Yup, stick it in a bucket and force it to bloom

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Ok, its January, I am ravaged with cabin fever. I am grabbing my snow suit, mittens, cutters, a hammer and a five gallon bucket and going out in the polar tundra and pruning some forsythia branches....nuts you say.. yeah, nuts to be going outside!!

When I am through I am gonna beat the ends of those branches to near a pulp, bundle them up in the bucket, fill it with water and stick them in a closet for ten days. If they do not have blooms by then....no telling what I'm gonna do!

Rigth now I already have aussie willows in a bucket and well, they are rooting.. and sporting little teeny tiny blooms and well... I am excited they wil be turning into trees for me later on.

Perth,, ON(Zone 5a)

sometimes you have to grab spring by the horns....

well done!

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

LOL! Yep, drivenbonkers....(hey you stole my handle!!! LOL!) Right now if I was in the same den with a grizzle bear I would be fighting him for the door!~ Dang I am not big on winter a-tall!

Well, bucket number 2....Yup, I got it loaded with forsythias...I do not expect them to root.. I just want flowers!

Tomorrow, its the lilac bushes for bucket number three.

at this rate I am gonna need a bigger closet! LOL!

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Well, due to the cold I chickened out on some my wanting to bring the whole garden in the house so it is only several of the following twigs for some what of a change of menu in bucket number 2. While it does have forsythias, it also has apple, lilac, snowball, flowering almond and a few hibiscus. I woudl do other flowering trees or shrubs, but I am afraid these are all I have in my garden so my access is limited.

Hope someone out there is trying to force some goodies too!


Presenting the aussie flowers!!

This message was edited Jan 21, 2009 8:42 PM

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Aaaaaah! And my aussie willow twiglets with the roots!

My future trees to be!

Welp, back in the water for you little ones... and if your really good, I will bring you out of the closet in a few days so you can start getting some daylight!

london England, United Kingdom

Hi Blossom, You have been busy! After I cut my twigs, are you saying they should be in the dark?
for how long? Thanks for the ideas, I'll go and see what I can find!!!

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Hi Terri!

Well, I have done it several different ways , both in the dark and out.

While I have not kept any records on this, it does seem that if you keep them in the dark, they bloom a tad faster, but not by much. They want to reach for the light! Just like potatoes growing in the pantry!! LOL!

The forced blooms need the light to get their richer natural color, but it just seems that in the dark they pop better. The dark trics them into thinking its time to grow...I generally move them out on or around the 10th day, depending on how fast they start. Every season is different. Deepends on how early spring is coming on too. This year our spring should be here (hoping) by March.. other years its a month or two later.

If you crush the ends, they bloom a tad faster too, but if you do not crush the ends, they still bloom and some will take root especially the willow species - pussy willows, the aussies, all willows and sometimes the forsythias will root, but I have not had great luck with those.

I have had a huge request for willows this year so I will be doing them literally by the barrel outside and in day light as time goes on to the season. Might even fill the horsetrough to get quanities... The ice storm we had this winter has pushed us to where we have to do some serious pruning on the willows and well, no sense wasting good cuttings on the clean up! But those, I am forcing for trees as I have a request for a long fencerow.

You need to watch your supply of water if any have rooted because the water will drop below the root line on the cuttings and you want to keep them going with ample fluid!

Now mind you, when the twiglets are forced, you are not going to get the wonderous ample foliage as when they bloom on the vine so to speak and the blossums will often be some what miniatured!
But lovely all the same and some do force better than others!

We used to do the forcings for garden club for the early season flower show arrangements, especially the forsythia and lilacs, the forsythia get a fair size, but the lilacs come small.

Enjoy experimenting! Some do get messy losing bud sheaths when they start popping so you may want to spread paper under the buckets or prepare to pull the vac out!

Here in this pic of my aussies...you can see by the pale color of these new leaves they are already suffering for light.. so it is time to get them out of the closet to get them to color up!

Now later when I go to plant these new trees to be, they will suffer die back on the blooms and leaves.. not to worry mate, there....these trees once planted will re-grow new growth and grow the wood at an amazing high speed. This has to be one of the most amazing trees I know. (Mind you too, these are similiar to the patented AUSTRAILLIAN WILLOWS, but mine are not trademarked and they bloom, the other patented one does not bloom flowers. Mine is a hybrid of that specie though, but not sure how related!

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Here is bucket #2, my a little of this and that group!

Now on my forsythias...a few weeks ago in the garden they were sporting nice healthy buds. I should have cut them then and before the ice storm hit so their buds are hurt by that ice and I almost do not expect them to perform for cutting, but time will tell.

The rest of the cuttings were not bite so hard by the ice because they naturally sport their bloomers later, so they should do ok, but again, we shall see as there are no gaurantees!

