Many people love forcing bulbs to bloom indoors such as paperwhites. However, you can also force branches to bloom inside when you know how. Many trees and shrubs can be pruned and their branches placed inside to bloom at times when they do not usually flower. I love to begin summer blooms in early winter so that there are displays inside that are not corresponding to the displays blooming outdoors. It is quite a conversation starter among gardeners.
When To Cut Branches
According to the University of Illinois Extension, you should cut branches after temperatures get above freezing, usually around January or February. Always gather more branches than you believe you will need so that if some do not bloom you will have enough. Also, make sure that the branches that you are going to take from the shrub or tree have many buds already on them. Cutting a branch that does not have buds on it will not do you any good.
How to Force Branches to Bloom
Whether using a knife, shears, or pruners, make sure your cutting tool is sharp. After cutting the branch, split the end of it from one to four inches. Sit the branch in a bucket of warm water while you are collecting the stems. When you are completely done with branch collection, take them inside and take off the buds and leaves that will be under the water line. Put in water that is between 60 degrees and 70 degrees F. You’ll need to change the water every other day. Blooms will occur between one and eight weeks, depending on what cultivar the branch is from. Using a floral preservative can cut down on any bacteria growth and changing the water frequently may prevent algae and fungi growth.
Trees and Shrubs You Can Force Bloom
While there are many different trees and shrubs that a gardener or homeowner may use to force-bloom, there are some that are typically used. These trees and shrubs are ones that are usually used for indoor branch blooming. The list includes many favorites and can be have selections chosen for their fragrance, their bloom, or their showy display.
Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata) Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia soulangiana) Redbud (Cercis canadensis) Vernal Witch Hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)
Honeysuckle (Lonicera ssp.) Forsythia (Forsythia ssp.) Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles ssp.) Flowering Cherry, Almond, or Plum (Prunus ssp.) Hawthorn (Crataegus ssp.) Lilac (Syringa ssp.)
Forcing branches can give you the beauty of some of your favorite flowering trees and shrubs inside the home. It is a great way to have some blooms spread around the house and looks nice while entertaining. Many people prefer to have multiple branches forced so that there is a staggered bloom display instead of everything blooming at the same time.
Houseplants That Clean Air
Vines That Can Be Grown Indoors
Things You Should Do in January to Your Houseplants
University of Illinois Extension