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7 Tips for Happy Tulips

By Diana Westcott, February 19, 2013  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Diana Westcott

TulipsWe’ve got the cure for the blahs. Buy a bunch of colorful, fresh-cut tulips (you’ll often find them for less than ten dollars!) and get a big dose of spring. Then have fun arranging your pretty blooms.

Tulip arrangements are never the same two days in a row. Their graceful arching stems continue to grow and bend toward the light even after they are cut. I think this is the best part of their charm.

Opposites Attract for Gorgeous Arrangements

This is a great time to forage for some woody stems and branches to pair with your tulips. If you are lucky they might even bloom for you! My favorite woodies for tulip arrangements are pussy willow, forsythia, dogwood, quince, cherry, pear, apple and curly willow. The contrast of rough bark and silky petal, straight branch and curving stem is beautiful.

Tips to Make Them Last Longer

Here are a few tips to maximize the life of your tulip arrangement:

  • TulipsBuy blooms that have the color developed but are still tightly closed.
  • Harden off the flowers by wrapping the whole bunch tightly in paper, cut the stem ends on an angle and place in clean, cold water. Let them condition this way in a cool (or cold) spot for a couple of hours before arranging.
  • Use a tall vase to support the growing stems.
  • Make sure the vase is absolutely clean.
  • Use fresh, cold water with no additives. That means do not add pennies, sugar, lemon-lime soda, aspirin or bleach. All tulips need is fresh, cold water, preferably not treated by a water conditioner.
  • Arrange your flowers, with or without twigs, and remove any leaves that fall below the water line. Remember that the tulips will grow taller.
  • Place your arrangement in a cool spot, away from heat and bright light.

What color tulips will you choose? Will it be white tulips with cherry branches, purple tulips with forsythia? I’d love to hear your faves!

Visit our spring gatherings site for more expert tips on what to cook and how to cook it, being the host- or host-ess with the most-est and fun ideas for cooking with kids.

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Category: Floral, Spring




Rosie says ...
so many pretty colors, it is hard to choose! I'm partial to pink!!! My fav is when they have fully opened and are beginning to flop, is when I think they are the prettiest. I like to twist them from top to bottom in a clear vase, it makes a nice presentation.
02/20/2013 3:38:28 PM CST
Maryann says ...
All you need is to put a couple inches of water in the vase. Do not add more water that will cover the leaves.
02/27/2013 5:24:54 PM CST
Gayle Kesinger says ...
What great advice. Some I knew about but several recommendations I did not. Will buy some tomorrow and try the suggestions out. Thanks. Gayle
02/27/2013 6:42:33 PM CST
Pat says ...
Throw some ice cubes into the water several times a day -- they like to have cold feet.
02/27/2013 9:37:52 PM CST
Nicole says ...
I love tulips this time of year and brighten friends days/homes with them in array of colors. Thank you for the tips to keep them beautiful.
02/28/2013 8:49:05 AM CST
Peter A Barr says ...
No need to cut the tulip stem at an angle. There are only so many capillaries or tubes that can bring the water up the stem. You cannot expose any more capillaries by cutting on an angle. PAB
02/28/2013 2:35:48 PM CST
Emilie Unkrich says ...
Thanks for this information.
03/06/2013 3:07:58 PM CST
Shirley says ...
Thank you very much for leaving tips on how to treat tulips. It was very helpful to me. I look forward to setting them up in my home. Spring is in the air; and having the colorful tulips will bring spring indoors. Again, thank you very much for I will have lots of fun arranging the tulips. I plan to buy several bunches for my home and to share with others. HAPPY SPIRNG!!!
03/07/2013 6:09:49 AM CST
Lisa Lane says ...
Tulips MUST have COPPER to thrive.......... meaning, pennies or a copper pot. I have been designing hundreds of huge and small gorgeous bouquets for myself, friends, and family for the last 4 years. A florist at a Ralphs told me about this copper tip a few years ago. A MUST.
02/13/2014 2:20:00 AM CST
Arlene Jones says ...
I started this page by watching the Whole Trade Flowers video about the families of the flower growers. Quite moving..... I own stock in Whole Foods and I am going to try and get my dividends transferred there. I also want to say that i didn't know tulips keep growing... very important to know in the aspect of arranging. Thanks for the tip ....very helpful. Arlene
04/22/2014 6:50:53 PM CDT
Ashley Banks says ...
I love tulips they are. Y favorite flower
09/15/2014 11:55:35 AM CDT
Marge Ludwig says ...
When my daughter got married, her bridesmaids dresses were in Navy Blue and they carried bright pink (fuchsia?) tulips for their bouquets. The effect of the two colors together was stunning.
03/05/2015 12:20:24 PM CST
Helen says ...
Slitting the stem of the tulips just under the blossom slows down the drooping. I use a sharp pointed knife and just make a small slip, not going through to the other side. They will stay upright longer but for those who like droppers they will still do that.
03/06/2015 8:47:15 PM CST
Kevron Knight says ...
Does your White Plains NY supermarket carry tulips in the summer time?
04/22/2015 6:28:25 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@KEVRON - Availability will differ between stores so I would suggest giving the store a call at 914.288.1300 to see if they will have these in stock or can special order them for you!
04/24/2015 2:26:42 PM CDT