It’s tulip time! Tulips are my favorite flower! They only bloom for about a month and I am always sad to see them go in late spring. Cut tulips are also short lived, but through trial and error I have discovered four easy tips to make tulips last longer and I am happy to share them with you!
In my previous post I shared these lovely white tulips that I received for my birthday. Anytime I have fresh tulips I like to make them last as long as possible. Over the years I have found a few little tricks to keep them around the house for a few extra days.
If tulips are relatively fresh from the florist then the stems will still be rigid and the majority of the leaves will be upright. Most of the petals will be tight and closed. I have found that they will only stay upright for one day. A little floral preservative packet or crushed aspirin added to the water may help them stay fresher. By the second day they are starting to droop as you can see in the picture above.
This is actually my favorite stage. I love the way they gently open up and fall gracefully over the sides of a vase or container. I like to display my tulips in a medium sized antique ironstone pitcher in the center of my farm table. White tulips are especially pretty in the spring sunshine!
By day three most people would toss these out! The leaves and some of the stems are starting to rot, but most of the petals are still intact so I always keep them for as long as possible.
Here are four easy tips to make tulips last longer:
1. Remove ALL of the foliage and cut about 1/4 off the ends of each stem. If there are any rotten areas I completely cut them off. A few tulips should be cut shorter for the center of the arrangement because they will not all fit down fully to the bottom of the tight vase. (You can add a little more floral preservative or crushed aspirin to a separate cup of “rain temperature” water and slowly pour the water down in the vase no more than 1/2 way up. Too much water will cause the flowers to decompose faster.)
2. Find a compact vase which tapers toward the bottom. This is important because it will help support the flowers.
Now I have created a lovely arrangement that will usually last two days longer than the original bouquet with all the foliage. The petals are starting to drop on the third morning of being rearranged in the smaller vase. This indicates that it’s time to change the container again.
3. Remove the tulips carefully and cut them even shorter to be placed in a smaller, tighter container or vase.
At this point the petals are very fragile and many will fall off, handle with care.
4. Lastly, make two (or more) small bouquets from whatever tulips are still intact and tie them tightly with twine about 1/4 inch under the petals. Two smaller bouquets will fit down into one container and look like one larger bouquet, but they will stand up better because they are more compact. Of course you could also use two separate holders for two bouquets if you prefer.
This smaller arrangement will last about two more days. I enjoy what is left of my tulips in any pretty, small vase or container I can find and I like to style them in different vintage vignettes. I don’t mind the “patina” of the slightly brown tips. It reflects the different colors and crazing in my old ironstone pieces that I love so dearly, and the tulips look so beautiful to me at this stage too!
To summarize, here are four easy ways to making tulips last longer after you have originally displayed them for a couple of days:
- Remove all foliage and cut stems 1/2 inch shorter than they were, (or more if stems are decomposing).
- Place them in a medium vase which has a tight taper toward the bottom. This help them stand upright. This arrangement should last 1-2 days longer than the original arrangement.
- When petals start to droop or drop, carefully remove the tulips and cut them even shorter, about 1/2 way down from the bloom.
- Use twine to tie up two (or more) small tight bouquets. Place them in a smaller, tighter vase or several small containers. You should get 1-2 days more enjoyment from your remaining tulips.
As the old saying goes, “Nothing good lasts forever,” but when it comes to pretty tulips I will take all the extra days I can get!
I hope these four tips will help you get more enjoyment out of your tulips too!
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