Extend the season by forcing branches from spring-blooming trees and shrubs to flower indoors.
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For a colorful display in midwinter, cut branches from spring-blooming trees and shrubs and bring them inside. With a little bit of help, you can force them to bloom earlier indoors.
Pussy willows are a good choice for forcing inside. The stems are tough and woody, so crush the cut end with a hammer or cut into it with clippers to help the branches take up water once they're placed in a vase. Cherry, flowering quince and forsythia stems can also be cut and forced in the same way.
Place prepared stems in a vase of warm water in a well-lighted room. A drop or two of hydrogen peroxide will speed the blooming process. If you want the blooms to last longer, place the cut branches in a cool room in low light.
You can also cut pussy willow branches off the plant at exactly the stage you want them. Bring them indoors, but don't put the branches in water. Just spray them with hairspray, arrange them in a vase or similar container and they'll last a long time.
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