Cutting Spring Branches For Indoors

Most branches need to be showing color or slightly open and showing color like this forsythia to cut to go indoors.

Most branches need to be showing color or slightly open and showing color like this forsythia.

Cutting long branches of many of the spring flowering shrubs to arrange indoors is my way of pruning them. Forsythia (shown here) flowering quince, winter honeysuckle, star magnolia, saucer magnolia, winter jasmine, and cherry (several types) all do great for cutting to go indoors. Sure you can cut when in full flower, but that limits their length of beauty indoors. I like to cut, i.e. prune, the plants when the branches first show color. That way they will have color when the blooms open and not have faded blooms. When cutting long branches out of these plants, make sure you trace them down to their point of origin in the plant and cut there. This keeps them from branching and putting up more shoots from the stem we removed. Forsythia, flowering quince, winter honeysuckle, and winter jasmine are shrubs that look best when they are left free-form, and also bloom better. Saucer magnolia, star magnolia and the spring flowering cherries should not be topped, and when I cut them to go indoors, I remove branches that cross each other or make the tree look misshapen. Branches cut early like this can last for up to two weeks indoors in a cool room.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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