I walked the yard in the morning, looking for a hint of color. I found some primroses about to bloom.
|butter-yellow primroses, all set to begin adding color to the spring garden|
Crocus have broken through the soil,
|in the garden, these creamy yellow snow crocus aren't ready for bloom|
both in the garden and up on the deck.
|but in a pot on the deck, Blue Pearl snow crocus are beginning their show|
Rhubarb is just now popping up.
|I can hardly wait for rhubarb pie!|
Of the flowering shrubs, the flowering currant and forsythia are the first to bloom here. I can see the currant branches are aching to put on a show for me.
|several of the red-flowering currant bushes have buds|
So, I ran and got my clippers and took several red-flowering currant branch cuttings and a couple of the forsythia as well. I think the forsythia still needs a few more days outside for good bud formation.
|red-flowering currant branches standing in a sink of warm water|
In less than a couple of weeks, I hope to have a nice show of color indoors!
|I chose a wide-mouth canning jar for my branches. |
I think they'll look lovely once in bloom.
How to force blooms on branches indoors
- February and March are the months to force forsythia and flowering currant. In our area mid to late February is the ideal time. The shrubs need about 8 weeks of below 40 degrees F temperatures, for bud formation. If your winter was late in beginning this year, wait a few weeks longer
- a woody plant such as forsythia is one of the best candidates for indoor forcing, but you can also force pussy willow, flowering currant and any of the early spring-flowering fruit trees.
- leaf buds are the smaller buds on a branch, while flower buds are the larger ones. Look for branches with plenty of larger buds
- take cuttings on a day when the temperature is above freezing. You can even do this while there is still snow on the ground, if the air temp is above freezing
- using pruners, clip off several branches about 2 to 3 feet in length
- bring indoors to a sink of warm water
- under water, cut off about 1 inch more, to allow uptake of water into the branch
- allow branches to stand in the water for 4 to 6 hours,
- we have a rainy climate here, so the branches were wet with rain when I cut them. Standing the branches in water is sufficient. But if your climate is dry in winter, then you may wish to submerge the branches for this time period, to hydrate them thoroughly.
- re-trim the ends under water once more
- stand in a vase with clean water. You can add flower preservative, if you have some. But I've taken cuttings and had them last beautifully for a couple of weeks, without any of the preservative.
- some people cover the branches with a plastic bag. In my experience, this just invites fungus to set in and ruin the blossoms as they form. But perhaps in drier climates this isn't an issue.
- keep out of direct sunlight, in a coolish room, about 60 to 65 degrees F. Too warm and the blossoms mature too quickly, then degrade rapidly
- keep out of direct air flow from heat registers. If air is particularly dry in your house, spray with a plant mister once or twice per day.
- if the buds were large to begin with, then you should expect to see some color within 4 to 8 days. If the buds were small at cutting time, then it will take longer to see color
- change the water and trim ends once per week
Enjoy your taste of spring!