February and tulips go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Or macaroni and cheese.

Or soap and water.

Or pencil and paper.

Tulips are just one of the things that make February tick.

But why do tulips only last for a hot minute. You bring them home from the grocery store and put them in a vase and they look beautiful.

And then?

You go to sleep and wake up in the morning and they are wilted or tilted or turning or glumping over.

Good thing I speak tulip. I’ve bought zillions of bunches of tulips and spring decorated with them and put them in zillions of vases and along the way I learned a few things that keep them pretty a little longer.

Here’s how to make cut tulips last longer.

1. Snip the ends of the tulips

I do this with all my fresh flowers, but it’s super important for tulips.

You want to get as much water to them as possible so opening up the ends of the stem will help them stay fresh longer.

Right when you get them home, open up the paper or plastic, snip about a 1/2 inch off of the ends and put them in COLD water.

Not tepid.

Not warm.

The colder water the better.

Just like sweet tea.

2. Check that the buds aren’t too tight

It’s so tempting when tulips first show up to buy the first bunch that comes along.

Resist.

The buds are usually too tight and they won’t ever really open.

Peonies are just like this too.

(total aside: Here’s a great post I wrote on getting peonies to bloom.)

You’ll have better chances with your cut tulips if you buy a bunch where you can see the color and they aren’t quite open yet.

3. Remove one of the leaves

You’ll notice when you get your tulips that they typically have two leaves.

It’s one leaf too many.

There’s a lower leaf and a higher leaf.

I always take off the lower leaf. Here’s why:

  • You don’t want too many leaves in your tulip arrangement taking away from the flowers
  • You don’t want greenery below the water line–it can spoil the water for the rest of the tulips
  • You want to give your stems a little bit of air to breathe and too many leaves prevents this

4. Use a vase with a narrower top

Tulips don’t like too much space.

They will stay straighter and taller (and stick around and be happier) if they are in a vase with a narrower top.

Quick vase tip: If you have a vase that’s too tall?

I stack a couple of glass frogs in the bottom to lift up the stems of the tulips.

5. Feed your thirsty tulips

Tulips are such a thirsty flower.

You want to make sure that a vase like this is refilled with COLD water every couple of days.

Also—if you notice your tulips leaning one way or another—sometimes they are trying to find the sunshine in the room and you may need to rotate the vase.

I’ve even added an ice cube to the water when I first arranged them to help them adjust to their new home.

6. Don’t add other flowers

I don’t know why, but tulips DO NOT play well with other flowers.

They don’t want to share the same vase or the same water.

I find that tulips do so much better when you leave them alone and let them do their own thing.

7. Other simple tips

I told you what I do with my fresh tulips, but there are TONS of ideas and helpful hints that my mother, my friends, my mother-in-law and a few random florists along the way have shared with me. I wanted to mention them here in case they might work for you:

  1. Add a penny to the water
  2. Add an aspirin (it’s supposed to lower the ph levels)
  3. Add a couple of dashes of Sprite
  4. Be aware that tulips continue to grow in water after you bring them home (that’s why their stems are so short)

I hope your February is amazing.

I hope your snow is melting and your days are full of sunshine and flowers.

But most of all?

I hope your month is as amazing as you are.

YOU GOT THIS.

PS Here’s a great post I shared last year on how to wrap tulip stems for a glass vase.

PPS A giant shout out to Kenna Lynn Photography for all the images on this post.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.

Comments

  1. Image for Sara Sara

    I love the tulip ideas! Thank you. But more than the tulip ideas, YOU LOOK AMAZING! Congratulations on your weight loss! You have always been pretty and I never noticed your weight before, but I do notice how much you have lost!

  2. Image for Linda Pinion Linda Pinion

    Okay, so the tulips are beautiful. Here's some "fake" ones that are great too! Mandy's tulips - find them on Amazon. BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS YOUR CUTE JACKET AND SHOES!!!! Are you willing to share??? Love me some navy and white. Classic!

  3. Image for Alice Alice

    Tulips are one of the few flowers that continue to grow after being cut. I often retrim the stems a few days in the shorten them and control them.😁

  4. Image for Kris Kris

    I see you are now color coordinating your outfits to match with your home. ;) I needed this post a week ago when my hubby got me tulips for Valentine's Day. Because our naughty cat wants to chew on the tulips, I place them super high .... which means I forgot about adding water since I couldn't see the water level well ..... and now I have fossilized tulips which need to be composted. Boo. But now I have your tips for next time!

