Forcing Branches

The Martha Stewart Show, February 2007

Any woody, deciduous shrub or tree that flowers in the early spring is a good candidate for forcing; forsythia, flowering quince, cherry, plum, pear, magnolia and pussy willow are natural choices. Phil Mueller of Star Valley Flowers suggests waiting until after the flower buds swell in late winter to begin the process, noting that the closer you wait until the date plants naturally flower, the faster and more uniform the bloom will be.

Tools and Materials
Garden pruners
Twine
Bucket
Flower food
Bleach
Plastic garbage bag

Forcing Branches How-To
1. Make a fresh cut on the branch with sharp pruners.

2. Tie the branches together with twine.

3. Place in a bucket of warm water with flower food.

4. Add a tablespoon of bleach to keep the water bacteria-free.

5. Cover the branches with a plastic bag.

6. Keep the branches in a cool (50 degrees to 60 degrees) spot out of direct sun, and mist them frequently.

Special Thanks
Thanks to Phil Mueller of Star Valley Flowers

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