Today, the first bucket of aussies get kicked out of the dark. Ya know, I once had a farmer trade me some calves for these trees!! (*g* hint hint!! LOL! of course I made him a good number of them for his lovely heifers and we were both very satisfied... that was the year I told my hubby I was gonna get some calves some how and some way, if I had to pull them out of the trees to do it...hmmmm open mouth... and what happenes....the cows came home!!) I got my moos, and he got a nice fencerow! No beefs there!

london England, United Kingdom

Thanks for all the hints and tips Blossom!
My SIL has some willows, maybe I should phone her up and ask her to get snippin'!
Took a pic of some Forsythias here in my garden, but haven't cut them or beat them yet!!

Look!!!!!! Blue sky and a bit of sunshine today! makes a change from all the dull days we've had recently.

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Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Hey terri, looks like you guys are near on the same weather calender as us. Do you also get snow there?

If the SIL has the weeping willows, those are awesome for florals as I am sure you well know! They are messy just like my tall willows though. In a couple weeks my aussies will be leaving me a pile of shreads in the house from their blossoms to clean up.

I have sun today.. am praying my hydrant did not bust a pipe under ground here....hope too, that nasty old man winter takes a hike already!

Take note of the quality of your buds that you are forcing so you can compare next time or with others here if they too decide to try this!

Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

Blossombuddy - boy, you have lots of experience with forcing blooms. I am afraid I have no closet space for any forcing LoL. Too jam pack with "junk".

Terri - I wish my forsythia was as big as yours. Mines grow soooo slowly. I went to take a look at it several days ago, and in poking around, I lifted one of the bent over branches, and look what I found. The branch looks like it has rooted where it touched soil.

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Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

So, I potted it up to see what happens. If this works, Blossombuddy, maybe this is the way to go since they don't root well for you in water.

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Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Wow soils, that's a great root start! I have taken the green shoot cuttings of the forsythias and just shortly after they burst out in the spring. I take tip 3" cuttings and dip them in rooting hormone and than put them in plant trays keeping them moist and in the greenhouse and have had some luck that way...I had only one year where my forsythia wood cuts started roots in the bucket, but these cuttings today are just to get them to flower...

I imagine you could take your forsythias and bend them down and try rooting them either on the ground or even bent to a pot using a "hairpin" (well maybe a flat would work best! I have seen it done that way too! Some people will take moss and wrap a branch and root them that way, but I don't know the full secret on doing them (or any woody) thus and never tried.

I will do tip cuttings of spirea and boxwood as well.

Are those your D-dddaylilies! (I am a hemero-haullic!) I am sooOOoo jealous!! Just humour me and tell me it is not so! It will prevent the head rush I get when I see daylilies I do not have!

They are really verrry pretty cattails rrrrright!?!?! ;^} LOL!!

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Ima thinking soils, perhaps you might want to trim that cutey up to get her more upright and give her a better tall shape? Then her young energy would be better spent on the root and the new growth to come? Just a thought! She does have a hefty root for starts now! :^)

Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

Hi Blossombuddy - I can truly humor you by saying that they are not daylilies. They are actually Amaryllis belladonnas - they give a great green-ness to the yard during the winter months.

Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

BB - thanks for that suggestion. It does look quite spindly, doesn't it?

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

LOL!! soils, I am speechless! I can never get amaryllus' to last more than a bloomin' season in a pot in the house in the winter!! But they sure are beautiful! I don't think they like my zone for my winter! I am positive I could kill it! Not willingly of course!!

Perth,, ON(Zone 5a)

BB, I've managed to keep amaryllis alive and reblooming for a few years, but have found (inadvertently, lol) that they appreciate or need a rest or dormant period.

end of summer, stop watering them, and put in a cool (not cold) dark spot for a few months.

Then in February or so, when you are craving something green and sprouty, bring them back into the warm/light and water.

I've even planted them out in the garden for the summer. Popped them in a row after they've bloomed. Fed them up with a bit of well composed manure and left them to it.

Then before the first hard frost, dig or pull them up and put them bare root in a cool dark spot for the winter. The key here is to get them before the frost does, lol.

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Aaaah! Will have to try that the next time I get some! I love having them in the house though and blooming for Christmas. I always seem to sucker out and go buy one or two. Just to enjoy the blooms and I end up tossing the bulbs. I will try to keep them...but what I have done was just let them go dormant in their pots... those beautiful huge storebought bulbs would always shrink up on me and often got mushy so I stopped wasting my time and woudl chuck them.

So ok, now next time I do them, how would one get them on schedule to sprout for me at Christmas?....I would imagine if I pop them in the fridge, that might help, but when and how long... and then what is suggested for fertilizer on the pot bounds? I suppose to, when in the fridge, unpot them...

