Forced blooms are a beautiful addition to your next arrangement. It's nature's way of bringing its wonder and beauty inside.
End of February to early March is the ideal time to start forcing blooms indoors. In our area, this year may be an exception as the extreme cold from January 28 to February 4 froze the setting buds. This put fruit trees in jeopardy throughout Nova Scotia.
What does it mean to force a bloom? You are creating the conditions inside your home for flowering shrubs and trees to bloom. Here are the steps to force shrubs.
Step 1: Choose Your Shrub
Select a shrub that forms its flowering bud the previous fall, such as Forsythia.
If you are new to forcing blooms, we recommend you start with Forsythia. It's a rock star for forcing blooms for three reasons:
When I am selecting branches to cut I use this time to improve the health of the plant. I remove branches that have crossed over other branches to allow for greater airflow. This helps to reduce the risk of disease.
You can also cut suckers. Suckers often don’t bloom but the foliage comes out and adds another element to the arrangement.
Remember to use clean secateurs to avoid introducing bacteria to the mother plant.
Other shrubs I force are wild honeysuckle, dogwood and currants. The cherry tree did not survive on our new property, yet make beautiful forced blooms. Quince and magnolias are too small to take cuttings this year. I tried a haskap branch and was very pleased with the soft yellow bloom.
Step 2: Select a Method
There are two methods to force blooms:
I use a galvanized wash basin filled with tepid water. I then place the branches in the basin and leave overnight. The next day place the branches with the cut end in a fresh bucket of water. Cover the tops with plastic, to keep the moisture in. Place in a cooler room in your home
Place in Vase
Add about an inch of fresh, clean water to a jar or bud vase, then add the branches. Store the vase in a cool room, spraying often to keep the buds moist.
After about a week, with whatever method you use, you will notice the buds have little tips of yellow. This is a signal to bring the branches into your living space.
Continue to spray the branches to maintain moisture. Enjoy!
Step 3: Create the Right Environment
Shrubs thrive in a humid environment. I often arrange Forsythia or Dappled Willow in with moss gardens as they both appreciate moisture to keep lush. It’s a high impact, low cost addition to a spring arrangement.
Place your finished arrangement out of direct sunlight, away from a heat source.
Forcing shrubs to bloom helps us connect to the outside world and allows us to experience the marvels of nature, the blooming shrub.
Happy flower arranging with nature as your teacher.
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5491 Hwy 12, Harriston,
Nova Scotia B0J 2M0.
Our tiny flower farm is situated near Waqmiaq*, now New Ross, in the District of Sipekne'katik, in Mi'kma'ki on the unceded ancestral and territorial land and waters of the Mi'kmaw People. We aspire to be respectful stewards of their land, as the Mi'kmaq have been, and continue to be, for thousands of years. We are all Treaty People under the Peace and Friendship Treaties of 1725 and 1752.
*Waqmiaq is translated as "clean flowing water" on the Mi'kmaw Place Names website https://placenames.mapdev.ca. An audio of its pronunciation is also available.
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