Flowers on a branch

Matthew Ward/Getty Invite the beauty of flowering branches indoors. You can lengthen the life of a freshly-pruned arrangement by heeding the picking, prepping and arranging tips that follow.

1. Cut
Look for branches in your yard that have fat flower buds. Use sharp pruning shears to make a cut flush with an adjacent branch.

2. Smash
Once indoors, make a 1″–2″ slit in each stem bottom with a sharp knife, then smash the slits with a hammer. This prevents resin from sealing the cut end, and lets water penetrate each branch.

3. Dunk
Remove any lower buds and set the branches in a deep tub of lukewarm water (keeping any remaining buds above the water line) for several hours. This will wash off any extra bits of bark and allow the branches to acclimate to warm, dry indoor air. Transfer them into a vase with at least 6″ of lukewarm water.

4. Store
Keep your branches in a cool room (around 60°F) and away from bright light so they don’t wither. Change the water daily until the buds begin to show color.

5. Enjoy
Bring them out into brighter light, but not direct sun, with fresh water in the vase (change the water every other day). Some branches, like pussy willow, will open up in a few days. Others, like forsythia, witch hazel, lilacs, plums, Siberian dogwood, chokecherries, honeysuckle, flowering almond, apples or crab apples, could take a couple of weeks. The blooms will last about two weeks—the cooler the room, the longer they’ll keep.

Sonia Day’s new book, Incredible Edibles: 43 Fun Things to Grow in the City, is available at Amazon.com.

There’s nothing like the sight of blossom on the trees to convince me that spring has finally sprung. After months of seeing bare branches, the froths of pink and white truly lift my heart and mood. When the buds opened this year I excitedly rushed outside with my secateurs aloft to snip off a couple of sprigs to bring inside, but, just a day later I was left with a carpet of petal confetti all over the floor and a sorry-looking arrangement in my vase.

So, I decided some research was needed and managed to uncover some useful tips for keeping cut blossom fresh for longer. These are my findings to help all my fellow blossom-lovers!

1 | Choose the type of blossom wisely

Some varieties of blossom will hold their flowers longer than others. I’ve had greatest success with keeping magnolia and apple blossom in the house for longest. Delicate blossom, like cherry, may only last a couple of days before it needs to be replaced.

2 | Cut blossom in the morning

Early spring can be surprisingly warm and flowers dehydrate as the day goes on. In the morning, plants will be full of water after a night of cool air and a sprinkling of dew. Pop the stems into a bucket of water as soon as you cut them.

3 | Use the right tools

Use sharp secateurs and cut sprigs close to the main branch at a 45 degree angle. This will give you cut stems with a clean cut and also prevent the tree from being damaged. Never use scissors (or worse, try to snap the sprig by hand) as this will crush the woody stems and prevent water intake, as well as potentially harming the tree.

4 | Condition your flowers

Blossom has woody stems which should be split 1-2 cm at the base with a sharp knife. This creates a greater surface area for water to be drawn up. Pop the stems into bucket of lukewarm water and store in a cool place for about 3 hours before arranging in a vase. Warm water molecules move faster than cold water molecules and so can be absorbed by flowers with greater ease.

5 | Create a long-lasting arrangement

Strip off any flowers or foliage that will be below the water level. Choose a vase that will support the stems but where the blossom will not be overcrowded. Blossom petals bruise very easily, so handle them carefully when arranging and touch the flowers as little as possible. Place the finished arrangement out of direct sunlight and away from draughts, to help the flowers last longer.

Do you have any top tips for keeping cut flowers fresh for longer? Perhaps you add lemonade to the water or prepare the stems in a special way – if you do, please share in the comments!

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Forcing Flowering Branches – How To Force Branches To Bloom Indoors

For many gardeners, mid to late winter can be nearly unbearable, but forcing early flowering branches in our homes can make the dreary snow a little more tolerable. Forcing branches to bloom inside is not at all hard to do.

Which Spring Flowering Branches Can Be Forced?