  5. Image for Teresa George Teresa George

    I'm going to forward this to my daughter who buys tulips frequently, but may I just say that you look fabulous!!! I honestly thought you were one of the twins in the opening shot! Keep being healthy!

  6. Image for RachelB RachelB

    The Valentine’s Day tulips my son in California sent to me in Illinois were frozen when they arrived. Sadly - there is no remedy for that. 😩

  7. Image for Cindy Cindy

    Wow, I may think about giving tulips a shot again. Thanks so for all the information. Who knew a penny or sprite? I used cold tap water but cold water from our icebox is the answer. Like the ice cube trick too.

  8. Image for dee dee

    Hello Miss Fabulous! I'm a tulip lover, and do everything you mentioned, even tried the penny! My tulips droop, and I realize it's the vase, either not tall enough, or the mouth is too wide, I guess that means I need more tulips :) On a total aside, can we talk about your photo's? You look so smashing, that outfit on you with your cute shoes is fabulous, and thus the "hello miss fabulous" I'm inspired on every level!

  9. Image for Judy Judy

    I have to first add to the other comments...YOU LOOK FABULOUS!! I know it's hard work! Next, to the tulips. Thank you for this post. We ALL need some reminder that Spring is just around the corner. I was a commercial floral vender for a number of years and have a couple more tricks for keeping tulips longer. They do close at night and if you have a cool place that stays around 40 degrees or above at night...transfer your tulips in their vase to this area at night. Then you can bring them in during the day. This can extend their life by quite a few days. Another tip if the heads tip over...they have an air bubble where the bud hits the stem. Put a fine needle through this area and it releases the air and the bud will again lift. If I have a vase that I want to use, but it may not hold the tulips as straight as I want, I tie the bunch with a ribbon or piece of raffia and this does the trick.

  10. Image for JC JC

    Great tulip talk, KariAnne! I want to buy myself some tulips this week.😊 Do you have a source for your glass frog? I was going to buy a vintage one at my local shop, then went back, and it was gone. I need some frogs in my life. 🤣

  11. Image for Teddee Grace Teddee Grace

    Are you tired of being told you look amazing? Well, you do. So impressed. And thanks for the tulip tips and thanks for not "strangling" your flowers. I am getting so tired of seeing floral arrangements online with the blooms barely above the rim of the vase. Get those babies up! Floral arrangements can be 1.5 x the height of the container they are in. Putting the floral frogs in the bottom of the container is a great tip.

  12. Image for Emily Emily

    I was just taught that if you take a push pin and poke a hole right under the bud of a tulip or Gerber daisy it lets the gases escape and the tulips last longer as well. I tried it and sure enough it works. Now I will have to remember to use really cold water as well. Thanks for the great tips!!

  13. Image for Tammy Moore Tammy Moore

    Great tips on tulips!! Thank you KariAnne! I've been wanting to buy tulips but never like the fact that they fall over so soon! Have a great day! You are so inspiring beautiful lady!

  14. Image for Renee Bayes Renee Bayes

    Yes, tulips have a mind of their own— might just want to add that, when one does the tulip snip, make sure the snip is at an angle so water can be absorbed better- tulips stems flat on bottom of vase won’t be able to draw water up to bloom. And may I add that you look terrific— really dressed and have shoes on!! I’m either in sweats, leggings or pj’s— and no makeup!!

  15. Image for MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!)

    KariAnne, I hope your month is as amazing as you are, too! You look so beautiful with your tulips! You are doing so great with your weight loss -- congrats! Thanks for all the great tips! I was not aware that you need to take off the lower leaf but I will do this as soon as I can purchase some lovely tulips. There are no flowers here at the moment. Our lockdown has only allowed us to purchase "essential" items! For me, flowers are definitely an essential item! I'm happy that I have some nice faux tulips and I am enjoying them at the moment! Have a great week, KariAnne, and thanks for being so special -- and so amazing!

  16. Image for Marlene Stephenson Marlene Stephenson

    I love tulips and am so thankful for any information I can acquire for making them last longer. Your smile just lights up the whole room, isn't the sunshine wonderful, have a happy day.

  17. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    Great tips! Two more:: if you DO succumb to the "bought too soon, the buds are very closed" ones - place them (or any flower if you want to open - roses, peonies, etc.) in warm water to open. Then do the super cold keep-em-lasting bit. And my fav way to save a cut floral arrangement: before bed put vase in the fridge. You will get an entire extra week or more out of them every time. (Think florist refridgeration!) You look GREAT, KA! Hugs!

