Learn how to care for tulips and make cut tulips last longer with these tips from our gardening expert.
How to Care For Tulips
A favorite easy-to-grow bulb flower, tulips are planted in the fall and bloom from early spring to early summer — offering a welcome burst of colors after a long New England winter. Once established, tulips will multiply annually, which allows gardeners to dig up the bulbs in the fall to separate and share with friends or to plant in another gardening area. To ensure good tulip growing and propagation for years to come, follow these “how to care for tulips” guidelines:
- Always plant tulips in an area with full sun and good drainage.
- Deadhead tulips after the first three weeks of bloom, before the petals fall off. This is to reduce the risk of mold and to allow all the growing energy to be focused on the new bulbs forming and growing underground.
- Even after they finish flowering, water tulips as you would when they are in bloom. This aids in next year’s bulb generation and growth, which is still happening underground.
- Allow the leaves to stay on the tulips until they die off on their own. When all the leaves have died naturally, discontinue all watering and allow the bulbs to finish their growing cycle underground for the remaining summer months.
In the fall, tulips may be dug up and separated for sharing or replanting, or planted in containers and wintered over in a cold dry location.
How to Make Cut Tulips Last Longer: For long-lasting cut tulips, cut the stems diagonally before tulips have opened and place in a vase filled halfway with room-temperature water. Change the water when it begins to become cloudy. When changing the water, rinse the stems and recut at an angle before placing back into the vase of clean water.
Do you have additional tips on how to care for tulips or make cut tulips last longer? Let us know!
This post was first published in 2017 and has been updated.