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How to Care For Fresh Cut Tulips

Published: Friday 9 April 2021


How to Care For Fresh Cut Tulips

While we’re headed towards the cooler months of Autumn in Australia, tulips are an ever-popular flower this time of the year that is synonymous with Spring. These beautiful, bright and bulbous blooms are available in almost every colour imaginable, and luckily, are one of the easiest flowers to look after. 

If you’ve just received a beautiful bouquet of fresh tulips or picked up a bunch at your local florist, then you’re probably wondering how best to prolong the life of them. With the right level of care and attention, tulips can last up to ten days after cutting. So although your cut tulips won’t last indefinitely, you can certainly extend their life and keep their blooms happy by following these ten simple steps below - 

Step 1: Trim the stems 

Before unwrapping your tulips and placing them in a vase, it’s important to trim the stems. Using a small pair of clippers or pruning shears, we recommend cutting ¼ of an inch (0.6cm) from the base of the stems. By cutting at an angle you’re creating a straw effect that allows your flowers to soak up water more easily. 

If you want to go the extra mile in caring for your tulips, we also suggest trimming the stems every other day when their water is changed (see step 7). 

Step 2: Remove any leaves or foliage below the waterline

If the stems of your tulips have any leaves or foliage that will be submerged underwater, you should remove them before placing the flowers in the vase. This type of greenery will typically decompose at a faster rate, spoiling the water with bad bacteria that is harmful to the life and freshness of your flowers. 

Step 3: Choose a suitable vase for your tulips

When it comes to tulips, you ideally want to house them in a tall vase that rises up to cover at least half the height of the stems. That way your flowers will be able to lean against the walls of the vase without bending over the top. If you opt for a shorter or smaller vase, you risk your flowers drooping prematurely. While this may be a look that some people enjoy, it can reduce the lifespan of your blooms. 

Step 4: Wash the vase thoroughly before use

If you’ve recently used your vase for another bouquet or have allowed the vase to gather dust in the cupboard, your want to make sure it doesn’t have any sediment along the walls or at the bottom before housing your fresh tulips. By washing your vase in warm soapy water and drying it completely, you reduce the risk of bad bacteria leaching into the flowers and causing them to rot more quickly.  

Step 5: Fill the vase with cold water 

Cut flowers typically last longer in colder water temperatures. So if you want to keep the stems upright, fresh and cheerful, we recommend filling the vase with cold water. This is also an important step to remember when changing the water in the vase every few days. Hot water on the other hand can cause your tulips to become weak and droopy. You also want to avoid water with air bubbles as this may interfere with water intake through the stems. 

Step 6: Spread the stems around the vase

As beautiful as a tight of tulips may look, you want your flowers to have a little extra wiggle room when placed in a vase. Rather than positioning them on top of one another, spacing your blooms around the vase will prevent the petals from being crushed and dropping prematurely. 

Step 7: Change and top up the water every few days

Tulips are incredibly thirsty flowers. These gorgeous blooms will guzzle water within a matter of days, so it’s important to make sure the water never completely runs out or they will begin to wilt at a rapid pace. Tulips also thrive in fresh, clean water, which is why you should try to change the water every few days to prolong their beauty. 

Step 8: Add a flower preservative 

If you don’t have any flower food on hand, you should easily be able to find a flower preservative at your local garden store or florist. Flower food can help your flowers stay fresher for longer, preserving them past their typical lifespan with plain water alone. Before adding any preservative to your vase, make sure to read and follow the instructions carefully. 

Step 9: Avoid styling your tulips with daffodils 

Daffodils, and other flowers in the Narcissus family, exude a substance from their stems that can cause other flowers to fade quickly. So if you want to ensure your tulips stay tall and perky for as long as possible, we recommend placing them in a vase by themselves. 

Step 10: Avoid extreme temperatures

Whether it be on a window ledge in direct sunlight or on a desk near a heater, you want to avoid placing your vase of tulips in an area where it will be subjected to extreme temperatures. Tulips will wilt faster in the heat, so it’s best to place them somewhere with indirect sun exposure. These flowers will curve towards any source of light in the room, but that doesn’t mean they appreciate basking in the direct heat of the sun. 

Extending the life of your blooms

It’s easy to see why these gorgeous blooms are a popular floral favourite. If you’re lucky enough to receive a big bunch of tulips from a loved one or have recently scored a bunch at your local florist, then it’s important to do your homework and learn how best to extend the life of them. With the help of this useful guide you’ll be able to create an environment for your tulips to thrive in and hopefully keep their cheerful blooms smiling for longer. 

Tags: How To's, Flower Tips

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