Spring is on the way – and there are tulips for sale. Have you ever notice that sometimes your tulips look like they’re making a bid to escape out of their vase? Their heads are nodding down over the side, practically resting on your table top.
There’s been a bit of discussion over on my Facebook page about the best way of looking after tulips. The number one question was how to stop them drooping.
It seems really strange when you see tulips for sale before Christmas, and I avoid them at all costs. However, once the new year starts it’s a different matter. I love having tulips at home at the beginning of the year. For me they are a signal that spring is on its way. They'll be appearing in gardens near you from March-May. If you’re buying, rather than growing, do look out for British field tulips – which have been grown at home and not flown in.
Droopy v. straight stems
Views on droopy tulips seem to be split. There are those who love embracing the carefree nature of these flowers as they continue to grow and move towards the light. And others who want their flowers to sit upright.
If straightness is your thing I’d advise arranging your tulips in a tall straight-side glass vase. The vase will support your stems and keep them upright. Cut your tulips so their heads sit within the body of your vase. In a few days they’ll soon be poking out at the top. Cut them down to size again, or leave them to shoot upwards.
How to stop your tulips from drooping
Your tulips need to be conditioned before you arrange them. This means cutting away their wrapping – elastic bands and protective cellophane sleeve. Peeling off any damaged leaves and re-cutting the stems. I quite often also peel off the larger leaves at the bottom of the tulip stem, which because of their size seem to detract from the beauty of the flower head.
When I asked what tips and tricks my followers have for giving their tulips a boost – a range of ideas were suggested. Becky at Pinks Charming said she swears by pricking her tulip stems with a pin to release the air block in the stem. And other said she’d been advised by a Dutch friend to put a coin in the bottom of the vase, and a third to arrange the tulips in very deep water.
The method I prefer is wrapping my tulips from top to toe in newspaper and letting them re-hydrate with this supportive collar of paper around them. I’d suggest you leave them like this for 2-3 hours (or even overnight) and then arrange them causally in a vase.
Whatever method you chose you’ll need to remember to re-cut your stems, and take off any leaves which will sit below the waterline in your vase.
When to buy your tulips
I’d recommend selecting tulips in tight bud, with a little colour showing in their petals, so you can enjoy every stage of their development from bud to full bloom. If you’re buying them for a special occasion and you want them to be in peak condition/openness you’ll probably need to get them in two or three days ahead of time so they can have a chance to open out a little for maximum impact.
Unless you’re using flower foam which has been specially developed for soft stemmed-spring flowers, I’d always recommend arrange tulips causally in a vase of water.
If you’ve got any tips on tulip care please so share them in the comments below.
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Until next time, happy flowers!
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