I also enjoy doing ziva (paperwhites and other springbulbs for that time of year) but those I generally will leave in the garden and dig up in fall and just bring them in. That seems to be ok with them. But no, the amarylus are picky with me! I can gaurantee a kill on them sadly.

Do you have a pic of yours in bloom?? They have to be gorgeous in such a nice big patch! Drooling for a glimpse!!

Perth,, ON(Zone 5a)

sadly, BB, the frost got mine a couple years back.....

I think that if your bulbs went mushy, they were getting too much water? I know they take an enormous amount while in bloom (that stalk holds an amazing amount of water) but once the blooms start to fade, I stopped watering mine...... until the soil was completely dry, down a couple inches.

If I were to get saved dormant bulbs going again, I'd be tempted to take a hint from stores that have the bare bulbs on sale, Once they appear in the stores, pull yours out of storage, and get 'em growing!

That reminds me, everything is on sale now, may be able to pick up a 'past it's prime' amaryllis bulb to coddle for a bit.....

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Running to store.. going to look for bargain... LOL!

Actually they got mushy as they were drying out. I quit watering them after the bloom like you said...and then left them to stand in the pot until I thought they were dry and they were no good. Should I have maybe taken them out of the pot after bloom? Greens and all? I think what I did was let it die back in the pot and just stored it in the pot and all and then when I checked it thats when I discovered it was mushy.. can't remember how long after the die back....I am thinking back. maybe I should have took it out of the pot shortly after die back to store. Then popped it in the fridge, but don't know how long to get it going to pop blooms for Christmas... Need to find the professional schedule on that one I think!

This message was edited Jan 23, 2009 9:45 AM

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Well, here is the update on the aussie bucket and do they ever smell gooood! The flowers of these cuttings are infertile so there is no growing these by seed! The trademarked AUSTREE which this is very similiar to does not bloom.

Looks like my snowball bush will be next to pop, but they are slow so it will be a few more days before anything is worth showing on them.

Terri, hows your forsythis cuttings coming?

london England, United Kingdom

The aussie bucket looks fabulous!

OOpps I forgot to do the Forsythia, then we had snow,...... got distracted ......
I'll put it on my to do list along with the rest of the things I keep meaniing to do!

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Hurry before the snow melts!!! Otherwise they will be bloominh on their normal time!!

london England, United Kingdom

The florists gave me these twigs...... don't know what they are! They are starting to get blossom .
I added a few Hypericum.

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Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Hey Terry! Glad you got some buds going! I am not too sure what you have there either. Taking a wild guess apple or lilacs!! LOL!

I have forsythias starting to pop! The big green bud above it is a snowball I think! LOL I have a variety in that bucket and did not mark my cuttings so we shall see what order they open in!

Have a lovely day!

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

I forced some forsythia branches in early January and they were so lovely I went back for more. But that was after our temps dropped to -7 F, so I'm worried that this last batch won't bloom. It's been a few weeks (a friend said they can take up to 6 weeks), and while I've had two pretty blooms, I'm mostly seeing leaves pop out, which I didn't have with the other cuttings. You think they'll eventually bloom?

I'd also like to root some forsythia but I'm not sure of the best season or method. If these cuttings look like they're trying to root, I'll stick 'em in some dirt and see what happens. But should I take more cuttings specifically for rooting (now or in a different season?), use some rooting hormone, and put them in some sort of growing medium? Can you just dig up a chunk of the bush and roots and divide them out that way? Sounds faster, if it will work.

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Hiya Indy-v!

The best luck I have had with rooting forsythia is to do tip cuttings and put the cuttings in rooting hormone and potting soil.

The bucket method is great for forcing them to bloom, or in your case leaf out. If you are leafing, I would say the -7 degrees may have triggered them not to bloom. Did you put the bucket in the dark when you started? That usually fools them to thinking it is a change of season...but you need to do that for about 10days to 2 weeks then bring them to the light. If you take them too close to spring, then they are sometimes beyond blooming if you have suffered a cold snap and teh cold sets them back again. But maybe they will bloom, just wait and see. If all else fails when the temps get warm for outside, just leave them in the bucket and forget about them other than to keep the bucket full for several weeks and see what happens, Cant hurt! Worse you can have is a bunch of dead cuttings! LOL

Rooting most woodies does not work in the bucket. However it does work well for species that like its feet wet, case in point willows...

Check the roots on these puppies! These are the willow cuttings I started this thread with!

Um, when you try to start your new forsythias for rooting, take about a 3 inch tip cut. You can use a flat cell tray to do a bunch in and keep the potting medium damp. It helps to do them in a greenhouse so you can over the top water them too. Least as this is what works for me!

I have only had one year where I started cuttings like this in the bucket where I was forcing blooms. For some reason I left the bucket outside and well, they started getting root nubs so then I planted them in pots and kept them soggy until fall and planted them then. Maybe someone else has a way that works for them.

