Craving Color from your Garden?

March 25, 2024

By Rick Bogusch, Kathleen Kennedy

Bridge Gardens

Try Rick's Tips for Forcing Blooms!

Forcing tree and shrub branches into bloom is a great way to anticipate spring. Early bloomers are good candidates for forcing now, because it is so close to their natural bloom times. Forsythia, winter hazel, hazelnut, flowering dogwood, redbud, pussy willows, cherries and crabapples are all suitable for forcing.

When cutting branches, it’s best to cut new wood, branches that are just one year old. Older branches don’t blossom as well when forced and take forever to bloom. Look for branches with lots of plump flower buds and cut them just above a node or where they meet another branch. Ideally, cut on a sunny day when temperatures are above freezing.


Stand branches in a bucket with their lower halves immersed in warm, not hot, water for one half hour. Then place in cold water and put them in a cool cellar or room out of direct sunlight. Keep a spray bottle of water nearby to spritz them a couple times each day.

As buds swell and begin to open, move branches into stronger light and warmer temperatures. Place them into your favorite vase, keep them immersed in fresh water and ENJOY!

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