Forcing Cherry Blossoms or My Power Struggle with Mother Nature

Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms Up Close

Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms Up Close

Sorry for the lack of posts this week.

Mother Nature and I have had a power struggle and it has significantly delayed any communications from me. We’re both in a bit of a huff these days.

She claims she’s mad at me because I’m trying to do her work AND make things happen before their time.

I’m mad at her because I want what I want…


Kwanzan Cherry Tree 2013

My Cherry Tree – Spring 2013 – Mother Nature Did a Good Job Last Year

Mother Nature played a cruel joke on much of the nation with the extended winter.  FINALLY, it really and truly seems to be spring here in the mid Atlantic.  Last week, when we were married, I hoped the famous cherry blossoms would put on a magnificent show and provide an amazing backdrop for our wedding pictures.

Sadly, Mother Nature and I have different priorities.

Resigned that I can’t control EVERYTHING, I thought perhaps since my Kwanzan Flowering Cherry tree has some buds on it, maybe the inside of the house can get some early spring love if I force the buds to bloom early…


Unforced Cherry Blossom Branches from 2013 in my Living Room

Our tree, living in its own special microclimate, is a late bloomer by my neighborhood and regional standards.   Which means it was going to be several weeks before we had our explosion of pom-pom cherry blossoms.

Saturday, I Googled how to force cherry blossoms and hit upon what I thought would be an easy task.  Here are the basic steps:

  • cut some branches with fat buds on them
  • smash the ends
  • peel off the bark
  • put in a bath of warm water
  • wait for the buds to bloom – this is the hard part

Maybe Mother Nature could be coerced… Let’s see…


I started on Sunday by cutting some cherry tree branches that had buds on them.  About 10 -15 branches in all.  I figured if this worked, then I could spread the cherry blossom wealth all through the house.

Cherry Tree Branches waiting to be forced

Sunday, the branches I started with

The directions said to remove the bark from bottom 1-2 inches of each branch and then smash that area to aid in water absorption.  I found that I could simultaneously accomplish two tasks: smashing the bottom ends loosened the bark and made it easy (really easy) to peel off the bark from the bottom of the branches.

Prepping the Cherry Branches - smashing & peeling

Prepping the Cherry Branches how to collage – smashing & peeling

I placed the stems (peeled and smashed ends) into a bucket and filled it with warm water.  A few hours later  I came back, and changed out the now cold water for warm water and left them to sit in the sink overnight.

Smashed Ends of Cherry Branches

Smashed Ends of Cherry Branches

Smashed ends of Cherry Branches

Smashed ends of Cherry Branches

Monday came, and the buds did not look any different, so I changed their cold water for more warm water.  Monday night, there was STILL NO DIFFERENCE.

Tuesday dawned, and there was NO APPRECIABLE DIFFERENCE in the buds, so I went to work.

Tuesday evening:  a few buds started to loosen, but not open yet.

I took this as a sign that perhaps I was wearing old Mother Nature down a bit… All is not lost.

To celebrate, I changed the water in the bucket – yeah, I’m SUCH party animal, right?

There wasn’t much more activity the rest of the week until…


Cherry blossom buds and branches

Few Cherry Blossom Buds

Some Cherry Blossom Buds

Some Cherry Blossom Buds

I have some results, but not what I expected.  I have a FEW blossoms ready to bloom, but mostly, I have forced cherry leaves. SERIOUSLY?!?

forced cherry tree leaves

Forced Cherry Tree Leaves with a few buds ready to bloom

Green leaves are quite pretty, but not the outcome I wanted.  My ego is bruised and Mother Nature is in the corner of my kitchen, snickering at me over her cup of morning coffee.


This weekend, I think my ego will be unbruised enough to try again with NEW branches from my cherry tree.

I’ll let you know how this weekend’s round 2 forcing goes.  I think Mother Nature might end up with at least a black eye in this next round, if not a total TKO. That snickering this morning was so uncool.

What has your experience been with forcing blossoms, cherry or other types of blossoms? Worth it, not worth it?

For me, it wasn’t time intensive – I think I spent more time cropping and prepping the photos for this blog post than I actually spent working to force the blossoms and leaves.