While the weather does not necessarily feel like Spring, you can bring Spring indoors to you by “forcing” plants, according to experts Hershey Gardens.
“Forcing is when you are creating an environment, in this case inside, that is favorable to allow something to bloom that otherwise would not naturally bloom in its environment outside,” Horticultural Coordinator Brooke Umberger said on Good Day PA.
Pussy Willow and Forsythia are two examples of plants that can be easily “forced.” Forcing is also possible with: magnolias, red-twigged dogwood, wisteria, lilac, flowering dogwood, flowering quince, honeysuckle and spicebush, to name a few.
Umberger noted that forcing can be a tricky process. To force branches:
1. Take cuttings from outside – make sure the branch has a lot of buds (preferably that will soon open)
2. Cut the branch on an angle – choose thinner, less mature branches
3. Branches should be anywhere from 1 to 3 feet. (Optional: create slits in the bottom 2-4 inches of the stem to allow the branch to soak up more water and flower quicker.)
4. Put branches in a vase filled with tepid water
5. Replace water once or twice a week
6. Sunlight: direct or indirect is best to help the flowering process along
7. In about two to three weeks, you’ll see blooms
8. Cuttings can be used in floral arrangements or, if properly cared for long enough, they may grow roots and can be planted outside as a whole new plant