Forcing Woody Plants for Indoor Bloom

Posted by & filed under Don Buma Blog, Shrubs.

Flowering QuinceThere are a number of plants that you can force into bloom for indoor display. Three of the easiest are forsythia, pussywillow, and flowering quince.  Prune branches that you wish to force on a day that is above freezing.  The branches should be 3 feet long or less and placed into a bucket of water as they are cut.  

After you bring the branches inside, immerse them in water, a bath tub works well, for several hours to ensure that the stems and buds are fully hydrated. When this has been accomplished, place them in a container of warm water and locate them in a room with high relative humidity and bright light.  For best results it is recommended that the water contain a preservative that can be acquired from your local florist.  Or, if that is not possible, you can make your own preservative by adding a tablespoon of Listerine to a gallon of water.  The commercial floral preservative is preferred however, because it not only helps prevent bacterial growth in the water, but also provides nutrients for the plants. 

To ensure extended bloom, mist the stems regularly since most houses are quite dry leading to plant dehydration.  Once you bring the plants inside, pussywillow should open within five to 15 days, forsythia will take about nine days to flower and quince will require between 12 to 20 days.  They should remain in bloom at least a week before they begin to fade.