Organic gardener growing food and flowers, lovin' pollinators and birds.

Force forsythia branches for indoor blooms

For an instant pop of spring color, trim forsythia branches to bloom indoors. It's really a simple task to do!

Beginning in late February in Zone 6, you can go outside and trim off fairly large stems of the shrub. I like to cut stems that are a least 12 to 15 inches long (sometimes longer!) for dramatic, airy bouquets. I cut the stems at an angle so the stems can draw up water easily in the vase.

Make sure you look for branches that have flower buds (see below). I leave the stems that do not have flower buds (these can be trimmed later in spring after the shrub has bloomed, which is when it is best to prune the plant).

Once you are done trimming, bring the branches inside and place them in a vase of water. I do not place mine in direct sunlight. The branches will flower within one to two weeks (the longer estimate applies if the buds were still dormant).

This is a fairly low-maintenance indoor bouquet. You can replace the water as you would other bouquets. Feel free to repeat until the shrub blooms outside. 

You can try this technique on flowering trees, too, such as Kwanzaa cherry and fruit trees.

Originally published 3/11/18. Updated 3/9/2023.

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