I have never successfully forced forsythia before but the need to encourage spring this year combined with a timely how-to article at Apartment Therapy inspired me to try again. I had scoped out the various forsythia bushes and knew from last year that the ones planted up near the interstate highway were a variety that had a relatively tight blooming pattern. David and I cut a collection of branches about 5 weeks ago and I brought them home and followed the directions in the how-to article. And it worked. After about 3 weeks in a dark closet color started appearing and buds slowly started opening. I created a twig arrangement in a low bowl. It has lasted about 2 weeks and the first green leaves are starting to appear.
I also created a second arrangement for out in the sun room. This one is more effective with a larger grouping of branches. Next year I will aim to have a few more branches for the fuller effect.
I am going to quote the steps for this process here in case the linked page disappears. I want to be able to reference back in the future. Apple blossoms might be beautiful if they don't trigger allergies! I do know where there is an old apple tree!
by Leah Moss/ Apartment Therapy
• For high, select branches that are at least 12 inches long and that have a lot of buds
• Cut branches from the tree or bush with pruning shears or scissors and trim the ends, removing any smaller twigs and buds toward the bottom 6 inches of the branch (or any part that will be under water once in a vase and will rot)
• Using sharp scissors or kitchen shears, carefully slit the branches at the end in several directions. The slits should be about ¼ to ½ inch long.
• Mash the slit ends into a hard surface so the ends splay out slightly to encourage the branch to absorb water (I used the concrete sidewalk as my hard surface).
• Completely submerge the branches in a container of cool to lukewarm water so that not parts are sticking out (a bathtub or utility sink are good places for longer branches) and leave to soak over night.
• Place the branches upright in a bucket or their vases and move to a room or area that doesn't get a lot of natural light (I use the hall closet, but a basement or dark corner would work too), and leave for a week or two or until the buds begin to show little signs of color. During this time add water as needed.
• Move to their permanent location, and enjoy the blooms! Depending on the type of branch, the flowers will take between 1 and 3 weeks to reach full bloom, and may last for several additional weeks. (My dogwood branches usually last for a month at full bloom!)
©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy