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Forcing Twigs & Stems to Bloom In Winter

Updated on November 29, 2014

Longing for Springtime? Then force Spring blooms to come early!

Give Mother Nature a helping hand by forcing a naked branch to sprout blossoms! Of course, your branch, twig or stem must come from a blooming tree--like a cherry or pear tree. Forsythia is also a good bush from which to trim a stem to encourage to bloom.

Nothing can make your winter seem brighter than forcing Springtime to come early! It is so easy to do. You can, also, "force" bulbs to shoot up cheerful blossoms or you can force your flowers from twigs or tree branches indoors.

It is easy. It is cheap. You can do it! Watching those little buds emerge is the perfect pick-me-up activity for those cold dreary days of winter.

Keep scrolling to find instructions for this easy winter project!

(the Spring blossom image here is "Hope" from Bonnie Bruno Photography on Etsy-used with permission)

Forced blooms on tree branches from my yard.
Forced blooms on tree branches from my yard.

How I forced my blooms at home

Say goodbye to the weary winter!

At the end of February, I decided to bring color inside and cheer up my dreary house. What did it cost me? Nothing but time. Here is how I did it.

I went out in my yard to a tree that I know has blooms in the Spring. I think it is a "cherry" tree. I chose a few small branches and clipped them using garden snips. I brought the twigs inside and put them in a vase with water and a little dash of household bleach. Then I waited and watched for the little pink buds. Five days later, I was rewarded for my time with lovely light pink buds that turned into blossoms you see in my photo.

I am a total amateur and made some mistakes in choosing my branches, so I found some instructions from pros and will do a better job next year. Keep scrolling down to read the best instructions I could find for forcing twigs and branches to bloom inside.

(the image of those pink blossoms is mine; use with attribution.)

Mickie_G's own blooming twig image.
Mickie_G's own blooming twig image.

I found these simple to follow instructions in Southern Living Magazine

Southern Living Magazine and adapted them for this article.

The image shown to the right is of a short twig (6 inches) that I put in a bud vase. Doesn't it look good with the red candles I had leftover from Christmas?

Cook Time

Prep Time: less than 1 hour to assemble

Total Time: Blooming begins sometimes in less than 1 week.

Serves: Everyone who visits your home


  • Budded Branches from flowering trees-- best if they are at least 12 inches long
  • Pruners
  • Bucket
  • Warm Water
  • Bleach
  • Garden Twine
  • Cut-flower food (purchased; for a home-made additive
  • see the 'recipe' further down the page)
  • Sturdy Vase


  1. Clip 12-inch or longer budded branches using clean pruners. Put them in a bucket of warm water with 1 tablespoon of bleach and a packet of cut-flower food. Keep branches in a cool spot - 50 to 60 degrees - out of the direct sun. Mist frequently. When the flowers just begin to emerge (you can see a hint of color in the bud), begin to make your arrangement.
  2. Remove the budding branches and secure them in bundles with garden twine. Arrange them in your heavy-bottomed vase. Place the vase in full or indirect light. Add fresh water and cut-flower food and change the water every few days to help increase the life of the arrangement of your blooming branches.
  3. Need something? Click: Supplies for cutting twigs and forcing them to bloom.
Cast your vote for Instructions for Forcing Flowering Branches to Bloom Indoors

Reference for forcing twigs and stems to keep on your shelf at home: - learn to force flowering bulbs, too!

Have this handy reference book on your shelf so you can refer to it all year long. Books are so much more permanent than webpages.

Video Instructions for Forcing Branches to Bloom - Tricking branches to flower inside:

Videos provided just in case you want to learn more about how to trick those flowering twigs or branches from blooming trees to flower inside.

Recipe for cut-flower food or floral additive:

An easy to make flower arrangement preservative.

Use a floral additive to make sure you do not get any nasty bacteria in the water.

It is easy to make your own.

Here's How:

Mix in one gallon of water:

4 tablespoons of lemon juice from a real lemon (you might need two)

2 tablespoons of regular table sugar

teaspoon of liquid bleach.

Use this to put in the bucket or vase. You will not have to change every other day but do change the water at least 2 times a week.

(Floral additive can be purchased in powder form and used as well.)

Choose from these spring blooming trees for your twigs to force - (click each blooming image to find out the type of bush or tree it is)

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Eastern redbudForsythiaYoshino flowering cherrySaucer magnoliaFlowering quinceStar magnolia
Eastern redbud
Eastern redbud
Yoshino flowering cherry
Yoshino flowering cherry
Saucer magnolia
Saucer magnolia
Flowering quince
Flowering quince
Star magnolia
Star magnolia

Ideas to Decorate your home using forced branches and twigs: - Additional Forcing Instructions

If you need inspiration for using these twigs of spring, visit the websites below. One of the sites shows how using different vases or containers can dress your home up nice and cozy.

Thanks for visiting!

I hope you enjoyed the information and the "forced" images here. No twigs or stems were harmed in the making of this page.


Below you will find a guest book for visitors. Please share any tips you have for bringing the blooms inside!

Share your blossoms! - Let your words bloom ~

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    • Ilonagarden profile image

      Ilona E 6 years ago from Ohio

      Beautiful tutorial.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      Wow!! Thanks for this great information!!! I am going to try this! Blessed!

