Expert tips for caring for fresh cut tulips in a vase, tulips in pots and planting tulip bulbs in your flower beds
Tulips are synonymous with spring, but these cheery flowers are available from florists even in January. They make the perfect antidote to dreary winter days – and a great reminder that spring is not too far away!
Customers often ask us: What’s the best approach for caring for fresh cut tulips?
Here are our top tips on how to take care of tulips just like award-winning florists like Westmount Florist do.
This article focuses on how to care for tulips in a vase to keep them lasting longer. But we also know that customers who buy our tulip bouquets and tulip vase arrangements can’t get enough of these cheery spring flowers.
So we’ve also included some foolproof tips for caring for tulips in pots and planting tulip bulbs in a flower bed in gardens.
Caring for Tulips in a Vase
The best vase for fresh cut tulips is one that’s at least half as tall as the flower stems. As you cut the flower stems throughout the week, you can transfer your tulips to a shorter vase.
- For longer-lasting tulips, always use a clean vase.
- Wash the vase with soap to eliminate any harmful bacteria that may have been left over from past use.
- Rinse the vase thoroughly with fresh water before adding your cut tulips.
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Caring for Tulips in Water
Fresh cut tulips are extremely thirsty and need plenty of fresh water. If not changed, tulip water can become slimy and bacteria filled.
Changing the water often will keep your flowers healthy and extend their lives!
- Add cold water to the vase and fill it 3/4 of the way up.
- Replace the water in the vase with fresh water at least every other day or once a day, if possible.
- Rinse out any leftover pieces of greenery each time you change the water.
Cutting Stems & Removing Leaves from Tulips in a Vase
When caring for tulips in water, don’t forget to give the flower stems a little TLC. It will help your fresh cut tulips last longer.
- Before putting fresh cut tulips in the vase, hold the stems to the outside of the vase to determine how tall they should be. Cut to length.
- When changing the water every day or every other day, give your stems another trim. A fresh cut makes it easier for the tulip to drink up the water through its stem.
- Remove any leaves or foliage below the water line. Tulip leaves that are under the water level tend to decompose quickly.
- Remove any leaves that don’t look healthy.
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How to Keep Fresh Cut Tulips Standing Tall
Tulips love to bend and evolve over time. Here are some expert tips for keeping tulips straight – along with some tulip care facts & myths.
Tulip Care Facts & Myths
Adding pennies to fresh cut tulips in a vaseMYTH (mostly).....
Ever heard that adding a penny to your vase of tulips will keep the flowers standing up tall?
It’s true that copper is a fungicide and will help to naturally kill off the pesky bacteria and fungi that love to camp out in flower vases and shorten the lifespan of your tulips. However, pennies don’t contain enough copper to keep cut tulips fresher longer.
That said, if you have a bunch of pennies lying around and want to test this theory for yourself, we say go for it (although it’s getting harder to test this theory now that pennies are no longer in circulation in Canada!)
Tried adding pennies to your fresh cut tulips in a vase? How well did it work? Tag us on Instagram @ Westmountflo
Sticking a pin in your tulip stemFACT
When your tulips start to get a bit droopy, you can stick a pin through the throat at the very top of the stem just below the head of the flower.
The small hole helps to release the air that gets trapped in the stem and will allow more water to flow into the head of the tulip.
We have tested this trick with good results. Try it with your Westmount Florist tulips. Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram
Caring for Potted Tulips After Blooming
Cheery tulips in a pretty pot can be another great way to liven up a home on a dreary spring day. Here’s how to keep potted tulips thriving.
Potted tulips like sun and cooler temperatures, along with plenty of water and soil drainage.
- Keep potted tulips in a location between 10 and 21°C that gets full sunlight exposure.
- Water your tulip plant once the soil surface dries.
- Keep adding water until moisture drips from the bottom of the pot.
- Let the pot drain for a ½ hour, then empty the pot’s drip tray.
- Potted tulips kept indoors should be watered once or twice a week.
- Potted tulips kept outdoors may need daily watering.
Planting Tulip Bulbs in a Flower Bed
Here are some easy tips for planting tulip bulbs in Canada this fall.
- Plant tulips no earlier than mid-October.
- Choose tulip bulbs based on sunlight exposure and zone.
- Many tulip varieties require full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day), but you can also find varieties bred for shady environments or partial sun.
- Make sure the bulbs are hardy to your zone.
- Plant tulip bulbs in well-drained soil. Till the soil or work it up with a shovel.
- Add a layer of organic compost or peat moss to the bottom of the hole(s) where bulbs will go. If you can, wait a few days before adding the bulb.
- Plant bulbs to the proper depth. A good rule of thumb for fall bulbs: 3 times as deep as the bulb’s width.
- For the best visual results, plant bulbs:
- At least an inch apart
- In nice clusters
- In uneven numbers
- In a triangle or circle shape
- Mark the location of your bulbs so that you don't accidentally dig them up later on.
- Fertilize bulbs just once, either in fall or late spring with a low-nitrogen fertilizer (or top dress them with compost).
- Let tulips die back naturally in the spring so that they can go dormant and store food. Premature clipping or pulling can weaken the bulb.
Got any tried-and-true methods for keeping tulips standing tall? We would love to hear them. Tag us on Instagram @Westmountflo
Order a stunning bouquet of premium tulips for someone special – including yourself! We offer fresh cut tulips in a rainbow of gorgeous colours.
Looking for more information on Tulips like their origins, meaning and general care, check our Flower Reference Guide.