I’m sure it’s no coincidence that Mother’s Day and tulip season line up. So now that Mother’s Day is behind us, how are you going to take care of all those bouquets of tulips that I’m sure you received this year?
The internet is full of old wives tales and “things” you can add to the water. From pennies to soda to bleach and everything inbetween. Sure you might see them perk up a little, but long term your tulips may see a shorter life.
When properly taken care of, cut tulips can last for one to two weeks in a vase. The keys to keeping your tulips beautiful that long are really very simple.
Start with the freshest tulips you can find. If that means purchasing them from a flower shop, try to pick tight or unopened blooms. Fresh cut tulips will have bright green stems that feel crisp to the touch. Nothing will prolong the bloom of a cut tulip that has started to wilt.
Next you will want to pick a vase that will offer support for the tulip. Think about a tree that has started to blow over. Once it bends to where gravity takes a hold of it canopy and won't let go, it is only a matter of time. Once gravity has a hold of your beautiful bloom, it will continue to pull it downwards. Starting with a straight vase that will help keep your blooms upright will keep gravities grimy mitts off of your tulip heads. Avoid vases that curve out to stop any initial arching.
Next fill your clean vase about a third of the way with clean cold water. No pennies. No mystery packets. No soda. Clean vase. Clean cool water. Tulips do better in shallow water, so avoid over filling.
Hold the tulip stems under running water and recut the stems about an inch up from your last cut. You will also want to remove any leaves that will be under the water line.
Now that you have your tulips beautifully arranged in the vase, you will need to consider placement. You’ll want to focus on high traffic areas so everyone can enjoy them while also avoiding direct sunlight and any heating vents. The heat will dry and wilt your blooms.
Did you know that tulips will continue to grow after they have been cut? In the right conditions they can grow as much as an additional inch. They are also phototropic, which means they will grow towards the sun. This means that you’ll have to rotate them slightly every day to keep them upright.
Now that your tulips have the right foundation, all you have to do is a little bit of maintenance everyday to keep them looking their best. Tulips are big drinkers. Check the water level daily and add a bit more if needed. Every third day you’ll want to cut an inch off of the bottom of the stem and replace the water. That’s it.