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How to Force Flowering Shrubs to Bloom Indoors

Learn all about this common indoor gardening technique, in which "force" shrubs to open their blooms inside your home.

Photography: Brown Bird Design

Source: Martha Stewart Living, March 2014


Wondering how to "force" flowering shrubs to bloom indoors? Once temperatures have been below 40 degrees for eight weeks, cut shrub and tree branches to force them. Some of Martha’s favorites: quince, apple, and forsythia branches.


  • Sharp shears

  • Vase


  1. Cut branches with lots of buds: Using sharp shears, snip the stems at a 45-degree angle.

  2. Store the branches immediately in a vase filled with three inches of tepid water in a dark place that’s around 58 degrees, like a closet, basement, or garage.

  3. Mist the branches frequently, and add water to the vase as needed. The blooms should open anywhere between a week and a month.

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