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.
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