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How to Force Flowers to Bloom

By Karen Ellis ; Updated September 21, 2017

Forcing flowers indoors is a way of bringing spring to life a bit early. Forcing flowers is really a matter of rushing blooms from flowering trees or bushes. By bringing woody branch indoors, at the right time, they will bloom in the warmth of your home.

Cut wood sprigs after the chill of winter and as the early thaw forces the sap to run. You can tell the flowers are ready for forced blooming when the buds are swollen. Cut the ones with the most buds on them, with a sharp knife or garden clippers. Choose a cool morning to cut your flowering bush or tree to avoid the sprigs going into shock.

Bring a bucket of water with you when you are ready to cut the wood sprigs. Place the sprigs in the bucket as soon as you cut them. As with ordinary garden flowers, they will do better if the amount of time lapsing from cutting to getting them in the water is minimal.

Snip a half inch off the bottom of the stems. Cut a slit at the bottom, about an inch up from the bottom, while they are still in the bucket of water. This will enable the sprigs to more easily absorb the water. Remove any leaves, buds or other stems that will be under the water in the vase. If they are left under water, these parts of the plant will rot and cause bacteria in the water.

Pour warm water into a vase or other decorative container. Mix in a packet of floral preservative (found at craft stores or florist shops).

Arrange the wood flower sprigs in the vase. It will take different amounts of time for the different flowers to bloom. Three of the fastest indoor blooming flowers are quince, forsythia and pussy willows. Place the vase in a location that does not receive full sunlight.

Change the water in the vase, as you would with ordinary flowers, every other day. This will prevent bacteria from growing, thus the blooms will last longer.

Mist the sprigs once a week to keep them moist. If your home is especially warm and dry, mist them more often.


Things You Will Need

  • Bucket
  • Floral preservative
  • Vase
  • Sharp knife


  • Other types of flowers to try for indoor blooming include apple tree, hawthorn, lilac, sassafras, maple tree or cherry tree.

About the Author


Karen Ellis has been a full-time writer since 2006. She is an expert crafter, with more than 30 years of experience in knitting, chrocheting, quilting, sewing, scrapbooking and other arts. She is an expert gardener, with lifelong experience. Ellis has taken many classes in these subjects and taught classes, as well.