"Bring a bit of spring indoors
by gathering branches of flowering deciduous shrubs and trees and
forcing them to bloom or leaf out early in your home," said Susan
When temperatures rise
above freezing in late January and February, Grupp suggests
selecting and cutting branches that have many plump buds.
"Cut a few more branches than you
expect to use because some may not absorb water satisfactorily,"
said Grupp. "Use a sharp blade, and take care not to disfigure the
shrub or tree."
Grupp recommends using pruning
shears or a sharp knife to carefully split the cut end 1 to 4
inches. Place the cut branches in a container of warm water and
re-cut 1 inch from the base of the stem.
"This will help prevent air from
entering the stem through the cut end, blocking water uptake," she
explained. "Remove any buds and twigs that will be under water."
[to top of second column in
The container should be placed in a
warm room, 60 to 70 degrees F, and the water changed every few days.
A floral preservative may be added to the container water to help
"It may take one to eight weeks for
the blossoms to open," she said. "The closer to their natural bloom
time that you cut the branches, the sooner they will open."
Grupp recommended several plants
available in gardens or for purchase in branch form from local
florists. They are redbud, Japanese or flowering quince, flowering
dogwood, vernal witch hazel, hawthorn, forsythia, honeysuckle,
saucer magnolia, star magnolia, apple and crab apple, flowering
almond, cherry, and plum, European pussy willow, spirea, lilac, and
[University of Illinois news