Forcing Forsythia, the Love of Orange

Photo by Capella Kincheloe Interior Design


As I typed the words ‘forcing forsythia’ I heard them spoken in the voice of Sylvester, the cartoon cat who always chased Tweety Bird.

These metal industrial stools cheered me when I came across them this morning via Nest Design Studio. I do love orange, and a jolly little 1940s milk pitcher, a small le Creuset butter pan and a few Staub shallow dishes are practically glowing on my shelves this morning in all their orangeness.

Then the forsythia filled me with longing for Spring—which is a long way away in these northern parts. Just yesterday I found my secateurs under a dusting of snow in the alcove off the porch. (The wind blew snow into every nook and cranny in this last storm.)

I’ll cut forsythia branches to force today. If you’ve never done this, it’s so simple to do: clip branches close to the main trunk of your bush until you have a bundle to fill a vase (or put single branches into a group of glass bottles).

Put the branches in warm water, then fill your sink with very hot water.

Submerge each branch in the sink and (under the water) recut the end at an angle, then cut a one inch slice through the end of the stem (to help the branch absorb the water).

Make your arrangement and put it out to display. The branches will respond to the water and indoor warmth and blossom in due time. They will last longer if you change the water regularly and don’t have them in direct sun or near direct heat. That can be hard in our house, so I just enjoy whatever blooming comes my way. The yellow flowers are dazzling when lit up by sunlight.

Happy winter gardening.

Image from Capella Kincheloe Interior Design, found via Nest Design Studio.

More great information about forcing branches: Fine Gardening.


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

February 13, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Am crazy for your persimmon stools!! And in fact the everything-ness you’ve got going on there!! 🙂 so appeals to me!!

Sue Schlabach 129twigandvinereply
February 13, 2013 at 1:13 pm
– In reply to: spree

Oh, I so wish they were mine!!! I realized I wasn’t too clear with my photo credit (it was way at the bottom). So I just fixed that. Found that image just so inspiring this morning!

February 13, 2013 at 1:40 pm
– In reply to: Sue Schlabach 129twigandvine

Oh that may have been my oops. But I love your idea of forcing forsythia (thpoken like Thylvester!) too of courth!

Sue Schlabach 129twigandvinereply
February 13, 2013 at 1:42 pm
– In reply to: spree

I tawt I taw some forsythia!

February 13, 2013 at 1:01 pm

wow looks perfect wit the interior….Lovely stools

February 13, 2013 at 3:03 pm

When I was in grad school, my studio mate always forced forsythia this time of year. It was always such a welcome burst of color in the middle of winter!

Sue Schlabach 129twigandvinereply
February 13, 2013 at 5:51 pm
– In reply to: cindyricksgers

Yellow in later winter is pure tonic! I agree.

February 13, 2013 at 7:17 pm

I’ll have to try this. Tim would be so impressed!

Sue Schlabach 129twigandvinereply
February 13, 2013 at 7:27 pm
– In reply to: Twila

You should! I did it this evening and it took about 15 minutes.

Barbara Bamber | justasmidgenreply
February 14, 2013 at 10:33 am

I’m so glad you shared how to do this! Now I need to find a forsythia tree/shrub?? Maybe we don’t have them here, if not, I’ll be buying a few pre-forced branches from the flower shops! I love orange too.. it’s such a happy, dancing color!! xx

Yellow Blooms, Late February |reply
February 24, 2013 at 3:03 pm

[…] days after I brought forsythia branches indoors I found the first three flowers opening. By today—day eleven—the whole arrangement is showing […]

Leave a reply