I do spirea and boxwood the same way. I am going to try some flowering almonds this year.. never tried them that way, but wahat the heck!

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

Congrats on your roots! Those are lovely!

I didn't know about the darkness thing until I read your thread - so no to that. Oh well. Temps are climbing and before long the whole bush will be in bloom. It's a big unruly thing (I like!) somewhere around 20+ feet long.

Funny thing is that I gave the cuttings to a handful of friends. Most of whom are wondering why I gave them these dead sticks. :o) I'll be disappointed if they don't prove me right and burst into yellow bloom. But I guess that's up to the forsythia, not me.

Happy gardening - or whatever it is we're doing. It won't be long before we're seeing seedlings pop up! (I keep looking at the backs of my seed packets, as if I might have missed the sentence that says, "Start indoors, 3 months before your last frost date." hee hee.)

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Indy-v - start your cuttings for forced branches on January 15th.. mark yer calender for next year for forced blooms!!!

Hey we had 65 degrees today.. was running around with out a coat...
talk about extrem.. just a few days ago...20 below.... ouch, but if this keeps up great! I like 65!

Do you ever get to Rensalaer??

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

Yeah, the temps are crazy, but I'm loving the warmup.

I drive by Rensselaer on my way to Chicago but have never stopped. Should I? Is that where you are? Ever make it down to the big city?

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

No, but there is one heck of a daylily farm in Morocco! And yes, you should stop, because she has more than just 2500 varieties of daylilies!! LOL! I get out that way almost once a year. Usually try to go about June... Peak bloomers then! (and everyone thought I was crazy with having some 500 kinds in my collection!! LOL! NOT!)

Been a while since we have been down to Indy. I am not in the Hoosier state I am one west! ANything good in that part of the woods? Besides fast traffic?

Well, nothing new in my buckets today infact I am disappointed on the forsythias...they are dropping buds so I might not have much more in forced flowers. Maybe my others will still surprize me.

I am laughing my self silly!! that statement on the packets.. start indoors 3 weeks or what ever Before the last frost date...like we all really know don't we!! LOL LOL LOL! Dang I lose more seedlings that way!

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

A daylily farm? Sounds gorgeous! If you have a link to the details, please share. Maybe I'll make a trip up there.

Yeah, we have a little more than just fast traffic. But probably not much different than what you have in Illinois. Coupla sports teams and stadiums that I don't pay much attention to. Lots of corn. You know, the usual midwest stuff. :o)

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Nah, I am about 70 miles south of Gary...

Yeah, well least your speedy cars arent running around with bumperstickers that say, Illinois, where the Governors PRESS THE LICENSE PLATES! (I am sooo ashamed of them all pride has been lost!) Beam me up Scottie, I wanna move to a place where morals still mean something and the weather is more pleasant. Too bad the dang ecomomy is stuck at the pump.

I wish the Daylily Farm had a link cuz I would be happy to put that here, so check yer D-mail I will send her phone as soon as I find it! If you know where Rt 24 is at Kentland, at 41 North, go north on 41 from 24 to Morrocco and make a right, its about 4 to 5 country miles or so on the Morrocco road heading east. You cannot miss it, just go until you see her blooming fields! There is a sign that says DAYLILY FARM on the right hand side of the road... but your best to call for an appointment and as for Lynda.

I usually go, take a friend and each of us try to buy different plants and then trade a couple fans amongst ourselves so we all get a pile of variety! The DL's are field grown and not in pots so they dig them the day you buy them.. and fair prices too!!!!

(GO #24~) whoooooosh! Zoooom! Got milk!

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

indy_v check out the thread:


Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Well, looks like the forsythia here did not do much. They were a disappointment. But I do have some others budding. Maybe tomorrow I can tell what they are!

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Yup, today I can definitely tell some of the branches are from the snowball bush!

Looks like the apple blossom and the lilacs are going to pop too, least I can ID those branches now!

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Lilacs...well leaves anyway

Huntington Beach, CA(Zone 10a)

When you say "Snowball Bush", are you talking about Viburnums?
I have one and wanted to know how to propagate it myself. Would this be the time of year to do it?


Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Well, yes, I beleive snowball is also called viburnum. Um, this thread is for forcing wood cuttings to bloom. Sometimes they will root in the bucket, but it is not often.

For propagating, I suggest taking tip cuttings of your parent viburnum or what ever you are trying to start that are about three inches long once they are leafing and then dip those cuttings into root hormone and poke them into a flat of potting medium. Keep moist, but do not over water and hopefully they will root.

Later when I start propagating my soft woods I will start a thread ok!

In the meantime, hope that helps.

Here is the appleblossom I forced.. it is not showing bloom yet, just leaves.

All the cuttings here on this thread are still in the bucket as per the beginning!

Forcing them to bloom, basically for flower arranging for early spring.


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