How to Cut Forsythia Flowers


Forsythia flowers, with their graceful four-petalled star shape, are one of the most vibrant signs that spring has arrived. While they add to outdoor beauty, you can bring their springtime cheer indoors and add them to floral arrangements. Here are some tips on forsythia flower cutting that will help you bring them to full bloom in your home.

How Forsythia Grow

Forsythias are flowering shrubs that can grow from 3 feet to a height of between 8 and 10 feet. They also spread in width to a diameter of 5 to 6 feet. Avoid planting them near the foundation of your house or near large trees, which will compete with the forsythia for sunlight and soil moisture.

How to Prune Forsythia

Do not try to train the forsythia canes into a geometric shape like a fan or rectangle. This will reduce light at the roots and cause poor flowering. Trim the growing tips after the forsythia has flowered. This will induce new growth and more flowers the following spring.

To obtain the best stems for flower cutting, prune the longest stems of the forsythia, called canes, back about 2/5 of their length. By trimming the oldest canes back to within 12 inches of the ground, you can stimulate new cane development. The following spring, cut the stems that have grown the highest for your flower arrangements. Make the cuts with your sharpest small pruning shears. Cut between flower buds as soon as they have formed.

How to Encourage the Forsythia Flowers to Open Indoors

In late February, when the temperature has risen above freezing for about a week, choose forsythia branches that have plump flower buds. Cut the hollow branch on a slight diagonal, and bring the branch inside to a garage or room that is cooler than the main house. Trim off any buds that will be underwater in the vase, to prevent bacterial infection. Strike the cut branch tip with a rubber mallet to crack it for an inch above the tip. This allows a more exposed area for water to enter.

Immerse the cut tip in water in a tall vase as soon as possible after cutting and move the container into the main part of the house where the temperature is steady. Keep the forsythia flower cutting away from direct sunlight until the flowers begin to open, then move them to an east or north window. Once the blooms open, change the water regularly as it gets clouds, and cut the lowest part of the branch off by 1 inch each week.

Make a Flower Preservative for Forsythias

You can add a flower preservative to the forsythia to help sustain the blooms when they open. To make 1 quart of preservative at home, add the following to 1 quart of water that feels warm to the touch: 1 tsp. white sugar, 1 tsp domestic chlorine bleach, and 2 tsp. lemon juice. Stir and keep at room temperature to feed weekly to the forsythia flowers. Use it with any cut flowers.