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.
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.
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.
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:
- Add a penny to the water
- Add an aspirin (it’s supposed to lower the ph levels)
- Add a couple of dashes of Sprite
- 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.