Forcing Branches 101

One of my favorite things each spring is bringing beautifully evolving branches into my home. While these branches have been bare and grey all winter, they are about to burst forth into the summer flush of leafy shade. Some flower first, others just quietly open into their chartreuse-green early foliage. Both types are magnificent when brought inside and forced into this early growth. Here’s how:

  1. Look for a nicely shaped branch on either a bush or tree. Snip it (this is an early pruning so don’t worry about the tree/bush) at about 3-4′, where it branches into another twig.

Lilac branches

This lilac branch is tightly budded now and ripe for forcing in time to have blooming lilacs on my Easter table.

2. Fill a vessel large and sturdy enough to handle the branch with fresh water. Bush branches are much lighter and can be accommodated in smaller vessels. Tree branches require something much heavier and larger.

Vessels and vasesVessels and vases part 2Vessels and vases part 3

These vessels work beautifully with bush branches and smaller tree branches. Many are available on our website, and all of them are available here in person, Saturday, April 2. (Your last chance to shop Chartreuse before Easter!)

Vessels and vases part 4

These robust vessels are perfect for your larger tree branches. If you need extra heft to stabilize them, place some pebbles in the bottom. Planters, like these concrete options, usually require plugging of their drain hole. This is done simply with a rubber or cork stopper. Some of these are available on our website All of them are available in person, Saturday, April 2 at our Buckeystown, Maryland location.

3. Place the branch on a sturdy surface, with a cutting board under its cut end.

4. Gently hammer the cut end to splay the base, and plunge directly into the water in the waiting vessel.

5. Place your branch(es) where they’ll make a great statement – your entryway, dining room, or kitchen island. They deserve pride of place as the harbingers of Spring that they are.

Forcing branching decor

This fabulous branch display is from @beckiowens feed on Instagram.

If you grab those branches this week and set them in a sunny place, they’ll be spectacular for your Easter celebrations!

Thanks for reading,


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