Almost any spring flowering shrub or tree can be forced indoors. But some of the more popular spring flowering branches for forcing are:

  • almond
  • apple
  • cherry
  • dogwood
  • forsythia
  • hawthorn
  • honeysuckle
  • lilac
  • magnolia
  • pear
  • pussy willow
  • quince
  • redbud
  • serviceberry
  • spirea
  • wisteria
  • witch hazel

How to Force Branches to Bloom Indoors

When forcing branches to bloom inside, the first step is to select a branch. In mid to late winter, go out to the shrub or tree that you will be taking branches for forcing. The branches you choose will need to be at least 12 inches long and should have several tight but plump buds on the branch. Carefully cut the branch away from the parent shrub or tree with a sharp clean knife. You may want to take a few more branches than you need, just in case some fail to bloom properly indoors.

Once inside, the next step in forcing early flowering branches is to first carefully split the base of the branch about 4 inches up the branch and then trim an inch off the base. Place the whole branch in warm water. If it isn’t possible to submerge the whole branch, at the very least the cut ends should be placed in warm water.

After the branches have soaked overnight, remove them from the water and place them immediately into the container or vase where they will be displayed. The water in the container should be warm. Place the flowering branches in a room that is between 50 and 70 F. (10-21 C.). Forcing flowering branches will be faster at higher temperatures but you will have better and longer lasting flowers if they are kept at lower temperatures.

The flowering branches will need bright, indirect light in order to bloom indoors properly. Direct light can be very intense and may burn the branches or flowers.

The time it takes to force branches to bloom indoors can be anywhere from one to eight weeks, depending on the variety of flowering shrub or tree you are trying to force and how close it was to blooming naturally outside.

Like any cut flower, you want to make sure that you change the water in the container where you are forcing branches to bloom often. This will help the flowers on the branch last longer. Cool temperatures will also help keep your flowering branch looking lovely longer.

Every March growing up, I watched my mom wield a large pair of hedge clippers and go at the forsythia that edged our front yard. She’d fill a tall cut-glass vase with the naked branches and a little warm water. In the center spot on our sunny kitchen table, the spindly branches would fluff up with brilliant yellow buds within a week. Getting permission to prune my neighbors’ bushes has been a somewhat more difficult task here in Brooklyn.

Luckily for me, flower shops have caught on to the spirit-lifting powers of flowering branches. They stock up. Lately, cherry blossoms have begun to appear in shop windows and cafés around Brooklyn, so the other day I went to my local florist and walked home with an armload. I figured that even if a trip to Japan to see the cherry blossoms wasn’t in the cards this year, I could recreate the magic in my own apartment.

Photography by Erin Boyle.

Above: If you’re anything like me, walking down city streets carrying a bundle of Kraft paper-wrapped branches will make you feel like a fairy queen brandishing an oversized and flowery scepter. At lengths of 4 or 5 feet, cherry blossom branches will turn the head of even the most hardened New Yorker.

Above: Florists typically stock both white and pink cherry branches; I opted for white.

Above: If you don’t have a good pair of pruners at home, you might consider asking your florist to trim the branches. While not too difficult to trim with the right tools, cherry branches are relatively thick and require a bit of muscle to cut to size. Because of the diminutive size of my apartment, I decided to cut off about a foot of branch, leaving me with branches that still stood higher than 4 feet.

Above: The best way I’ve found to arrange large branches is to place a vase directly on the floor. This way, I can manipulate the branches with less risk of knocking artwork off the walls or otherwise causing damage. Having leverage above the branches makes the whole process much simpler.

Above: I used this oversized bedside carafe as a vase because it was sturdy enough to support the weight of the branches and tall enough to forestall tipping.

Above: With fresh changes of water, blossomed cherry branches will last for a week or two indoors. I purchased branches whose buds had already unfolded, but if you’d like to witness the unfurling, choose branches with buds that are still tight. You’ll be able to enjoy the beauty for even longer.

Above: If you have access to a flowering tree of your own, all the better. Consider giving springtime a jump start and prune a few branches directly from your own tree. In my years as a country girl, I successfully forced forsythia, dogwood, cherry, and quince with very little effort. Use a good pair of pruners to make your initial cuts and then use garden scissors or a knife to make several small slits in the base of your branches to encourage water absorption. Within a few weeks, you’ll have flowering branches, indoors.

