by Christine Froehlich

Crabapple   BloomsMost of us long for a respite from winter about now. If you’re looking for an inexpensive flower fix, consider forcing branches. It’s not difficult and you can usually find something right in your own yard. Forsythia, apple, cherry and quince are a few that are easily available, but just about any type of flowering tree or shrub can be forced if it would naturally bloom in spring. If you happen to be out pruning, so much the better, just save some of your cuttings and bring them inside.

If you’d like to give it a try, follow this method:

1.) Choose a day when the temperature is above freezing and cut branches so they’re at least 12 inches long.
Cut  branches to at least 12 inches
Remove the side branches near the base of the stem.
Trim side  branches
2.) Bring branches inside. Make a 45 degree cut at the base of each stem and put them in a sturdy container.
45 degree  cut
3.) Add a few inches of warm water and add a plant supplement like Superthrive.
Branches  in warm water
4.) Keep the water topped off and replace with fresh solution once a week.
5.) Keep branches out of direct sunlight. North facing windows are best.
6.) Blooms time varies depending on the variety you choose but generally you can figure on about 4-6 weeks.
Blooms  just coming on
Below are some examples of spring blooms you could force:
Apricot  Blooms Crabapple Blooms Plum Blooms
Apricot Crabapple Plum
Pear Blooms Forsythia Blooms Magnolia  Blooms
Pear Forsythia Magnolia