  18. Image for Linda Linda

    The tulips are great. The advice is great. You are great ! You look more and more like your cute daughters. You are getting smaller and smaller. I know that's been hard work. I know on here there was others who wanted to know how you lost your weigh. Please do a post on all the yes foods and no foods and anything in between. Have a wonderful lovely tulip day

  19. Image for Linda Linda

    O and yes where did you get that cute jacket and I love those shoes. And your hair looks so silky. What do you use ?

  20. Image for Carol Karl Carol Karl

    I am only dreaming of tulips as I enjoy the last of our summer weather. I can't complain though as I have a host of other stunning flowers in my garden - I just love tulips. Thank you for sharing this. it will come in handy in about six months time.

  21. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    Love the help. My husband just brought me a bouquet of tulips -yes he is the sweetest. Will follow your help right away. :) Thanks. BTW-you look like you could be the twins sister. Wow!

  22. Image for Darlene Darlene

    Hi KariAnne you do look fabulous. I live in Canada and I have a hint for you for tulips. I always put a penny in the water. If they are drooping they will straighten right up. Don’t know why but it works. Give it a try and see if it works.

  23. Image for angela angela

    Great step by step on lovely tulips - We always put our tulips ( and any other vases ) out in the cart store overnight where the temperature is much cooler than the house - in America you always have such lovely huge basements and garages - that would work well. Roses too particularly like the cool. In addition to the penny ( for the copper_ they like a bit of sugar and just a drop of bleach - the sugar for feed and the drop only of bleach to kill anything that affects the plant. X

  24. Image for Kim Waldorf Kim Waldorf

    I love tulips! Thanks for all the good tips. Who doesn't need some Spring in their February! Although the tulips are pretty, YOU look way more amazing than they do!! Happy Monday!

  25. Image for Beverly Beverly

    The stems of tulips are hollow and a great way to keep them erect is to insert a long, skinny wooden skewer into the stem and cut off any excess wood. Changing the water as you suggested is key.

  26. Image for Be Be

    Such wonderful advice. I love tulips but don't have much luck, so I will put this advice to practice. NOW........ I had to look twice to be sure I wasn't looking at one of the twins. GIRLLLLLLLL, wow... how proud you should be of YOU!!! You look stunning and when your lipstick matches the floral arrangement you know you have it going on. Fabulous.

  27. Image for Tammy Tammy

    What tulips? You are the star of this post! You. Look. Fabulous! I’m trying to be healthier and lose weight but after 3 months I’m losing steam. This has motivated me to keep going! Bravo, KariAnne!

  28. Image for Bethanie Henry Bethanie Henry

    If you cut a tiny little slit at the base of the tulip (with a razor blade)... the flower will not open fully. If you're like me and prefer them to stay closed, this is your best tip!!

  29. Image for Kathy Kathy

    You (and the tulips) are lovely! Thank you for the great tips. I have lots of tulips in my yard and love using them in arrangements to bring some spring inside. I knew a few of these things but, not everything (i.e. use the coldest water possible.) I am excited to try your suggestions.

  30. Image for Darci Darci

    Where did you buy that beautiful vase for your tulips? Yes, I agree with all the comments you look absolutely fabulous! By the way loving the jeans you recommended from Amazon. They feel and look very expensive but at an Amazon price! Can’t wait to buy the drip pearl earrings too you were wearing the other day! Thanks so much! You always bring so much joy and sunshine! Keep being you!

  31. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    Tulips are my favorite; probably because they're early. But, I'm commenting because YOU LOOK FABULOUS!! I started by new way of eating yesterday, so wish me luck. My last chick is moving out of the hen house TO McKINNEY next week, so wish me luck there, too!!

  32. Image for Diane Diane

    Love to have fresh flowers in the house, so on my grocery list every week Thanks for tips for keeping them longer - I’ll give it a try

  33. Image for Katie Shaw Seadler Katie Shaw Seadler

    I did not stop to read ALL the other comments, but just wanted to say, You lookin’ fab, GURL!!! You mentioned loosing weight a few (maybe a lot) of weeks back. I can really tell in you jaw line and shoulders. Way to go!! Being a 5’0”, 45 year old staring down menopause women myself, THE STRUGGLE IN REAL!! (IDK how old you are, but I think you are younger than me). I know your have special place in your heart for the Bluegrass state. This rainy Sunday morning, I’m sitting in Louisville, Ky, in an almost empty house that belonged to my MIL. She died last March. It’s surreal. My job today it to sort through at least a dozen totes full of angels. She loved angels. I wish I knew what to do with all them. I just can’t throw them away. If you have suggestions, please message me. Blessings to you and yours.

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