In the South, we are fortunate to have fairly mild winter weather. However, sometimes Mother Nature will warm things up enough for our flowering bushes, trees, and shrubs to think it is Spring so they begin to produce young buds that cannot survive a bitter cold snap. Some of these buds will bloom and can be enjoyed indoors if you bring them in prior to the shock of the freezing temperatures. I did that yesterday with some lovely Camellia buds from my yard. I simply cut the stem and then immediately submerged it in warm water. One day later, I have blooms!
Forced blooms are very easy to do and so pretty for an early Spring or Easter arrangement. Look at these images below... looks like Spring is just about to burst out! I should have started these a bit earlier so they would be in full bloom for the party. If you are a day out and your branches have not yet bloomed fully, simply re-cut and submerge them in very warm water. That should help.
You can force blooms from your flowering shrubs like Forsythia or Hawthorne that already have budding branches to help Mother Nature along and bring a bit of early spring to your table. I Here's how:
HOW TO FORCE BLOOMS FROM FLOWERING SHRUB OR TREE BRANCHES
Sharp pruning shears or scissors
A large bucket
Household bleach, like Clorox
Cut flower food
STEP 1: Prepare the bucket by filling with extremely warm water. Add 1 teaspoon household bleach and 1 tablespoon cut flower food to the water.
STEP 2: Cut and gather branches from trees, shrubs, or bushes where you can see blooms beginning to form. I always make notes in my garden journal on bloom dates so I know approximately when blooms will happen for different trees and plants. You can also look up anticipated bloom dates for different species online via your state or local agriculture association or flower clubs. Cut 12-18" lengths of branches for a stately and elegant arrangement.
STEP 3: Prepare the branches by making a fresh cut in the stem. The old school way is to crush the base of the stem to allow the plant to absorb water but I find a fresh cut with a very sharp knife or pruning shears will do the trick.
STEP 4: Immediately submerge the cut branch into the prepared water in the bucket.
STEP 5: Place the bucket with the branches in a cool room away from direct sunlight. Depending on how long it takes for the buds to open, you may need to re-cut the stems and change out the water. Once blooms begin to appear, you certainly want to use fresh water and re-cut the stems before making your arrangement. Lightly mist the blooms every other day.