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Bring Spring Indoors Early!

Mar 16, 2015

It has been a long cold hibernated winter.  Did you know you can produce spring flowers early..?  Bring some color indoors !!! This is a great experiment to do with the kids or to see which of your spring-flowering trees and shrubs you can get to bloom indoors.  ( The easiest of all is “Forsythia, photo at Right )

Guidelines for making Branches Bloom Indoors

1)  Remove the branch (or several branches) when the temperature has been above freezing for two or three days, if possible.  The warm weather will help the buds expand a bit, and plump buds open sooner.

2)  A branch that is removed shortly before the normal flowering date may have its flower buds start opening in a couple of days.  Generally speaking, the farther it is from the natural blooming date, the longer the branch will take to bloom indoors.

3)  The cut should be made on a diagonal, not straight across the branch.  Pruning shears are safe to use.  Or, let an adult remove the branch with a sharp knife.  A diagonal cut will increase the surface area through which water can be absorbed. Also, make some vertical cuts about 1/4 to 1/2 inch up on the cut end.  Get the end of the branch in water very soon after removing it from the tree or shrub.

4)  The cutting can be put directly into a vase if outdoor blooming is only a week or two away.  It is best kept quite cool for a day so that the cutting does not have to adjust to a big temperature change.  Then, bring it into a warmer part of the house.  It should be kept out of direct sunlight.  Any buds that are below water should be removed.  If you don’t, they will be food to bacteria and cause the water to foul.

5)  Cuttings are taken long before the outdoor flowering date will have smaller buds that have to grow before they can open.  The process will start more quickly if most of the branch is kept underwater for 24 hours or so (in a cool area).  This will help the entire stem absorb more water, which will allow the buds to start developing sooner.

6)  Change the water every few days to decrease bacterial growth, or use a flower preservative (see the recipe below for making your own).

7)  Cut the bottom inch off the branch once a week.

Ultimately you are fooling the plant into thinking Spring has sprung. This Can be done with different types of spring-flowering trees and shrubs as long as it’s within 2 weeks of its actual flowering time.