Forcing Spring Blossoms
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This is the time of year that I look out into the yard and start thinking about the days not too far off when the buds will open and my yard will be filled again with beautiful, colorful and fragrant spring blossoms. I can enjoy some of that spring excitement weeks, if not a few months earlier by forcing some spring blooming buds inside the house.
Thee are quite a few trees and shrubs that can be forced inside. Plants suitable for this are:
Go out into the yard now and trim some branches from a few of your favorite spring blooming shrubs and trees. Use a good sharp scissors or knife so you don’t damage the tree, and take some care so you don’t leave a big, bald spot or hole in your otherwise great looking shrub.
As soon as a plant has fulfilled its dormancy time it can be forced to bloom. Forsythia and pussywillow can be cut as early as mid January, where crab apple, magnolia and redbud shouldn’t be cut until March. Pick branches that are about a foot long and have lots of buds. Cut the branches on a warm, winter day bring them inside, and put them into a bucket. Place the bucket under a warm shower for about 10 minutes. The branches think they are getting a warm spring shower, which is the first step in breaking into bloom. Keep the bucket in the shower overnight so that your blossoms can soak up the humidity and moisture, and warmth.
The next morning, put the branches in a vase of water and keep them in a dimly lit, cool area. Any out of the way corner will work until the buds begin to open. Keep the buds moist, by spraying or misting, and change the water daily. They should start to bud in a few days. When the flowers begin to open, move the branches to a bright area. Don’t put them in direct sunlight and keep them cool to prolong the blooms.
The time you’ll need to get your branches to bloom depends on when they are cut and the type of ornamental. Forsythia generally takes 1 to 3 weeks, while magnolia can take 3 to 5 weeks. The closer it is to their outside bloom time, the less time it will take to force them to bud indoors.
The branches will bloom and the first signs of spring will be early---and right inside your house!