If you’re living in central Ohio you are probably sick of old man winter. Every year we wait patiently for that first sign of spring, whether it be that first flower on a daffodil, or that first nice day you boldly wear shorts outside. What if you could brighten your home, office space, etc., without much effort, by getting a little early taste of Spring indoors?
Forcing blooms on many of your favorite flowering trees and shrubs is possible indoors with just a little encouragement and time. By making some early cuts to your plants and modifying temperatures and light conditions in your home you can enjoy those beautiful blooms much earlier than expected!
One of our favorite spring plants to enjoy early is forsythia. The bright yellow flowers will bring a blast of spring sensation in your home. Another fantastic yellow flowering plant is the cornelian cherry (Cornus mas). Stems from these plants should be cut somewhere between late January through February. Cuttings can take less than a week to bloom if made later in the season but typically only a few weeks is necessary to enjoy full bloom.
Cherry and crabapple trees are also fantastic early blooming plants indoor. With an array of white and pink colors these stunning flowers will make your guests envious for spring. Azaleas and Rhododendrons can also come in a range of white and purple flowers. If you’re looking for a flower with an aromatic smell, try forcing lilacs. These fragrant flowers not only look great but will fill your room with an eruption of spring smells. These plants typically take longer to bloom and cuts should be made in early march to allow at least four to six weeks for blooms to occur.
Depending on the plant you wish to force indoors as well as the weather in your area, cuts should be made when temperatures are above freezing. Find branches that are anywhere from 12-24” long with a large amount of buds. Cuts should be made diagonally to increase the surface area that water can be taken up by the cuttings. Using a sharp knife or pruners you can make cuts vertically along the branch 1-2” to increase water intake. Striking a hammer or blunt object at the base of the stem will also splinter the stalk, producing the same effect.
Make sure to remove any side branches and place stems immediately in a vase with water. Remove any buds that may be submerged to decrease bacteria build up. Place the vase in a cool, low light area of your home for the first few days. It may be necessary to use a mister to spray the buds a few times a day so the buds do not dry up. As the buds begin to break and swell, place the vase in a well heated area with direct sunlight and enjoy your spring flowers early!
Changing the water in your vase will greatly prolong the life of your flowers. Try adding some sugar, bleach and lemon juice to your vase to help preserve the flowers. These ingredients will help provide the flowers with food and help disinfect the water from bacteria. Now get going and force those blooms for an early start to spring!