Woody floral stems are an emerging specialty crop within the floral industry, and stem color is a key to marketability. This study was conducted to assess stem color change over time in order to determine the optimum window for stem harvest. Plants of `Scarlet curls', `Flame' willow, `Bailey', `Cardinal' and `Yellow twig' dogwood were planted in a randomized complete block design in rows parallel to a windbreak.. Each experimental unit consisted of a group of five plants, each of the same cultivar. Plants were initially tagged at a set height and stem diameter and measured for color. Each stem was also tagged with one of three colored tapes, according to initial color: green for green colored stems, red for stems already showing color change, and pink for intermediate colored stems. Color was assessed initially and on a weekly basis for 10 weeks, starting at the end of September, using the Royal Horticultural Society color chart. Data were analyzed using a repeated measures procedure. `Scarlet curls' and `Flame' stems, already displaying color, attained the darkest color value for their cultivar at an early stage and were at the point of harvest in early November, while stems that were initially green never attained a similar dark color value. `Yellow twig' dogwood stems already displaying color and those beginning to color attained the darkest color value in late November. `Cardinal' stems attained a darker color value more quickly than other dogwood stems. In most cases, stems of `Cardinal' dogwood could be harvested from early October until early December, while early November was the optimum time to harvest `Bailey' dogwood stems. Woody florals planted closest to the windbreak were more variable in color development and, in some cases, appeared to be more vigorous.