Tips for Forcing Branches into Bloom

Last week a posted a picture of my kitchen table sporting vases of branches that I’m hoping to force into bloom.  (You can guess that we rarely eat at the table.)  I had a few requests for tips on forcing branches.


My first tip is to take a walk around your yard to look for buds.  If you see a big fat bud, the chances are good that the plant will soon bloom and that you’ll have good success getting to to bloom indoors.

This picture is of the Forsythia pictured above one week later.  It will be blooming soon!  If you see a bud like this while you are walking around your yard with your clippers, you’ll know that it will work.


This is the bud from a Lilac.  It’s from the vase second to the right.


This bud is from a Cherry.  It’s from the last vase on the right.


Now that you know what to look for, grab your clippers and head out the door.

This Forsythia is perfect for cutting.  It looks like an ugly mass of branches now, but in a few weeks it will be glorious.


The bud lets you know that it is a good candidate for forcing.


Flowering Quince is a perfect candidate.  This shrub is in my neighbor’s yard and I did not ask to cut a branch, but I’m sure he’d say yes if I asked.  This has big thorns, so be careful!


Great candidates to look for on your walk include:  Forsythia, Lilac, Quince, Pussy Willow, Star Magnolia, Apple, Crabapple, Spirea, and Redbud.

Think outside the box.  Do you think about a Red Maple blooming?  They do and the bloom is gorgeous!  The bloom is small and most people pay no attention to it.

The bud lets you know that it is a candidate for forcing.


Once you’ve determined which branches you’d like to force, clip enough to fill a vase.  Think about where you are clipping to not destroy the shape of the shrub or tree for summer.

Make a cut (or two) at the end of each branch to help the branch to take in water. 



I used a frog in the bottom of the vase.  Fill the vase with water, arrange your branches, find a spot in your home,  and wait.  The water should be changed every now and then, I change it weekly. 



I have read that it is recommended to keep the branches in a dimly lit room between 60 – 70 degrees until they flower.  Our house meets the temperature requirement, but it really isn’t dim and my branches still flower.

Now get out there and cut some branches.  It’s FREE and a fun way to fill your home with seasonal color.

If you haven’t entered my GIVEAWAY, click here to enter.  The winner will be announced on Wednesday.

MM kimbaDIY125

I’m sharing this for Metamorphosis Monday at Susan’s Between Naps on the Porch and for DIY Day at Kimba’s A Soft Place to Land.


  1. Wonderful advice and I had forgotten all about doing this. I’ll be out tomorrow looking for buds. It’s sweet that it was your mother’s tradition.

    You have a wonderful blog and it was nice to visit today.

  2. I still can’t get to the shrubs in my yard! Maybe today, Mr. Sunshine will help to create a path so I can reach my forsythia! I’ll have to think about whose yard I can raid for some other color.

  3. I do this too. Nothing says spring like fresh blooming branches. I always put a vase on my dining room table with branches to hang the Easter eggs from!

  4. Oh thanks for the tips…I am going out this evening and look for some shrubs that I can force to bloom…oh I love the vase you have on the china cabinet…I have a couple of those and also have a few bunnies out waiting to be put out…that would be so springy.

  5. Good tips, Paula! It kind of goes with my post for today too…love it! 🙂 I do have a very skinny forsythia in between my fence and the neighbor’s fence. May try this!

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