Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia

Forcing Yellow Bells to Bloom

Yellow Bells Forsythia in Vase

When I was a girl Granny would go out into the cold and cut sprigs from her yellow bells and bridal wreath bush. She’d put the limbs in a pitcher of water in the kitchen. In about a week they would sprout in full bloom even though the winter wind was still blowing outside.

Several years ago I got spring fever and decided I wanted to force some blooms in my kitchen. A few quick searches showed me most bloom forcing directions are complicated. I decided to do what Granny did (that’s what I should have done in the first place!) and put my branches in a container of water by my kitchen window.

In a few days I had spring blooms brightening my kitchen while there was a skiff of snow outside on the ground.

With the warm temperatures we’ve been having this week our yellow bells and bridal wreath bush will soon be blooming outside, but until then I have enjoyed the yellow bell sprigs singing their song of spring of the year in my kitchen.

Last night’s video: Winter Depression in Appalachia – I’d Rather Be In Some Dark Hollow.


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  • Reply
    February 25, 2022 at 10:48 pm

    Fresh flowers of any kind always brightens up a room, the mood for the day and brings a big smile to ones face.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2022 at 8:17 pm

    Tipper, I didn’t know this would work for bridal wreath, thank you – will give it a try in a little while. It’s such a gift to have blossoms in the house when the world outside is still cold. But instead of “forcing” I always call it “encouraging” 🙂

    • Reply
      February 26, 2022 at 8:41 am

      Quinn- I love that!

  • Reply
    Melissa P. (Misplaced Southerner)
    February 24, 2022 at 2:28 pm

    Well, I’ll be! Here I am this late in life and I didn’t know one could cut sprigs of yellow bells and get them to bloom inside? I also didn’t know that they could be rooted like that. Does it have to be sprigs that are already showing that they’re starting to wake up? Should I have been pruning mine to make them bloom more? We have them that grow every which way but don’t bloom a whole lot.

    • Reply
      February 25, 2022 at 6:54 am

      Melissa-the ones I brought in were barely budding out 🙂

  • Reply
    February 24, 2022 at 1:42 pm

    I am thinking your beautiful little yellow bells are what we call Forsythia. I have done that very thing, by bringing them in and placing in water. I did this to let them root. After they rooted, I planted them and they did well. They are one of the easiest things to root and plant that I have done. I have had success with other cuttings also including the Weeping Willow. So much success that my yard was being taken over, and I had to eliminate some great plants. I have one neighbor that has them planted as a type of hedge. So much joy in such simple things.

  • Reply
    February 24, 2022 at 12:09 pm

    I had never heard of a yellow bell. From the picture, I think it is known as forsythia here. Did you know you can bend a yellow bell’s branch down to the ground, put a rock or something heavy to hold the branch down, and the branch will root to the ground? Love these lovely yellow flowers in spring. So cheerful.

  • Reply
    Shelia Nelson
    February 24, 2022 at 11:04 am

    I’m fixen to go get a few limbs off my yellowbell as soon as I send this comment! My Mamaw and Mama always said they were the easiest thing in the world to root–just take a low limb that’s touching the ground and bury the end of it. It’ll sprout and you’ll have another bush, and you don’t even have to cut the limb! They are the cheeriest of shrubs–the Creator knew what He was doing when He made the color yellow! It’ll brighten your spirit!

  • Reply
    February 24, 2022 at 11:01 am

    Here in SE PA is the first place I noticed and planted forsythia. In one of your previous posts years back, you had mentioned “Yellow Bells,” I thought oh my goodness that is exactly what my Mother called them many years ago. I was down South one year in February and looking down a fence row I saw a tiny pink bloom. Mother said it was Hawthorn, just a little sprig of pink in the dreary winter month sure looked beautiful. I’ve brought yellow bells in and let them bloom in winter months too. Wanted to say too, Katie did an awesome job of singing in your video!!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    February 24, 2022 at 10:35 am

    You foresaw my endeavours again. Cut some daffodils the other day and while I was at it I added one stem of forsythia. The buds were sorta small and I was a bit doubtful they would bloom. But I checked a bit ago and several bloom have opened. Glad you said “in about a week”. Without that I might would have gotten too impatient. Now I need to go cut a bunch of stems and get them started. We may all be looking for some cheer by and by.

