spring Flowering Branches Can Be Forced?

  • almond
  • apple
  • cherry
  • dogwood
  • forsythia
  • hawthorn
  • honeysuckle
  • lilac
  • magnolia
  • pear
  • pussy willow
  • quince
  • redbud
  • serviceberry
  • spirea
  • wisteria
  • witch hazel

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