There is so much more I want to tell you. See Ikebana Arrangement with Magnolia; 5 Favorites: The Best Pruning Knifes; 5 Favorites: Pruners.

N.B.: This is an update of a post originally published March 11, 2013 during our Do-It-Yourself week.

Cherry Blossom Branch Arrangement

A cherry blossom branch arrangement makes an easy and elegant arrangement to welcome spring into your home!

One of my favorite arrangements to make in the spring is this cherry blossom branch arrangement. You can scale the arrangement to the space you plan to use the arrangement, but I absolutely love the impact just a few branches makes on the table!

We have large cherry trees on our property and since they are at their peak, I decided to carefully clip a few blossom branches from each of the trees to make this arrangement. You’ll want to make sure that you use very sharp pruners when you clip the branches to make a sharp, clean cut.

If you do not have access to your own personal cherry trees, you can contact your local florist or extension office for information about where to find them in your area.

Next, gather your branches together and arrange them in your container. I love to use clear, heavy glass cylinders for arrangements. I think they are just classic and work with any tablescape or decor.

To arrange the branches, just begin on the edge of the cylinder and stick one branch at an angle from the rim toward the opposite bottom edge of the cylinder. Then, stick another branch in the opposite direction, being sure to criss cross branches as much as possible to form a structure to hold future branches upright. Finally, stick branches that will stand tallest through the center portion of the branches.

Your fresh cherry blossom branches will lose some blooms as you make your arrangement. They easily brush up, but take care on the surface you choose to make your arrangement.

Once you have your branches arranged, pour clean water into the vase or cylinder to make sure that all of the cuts on the branches are covered with the water. You’ll need to add fresh water every few days as the branches absorb the water to keep them hydrated.

That’s it! You now have a gorgeous cherry blossom branch arrangement that I think you will absolutely love!

Happy Spring!
Robyn xo

SILK CHERRY BLOSSOMS

Wholesale Silk Cherry Blossoms

The captivating Cherry Blossom has long been the symbol of renewal and hope. This sentimental perennial blooms for only about one week each year.

Jamali Garden can make every season Cherry Blossom Season! With the largest selection you’ll find anywhere of artificial silk cherry blossoms — in many colors, from soft, traditional pinks and yellows to a vibrant, hot pink — Jamali Garden is your one-stop shop. All of our flowers are beautifully lifelike and will certainly outlast live cherry blossoms.

Create Dazzling Displays with Our Artificial Cherry Blossoms

For decorating, artificial cherry blossoms can be paired with larger flowers to make an enchanting bouquet. They’re equally impressive when you gather together a bunch of cherry blossom branches of the same color. For even more inspiration, here are some of the most brilliant ideas for using silk cherry blossoms.

We’ve gathered them from event planners, interior designers and brides:

  • – Take a dozen or so artificial cherry blossom branches and cluster them together in a tall, slender, clear vase filled with colored glass marbles. Leaving the branches tall allows this arrangement to be set directly on the floor in an entryway for a gorgeous welcome for your guests.
  • – Create a whimsical centerpiece by mixing cherry blossoms with a decorative peacock feather in a plain black vase for the ultimate in dramatic contrast. The texture variation makes for a glamorous piece.
  • – Event planners, restaurateurs and those hosting at home love being able to use silk cherry blossoms on their buffet or dessert table.
  • – The branches are ideal to be wound around a grapevine wreath for a rustic yet feminine touch at a bridal shower or luncheon.
  • – Consider clipping a small stem off the branch and tucking it into the napkin rings of your table settings.
  • – Create a cherry blossom vine that climbs up the chains of your porch swing as a welcome to spring and porch weather.
  • – Don’t forget spring holiday decorating opportunities for Easter and Mother’s Day! The pretty pastels will make the day that much more special for everybody involved.

With our wide variety of artificial cherry blossom branches online, there are endless possibilities when it comes to creating displays and inspiring guests. Shop today!

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