    I’m wanting to plant some early things but I know I’m pushing it. Think I’ll do it anyway.

  • Reply
    Sharon Cole
    February 24, 2022 at 10:06 am

    It always lifts my spirits to see these beautiful yellow blooms. Spring isn’t far away!!! Take care and God bless

  • Reply
    Ray C. Presley
    February 24, 2022 at 10:05 am

    Tipper, You’ve done it again! Raised our spirits with the beautiful, bright Forsythia against your bright yellow walls. I love these plants as well as willows, which are also easy to get to sprout and bloom. I’m sure you know that all you have to do in order to grow a bush or tree from one of your cuttings is to take them outside when the ground is not so solidly frozen, loosen the dirt, place the twig into the trench and perhaps cover it with a brick or stone. We have a whole row of Forsythia as well as several hybrid willow trees that I’ve started this way. Nature asks very little of us – just a hand to get started.

  • Reply
    Susan Robinson
    February 24, 2022 at 10:03 am

    Are those what we call forsythia here in Indiana? I have a bush in my front yard and always bring these delightful sprigs in at the darkest days of Febru-worry!!

    • Reply
      February 24, 2022 at 2:19 pm

      Susan-it is forsythia 🙂

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 24, 2022 at 9:32 am

    Will those yellowbells take root if you leave them there like that?

    • Reply
      February 24, 2022 at 9:59 am

      Ed-they will 🙂 I’ll have to figure out where I want to plant them.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    February 24, 2022 at 8:16 am

    Tipper–Pussy willows can be forced as well, and they are even earlier than yellow bells. I have to wonder if you couldn’t do the same thing with spice bush, and if so you’d not only have visual beauty but a lovely fragrance.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    February 24, 2022 at 8:12 am

    I do believe what you call yellow bells are called forsythia here. I think they’re the brightest and cheeriest little flowers, almost shouting, “Look at me and my gorgeous, happy yellow flowers! We want to welcome you to spring once again!!!” Forcing blooms sounds forceful but sticking a sprig in water is harmless enough. Lol. Now I gotta sneak over to a neighbor’s place who moved in and has a plenty of them. He’s not much of a grower of anything and seems lazy to me. I’m gonna grab some sprigs and I’ll cut off a few more cause those will grow if you put them in a bucket cause I saw another neighbor with such a bucket full of yellow blooms last year or so ago… PS I am not kidding. I’m gonna sneak some forsythia….lol. We are in this together you know… lol

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney
    February 24, 2022 at 7:39 am

    A case of the down and outs.
    Perhaps down in spirt and out of sorts?

    • Reply
      February 24, 2022 at 10:00 am

      Sanford, that’s a great way to describe it 🙂

  • Reply
    Larry Paul Eddings
    February 24, 2022 at 7:18 am

    We have several Yellow Bell bushes in the yard and always look forward to their blooms in the spring. I didn’t know one could get them to bloom like you described. I’m going to cut some shoots this morning. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • Reply
    February 24, 2022 at 6:33 am

    I love bringing flowers into the house, they brighten things up and help put you in a cheery mood. It is a simple thing but it brings so much joy and I love to see the Creator’s hand at work. Speaking of simple – the simple act that your wise Granny did to just put the stems in a pitcher of water verses the complicated on line searches speaks volumes – why is it we sometimes have to make things so complicated? I love simplicity, it is a more calming way of life. Tipper, you have inspired me to go outside today and see what I can bring in to force into bloom.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 24, 2022 at 6:10 am

    They are beautiful and certainly a boost to your spirits this time of year. I didn’t know you could make them bloom like that. My Granny always had a bunch of Yellow Bells growing around her house out in the country. They seem to me to be a very heart worming bush to have!

  • Reply
    donna sue
    February 24, 2022 at 5:50 am

    Just the other day I was trying to think of the names of the yellow flowers that grow on the bushes and herald spring. There is a big old early 1900s farmhouse around the bend in the road from my house that has a line of these bushes along the road. As I came around the bend on Monday, I noticed some buds on a few of the limbs. Could it be those flowers Tipper has talked about in springs past, I wondered? It will be only a couple more weeks when time springs ahead. In fact, it will be the weekend of our beloved Corie’s wedding. And then about ten days later, spring will officially begin!!

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