Forcing Branches

Published March 18, 2015

bring-spring-indoors-by-forcing-branchesIt’s not too late to bring branches of magnolia, beauty bush and other March foliage into your home and treat yourself to a beautiful arrangement.

Forcing branches can happen as early as late-January or February; however, some of the later blooming varieties may be brought in now for gorgeous displays.

If you would like to display an arrangement of flowering branches from your garden there are some steps to take to ensure the best results.

If your branch is already beginning to bloom then you can simply use a sharp knife or hand pruner to make a sharp cut on an angle for most pencilthick branches. Shake the branch gently to remove any loose petals and bring them inside. Fill a vase with warm to room-temperature water, strip the lower section of any blooms and leaves that may be under water and use a utility knife to remove any bark from the base. Using a small hammer, smash the base of each branch. This will aid in water absorption. Arrange the branches in the vase.

For woody shrubs or tree branches that are not in bloom yet and have only buds on their branches you can likely force these into bloom with the following steps. Choose varieties such as magnolia, cherry and other fruit blossoms if possible.

Bring the branches inside and follow the same steps as outlined above; however, instead of placing the branches directly into a vase, place them into a bucket that has been treated with flower food and add one-half of a cup of bleach to reduce any bacteria in the water. Place the bucket into a bathtub and give the branches a good misting. Cover all the branches with a plastic bag. This will imitate the cool humidity of spring-like temperatures.

Leave the branches under the plastic bag, mist them frequently and wait for them to bloom – usually in a matter of days.

Display them in a foyer or living room for maximum impact.