Forcing Blooms

  • Happy February! I thought I’d share an easy idea for bringing some early spring into your home by forcing blooms indoors. I’ve got a couple bouquets blooming in my house, one with forsythia and the other bouquet is with magnolia branches.

    Last year I planted three magnolia ‘butterflies’ in my yard and babied them through the hot and dry summer by watering them with water bags. These are green bags that you zip around the trunks and they hold water that slowly seeps into the ground. This method of watering allows the trees to be watered deeply and less often. Often trees don’t get enough water because sprinkler systems don’t get the water down deep enough, which results in shallow roots. While these water bags are not the most attractive, it is a very effective way to establish healthy trees. Once fall arrived, I removed the water bags, thinking that summer was over and the rain would return.  Little did I know, the water bags served another purpose- keeping the deer away from the trunks of my young trees! Apparently, bucks use the trunks of trees to rub the velvet off of their antlers. In a matter of a couple nights, my poor magnolia trees were badly assaulted! The low branches were snapped off and the bark was in rough shape. To prevent further damage, we wrapped the trunks with corrugated tubing. We have since removed the tubing and the trunks look like they’ll recover but it’ll be a while before new branches grow. I had forgotten that I had placed the broken branches aside and about a month ago, I found them and thought, “I wonder if I can force these to bloom inside?”

    I brought the branches inside and cut the end of each branch with bypass pruners. I could see green which was encouraging! After doing a little research, it was suggested to scrape some of the bark at the bottom of the branches with a knife to encourage the branches to soak up water. I also saw several recommendations to wrap them in a paper towel and then store in a cold space for a few weeks. I decided to go straight for a vase with water. I figured the branches looked sort of cool with the flower buds and if it didn’t work, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. After a couple of weeks, I noticed that new buds had began to form. Then, they actually sprouted leaves! Just this week, a flower is starting to bloom! It’s been really fun to watch the branches come to life and all I’ve been doing is changing the water in the vase!

    Once the magnolia branches started leafing out, I decided to cut some forsythia branches to force inside. Forsythia is one of the earliest outdoor bloomers and right now is a perfect time to bring some stems inside. I brought my stems in last week and the flowers are in full bloom now. If you have any pruning you are doing outside to a cherry blossom or plum tree, try bringing some of those branches inside to bloom. It makes for a fun experiment and it’s really lovely to feel a little bit of spring in February. I also love being reminded how cool nature can be!


    February 13th, 2018 | girl has thyme | 1 Comment |

One Response and Counting...

  • Adam 02.13.2018

    I miss your posts. Pictures of flowers remind me of you.

    [Reply]

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