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Monday, February 24, 2020

A Leap Month of Little Joys and Satisfactions: Forcing Blossoms Indoors on Cut Tree and Shrub Branches

I don't always get the timing right when taking branch cuttings in late winter to force blossoms. Some years, I cut just a little too soon. The branches don't blossom, but instead, they just sit there growing bacteria colonies in the water. If I am keeping an eye on the cuttings, I'll notice within a few days if buds begin to develop into blossoms. If I have at least a couple of blossoms within 5 to 7 days, I know these branches will do fine. Otherwise, I dump the batch of cuttings and start again in a day or two.

On Friday, I cut about a dozen branches from the forsythia on the side of our house. This shrub is in need of strategic pruning anyway, so I cut away those branches that were blocking access to a walkway. I culled the best 8 branches, trimming the ends so they would all be about the same length, and brought them indoors to a vase of water. 

I've set them on a window seat in the dining room on the north side of the house. On Saturday, I noticed 3 blossoms. Then Sunday, there were several more. I think I got it right with the timing this year. We'll enjoy the forced forsythia blossoms for a week and then it will be about the right time to check the pear trees for branches to cut. I just need to remember to top up the water in this vase every other day.

My grandmother always brought cuttings of blossoming shrubs and trees inside to force. The cuttings were a source of free flowers for her living room. I try to remember all of the ways that she brought loveliness into her home while living on a small budget.


  1. Bringing cuttings in from the outside is a great way to enjoy flowers, especially this time of year. If I didn't live with cats, I would really like doing that. But cats are curious.

  2. I need to do this when I trim my apple and pear trees. Those blossoms smell so good too.

    Live and Learn, I'm chuckling because you mentioned cats' curiosity. We've always had dogs in our home. Last year we had a couple of mice find their way in our home. My husband decided we would get an outdoor cat.

    She is a wonderful hunter, but the dogs eat inside and she is not to be left out. She comes in mornings and evenings and eats her food and usually sleeps on the couch for a bit before heading back out.

    Sometimes she is curious and stalks about the house finding things to get into. We have had so many laughs about her checking every closet, nook, cranny, access panel, whatever, she explores it.

    We also found she loves butter. If someone leaves the butter dish uncovered, she'll get on the counter and eat it. She can get into most everything! Completely different experience than dogs. I'd definitely need to watch what kind of plants I have with her around!


  3. "The branches don't blossom, but instead, they just sit there growing bacteria colonies in the water." That made me laugh out loud! I've had my share of "science experiments" in my house through the years. Lili, your forced flowers are such a cheerful addition to your home.

    Angie and L&L .... oh the curiosity of cats! My cat also likes butter. He also has a weird affinity for anything rubber--we have to be very careful about rubber bands, and when my kids were younger and kept being given a seemingly endless supply of those rubber bracelets, ugh! He was forever finding them! We got my son an indoor archery kit for Christmas one year--I didn't realize they were rubber-tipped until I heard howls from my son because Max Cat had destroyed some of them. Somehow he seems to have survived these experiences ....

  4. Kris,

    I can see a cat wanting to play with rubber bands, or the rubber bracelets. My youngest son always had those rubber bracelets! Either the trend has died down at school, or his class outgrew it. Of course, they are seniors now. Lol.

    I wouldn't have thought about a cat destroying the rubber-tipped arrows. We have had our share of puppy destruction incidents though. Sheesh.

    It sounds like our Molly cat isn't alone with her like of butter. When my husband first brought her home, we already had the dogs, and I didn't want one more animal to care for. She's settled in nicely though, and I enjoy having her around. Her antics bring lots of smiles and laughs. She is a good hunter also, which is nice since we live in the country.


  5. Angie-

    I also have to make sure I take care of drained fat from meat, pronto, or our cat finds his way to that, as well. Like you say, the laughter is worth the occasional hassle of having pets.

  6. Hi Live and Learn,
    Oh, those pesky cats. If we didn't love 'em so much, they'd be annoying. For us, it wasn't so much that our cat was curious as she just always wanted to chew on houseplants and anything like a plant. But we loved her and made sure our house (and plants) was safe for her.

  7. Hi Angie,
    Your comments about your cat and the butter reminded me of our cat from long ago. She loved butter, too. If someone left the butter dish on the counter, uncovered, she was sure to find it and leave tongue marks in it. I threw out so much butter because of her taste for it! And there was NO training her not to jump onto the counters. Believe me, we tried. Oh well, she was a sweet kitty and is still missed.

  8. Hi Kris,
    The branches are even more full today! I'm enjoying them.

  9. Lili,

    Wow, butter must be something cats really like! Our cat is the same, there is no training her to stay off of counters. I'm instead working to train family members to put the cover back on the butter dish.


  10. Ha ha, Angie! I worked at training family members to cover the butter.


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