Bring Cuttings from Plants Indoors to Force Spring Plants to Bloom.
Garden Guru Ron Wilson from Garden Center Natorp’s tells us how to force spring plants to bloom by bringing the cuttings from plants indoors.
The problem in the garden this week is simple; spring is still a few weeks away! But guess what? You can bring spring indoors early. One of the easiest ways to bring cuttings from plants indoors during late winter is to force the stems of spring flowering plants into bloom for indoor display. These spring bloomers have gone through their cold weather requirements and should bloom indoors given the right conditions.
Cuttings from Plants: Easy Bloomers
Three of the easiest to force are forsythia, flowering quince, and willows. And the process is simple. Take cuttings from your spring bloomers, generally 18 inches to 3 feet long. Place the cuttings in a large vase or container filled with luke-warm water. Place the vase in a sunny location and then begin misting your cuttings once a day with luke warm water. Also, be sure to check the water in the container, to make sure it’s fresh. If it’s cloudy or smelly, replace it with new water. Using a floral preservative in your water may help keep it clearer. Cuttings from plants like forsythia will probably bloom the quickest (takes about a week and a half), with the quince taking about 2 weeks or so. And the willow, well it’ll pop out within a few days, and after a couple weeks, guess what? They’ll even begin rooting in your vase!
Cuttings from Plants: Try Fruit Tree Branches
Now just about any cuttings from plants that are spring flowering can be forced indoors – fruit trees, ornamental pears, redbuds, mockorange, honeysuckle, even dogwoods and magnolias. So, if you’re getting tired of waiting for spring, head outside, and bring spring indoors a few weeks early.
Don’t toss those green onion roots
Here’s something else you can be doing while waiting for spring. If you’re like me, I love using green onions in cooking or eating fresh. But did you know that these left over bottoms, can produce more green onions for you? First, make sure you have green onions that have white roots at the bottom of the bulb. Go ahead – cut them up and use the top part of the green onions as you normally would, but be sure to leave the bottom inch or so (with roots) and just a tad a green showing.
Grab a small pot with good drainage, and fill it with a good soil-less potting mix. Then, plant the bottoms of the onions, about 1-2 inches apart, and deep enough to only leave a bit of the green showing above the soil line. Place your pot in a sunny window, and water about once a week, or whenever the soil feels dry to the touch. In a short period of time, your onions will begin to re-grow, and will be ready for their second harvest. Let the green tops reach 5-6 inches, and then harvest the new shoots individually with a pair of scissors. Leave the onions in the soil, and they will continue to re-grow new green shoots, even after the second and third harvest, and for quite some time.
Wild Green Onions: Yum!
In between crops, feel free to head outside and harvest onion tips from the wild onions growing in the lawn and landscape beds. (Note from Rita: make sure you have a positive identification and only pick “clean” wild edibles – wild onions look like onion chives and are much stronger – great for your cardiovascular system).
Spring, fall, even cooler summers, they’re growing like crazy, they’re very edible, and you know what I say – “99 cents at the grocery, free in your backyard!” (By the way, you can do the same with garlic bulbs and cut the greens on top.)
From Rita: My friend and master gardener Ron Wilson from Natorp’s Garden Store in Cincinnati is an amazing resource for information just like this tip to force spring plants indoors. You can listen to Ron’s radio show in Cincinnati or on the web at In the Garden.