Shrubs and Trees for Late Winter and Early Spring Forcing
from The Frelinghuysen Arboretum
The following table gives times to bloom for forcing branches of local trees and shrubs when cut at various dates.
|Plant name||Days to Bloom
if cut on ...
|Abeliophyllum distichum – White forsythia||20||15||5||Apr 5||Flowers|
|Acer palmatum & japonicum – Japanese Maple||-||20||10||Apr 5||Flowers/leaves|
|Acer rubrum - Swamp or Red Maple||20||10||6||Apr 5||Flowers/leaves|
|Amelanchier arborea – Serviceberry, Shadbush||25||20||15||Apr 15||Flowers|
|Betula spp. – Birches||20||15||5||Mar 25||Leaves|
|Chaenomeles speciosa – Flowering Quince||25||20||10||Apr 20||Flowers|
|Cornus mas – Cornelian Cherry Dogwood||20||10||5||Mar 25||Flowers|
|Corylopsis glabrescens – Fragrant Winterhazel||20||10||5||Apr 5||Flowers|
|Forsythia x intermedia – Forsythia||20||10||5||April 5-15||Flowers|
|Hamamelis x intermedia – Witchhazel||3-7||1-3||-||Feb.-Mar.||Flowers|
|Jasminum nudiflorum – Winter Jasmine||10||5||-||Feb.-March||Flowers|
|Lonicera fragrantissima – Winter Honeysuckle||25||15||5||Mar 25||Flowers|
|Magnolia stellata – Star Magnolia||-||15||7||Apr 15||Flowers|
|Magnolia x soulangiana – Saucer Magnolia||-||15||7||Apr 15||Flowers|
|Mahonia bealei – Leatherleaf Mahonia||-||20||7||Mar 25||Flowers|
|Malus hybrids – Crabapples||-||30||20||Apr 25||Flowers|
|Pieris japonica – Japanese Andromeda||20||14||7||Apr 15||Flowers|
|Prunus spp. & hybrids – Ornamental Cherries||25||18||10||Apr 20||Flowers|
|Pryrus calleryana – Callery Pear||-||20||10||Apr 15||Flowers|
|Rhododendron mucronulatum – Korean Rhododendron||-||20||5||Mar 25||Flowers|
|Spirea prunifolia – Prumleaf Spirea||-||22||12||Apr 15||Flowers|
Cut branches should be soaked for a few hours to overnight in warm water. The easiest way to do this is to lay branches in a bathtub. Place branches in a clean container and fill with warm water. Use a floral preservative to keep bacteria down. About every fifth day, thoroughly clean container, fill with fresh water and give the branches a new cut before re-placing them in the water. To clean the container, fill with warm water and ½ cup of bleach. Let the container soak about one hour, then empty and rinse well before refilling.
The closer you get to the normal bloom time the faster the branches force. In January try pussywillows, winter jasmine and witch hazels since these plants normally bloom in January or February, in February, try March bloomers, etc.
Please note that in warm years, plants will force much easily than in cold winters. The number of days given is an approximation and length of time and may vary.