Date of this Version



© 1988, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


This guide explains the procedure for forcing flowering branches, discusses the use of flowering branches in decorating or display and provides a chart of plant type, color, cutting and forcing times.


Branches from flowering trees and shrubs can be forced into bloom easily and inexpensively. Flowering branches can bring the outdoors inside and add color during a long winter. These branches also give the floral designer some unique and inexpensive alternatives.

Trees and shrubs which bloom early in the spring form flower buds the previous fall before dormancy. After at least 8 weeks of cold weather (under 40° F) the branches are ready to overcome dormancy and are capable of blooming. By undergoing spring-like temperatures and moisture, the flowers are forced open.

Successful forcing depends on the type of plant, cultivar, stage of dormancy, and temperature. This publication provides guidelines for successful forcing.