    • psycospaz profile image

      psycospaz 6 years ago

      This is really awesome and a must for beating those Groundhogs Day blues! Thank you for the amazing step by step instructions!

    • jenniferteacher1 profile image

      jenniferteacher1 6 years ago

      What a great idea! At this point of winter, I'm really ready for spring, and your directions are clear and detailed enough that I think I can do it!

    • profile image

      lizholy 6 years ago

      Wow, impressive. I am not good with flowers at all, but you did a wonderful job showing me that it is feasible even for amateurs. Thanks!

    • profile image

      ptnjust007 6 years ago

      that's beautiful!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wonderful job getting a purple star on this article ... *blessed*

    • MelonyVaughan profile image

      MelonyVaughan 6 years ago

      What a wonderful idea! I love the detail in this lens. The step-by-step guide seems very easy to follow. I'll try this before the end of this month. Thanks!

    • SoniaCarew profile image

      SoniaCarew 6 years ago

      Great idea! Will have to explore it. Even though I live in a semi-desert country, our winters can get quite brutal.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 6 years ago

      @anonymous: I think it has arrived in the southern US. Most of the plants are blooming now. A bit early, but it is so pretty.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 6 years ago

      @TheLittleCardShop: Good luck!

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 6 years ago

      @Diana Wenzel: You are so very welcome.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 6 years ago

      @jimmyworldstar: This method works only on twigs and branches that have blossoms in the springtime. I would not recommend azaleas or dogwood stems, however. I have photos of the most popular plants for forcing further up the page.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      I have been in such a mood to start some bulbs or bring some early blossoms into my winter home. Perfect timing to find these resources for doing so. Thanks so much for the recipe for cut flower food. Very helpful and appreciated.

    • profile image

      jimmyworldstar 6 years ago

      Does this work on all flowers? I've always heard that you should just make sure the soil is right, and to give the right amount of sunlight and water.

    • TheLittleCardShop profile image

      Malu Couttolenc 6 years ago

      Woww this is a great idea. I didn't know how to force twigs and stems to bloom in winter. I will try these fabulous tips. Thank you :)

    • BobZau profile image

      Bob Zau 6 years ago

      Wow! This is very cool, wait till I tell my wife... she'll be out cutting branches, I'm sure.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love bringing the outside in and you just refreshed me here, congratulations on a wonderful front page feature. I think I smell spring here!

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 6 years ago

      Serendipity! I was just remembering years ago trying to start roses. Just as they began to put on leaves they would die. So frustrating so I gave up. I can see here on your lens some things I missed doing. Maybe I will try again with roses.. I so love them. Angel blessed lens.

    • GaelicForge profile image

      GaelicForge 6 years ago

      This is an absolutely magical thing to do..... excellent!

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 6 years ago from San Francisco

      I have no additional tips to offer. You've covered the topic so well! It was a real treat to see this on the home page this morning. I'm nominating it for Lens of the Day, and I'll follow by spotlighting in the forum.

    • profile image

      Mainelyhappy 6 years ago

      This is so helpful! Here in Maine winter is LONG and I've been wanting to learn how to force some branches. I appreciate your work!

    • MariaMontgomery profile image

      MariaMontgomery 6 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      Hey, Mickie! Thanks for a great lens on forcing buds. I've been thinking of doing this with some of my yellow bells (forsythia). You've just reminded me to get busy with this. Of course, this year they already beginning to open outdoors.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      What an interesting idea. I didn't know you could 'force' twigs to bloom. Nice indoor Springtime in the throes of Winter!

    • HealthfulMD profile image

      Kirsti A. Dyer 6 years ago from Northern California

      Blossom Blessings.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Dear Mickie_G.

      Great to know that you could bring spring and blossoms in the dreary month of winter in your house. They look so stunning in the glass fresh as ever.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 7 years ago

      @poutine: Poutine's blog is: A Little Joy For The Day

    • profile image

      poutine 7 years ago

      Thanks for visiting my blog "A Little Joy For Today"

      and suggesting that I visit this excellent lens.

    • Barb McCoy profile image

      Barb McCoy 7 years ago

      We have done this for the past few years with our forsythia bush and it brings so much cheer to our home. Thanks for the great lens. I am adding to my favorites, lensrolling to my nature lenses, and blessing.

      ***Blessed by an Angel***

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      What a gorgeous idea. I live in Scotland and Spring arrives late here. Maybe this year I'll give it a helping hand!

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 7 years ago

      @jptanabe: It won't be long! Get your supplies so you will be ready.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 7 years ago

      @RhondaAlbom: Go easy and follow the "recipe".

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 7 years ago

      @ohcaroline: Give it a try. It is really easy. I recommend using forsythia if you are a beginner.

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 7 years ago

      Very interesting information. I never thought of doing it.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

      This is really interesting. I wouldn't think bleach would be helpful. Now I'll have to give it a try.

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 7 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Oh this is a lovely idea - when it gets a little closer to spring ...

    • jdwheeler profile image

      jdwheeler 7 years ago

      The woods behind our house are so dead and dried up right now. I can't wait until Spring when it all comes back to life again.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 7 years ago

      I used to do this with forsythia and lilacs! Heaven!