Friday, January 23, 2009

Longing For Spring - Force Those Blooms!

I know I'm a little early on this post, but that's what longing is all about. Soon the first signs of spring will emerge in the South. Be ready to force a bit of springtime into your life.

Bring home the delicate blossoms and branches of flowering trees. Place them in vases or create your own pretty keepsakes.

Get a jump on spring and bring flowering shrubs indoors. Forcing blooms is easy with a few simple steps:

  • In late February or early March, look for shrubs with long branches and lots of swollen, plump buds. Cut branches in the afternoon when flowers have the most moisture.
  • Using sharp pruners, cut branches at least 12 inches long and at a 45-degree angle. To draw water to the blooms, smash the bottom 2 inches of the cut end using a hammer or mallet.
  • Place branches in room-temperature water and put in a cool spot away from sunlight. Change water often for longer bloom time. Keep branches moist by covering with a plastic bag or by misting daily.
  • Depending on the shrub (forsythia and pussy willows are quick to open), buds will start flowering in 1 to 4 weeks. Once they start to bloom, move branches to a sunnier spot and enjoy! They'll last up to a week.

Best shrubs for forcing: Azalea, beauty bush, crab apple, flowering quince, forsythia, magnolia, pussy willow, redbud, rhododendron, serviceberry, spirea, witch hazel, and fruit trees (such as cherries, pears, and apples).

Source : Country Home


Pam said...

I love to do this with forsythia and pussy willow.

Gayle @ Mountainmoma said...

I think I'll try this with my cherry tree this year. We are having a cold winter, so I don't think they are near ready yet.