Whether you are planting or cutting tulips, these tips gathered from gardeners and designers featured in Flower will help you get the best results.

cutting tulips

Photo: Sheila Sund via Flickr

Tips for Growing Tulips

  1. Plant tulips when temperatures average 60 degrees or lower. (This could be September in the North and December in the South.)
  2. Check with your local cooperative extension service to see if you need to pre-chill your bulbs prior to planting. If you pre-chill bulbs in the refrigerator, keep them away from vegetables, because they release a gas that can keep bulbs from flowering.
  3. Bulbs like soil with a pH of 6 to 6.5. Have a soil test performed prior to planting in case you need to add lime or aluminum sulfate.
  4. Be sure to plant in a sunny area with well-drained soil. Tulip bulbs rot in standing water.
  5. Plant large bulbs a little deeper than recommended to ensure strong stalks.
  6. Fertilize in fall and early spring with a bulb fertilizer to ensure stronger bulbs and a slightly longer bloom time.
  7. Water your bulbs after planting. You should not have to water them again unless you live in a naturally dry area.
cutting tulips

Remove unwanted tulip leaves by gently pulling them back and peeling them away from the stem.

Tips for Cutting Tulips

  1. Cut the flowers to bring in your home just before the bud fully blooms.
  2. When cutting or purchasing cut tulips, wrap the stems in wet paper towels to keep them from drying before you get them home.
  3. Cut each tulip stem at an angle with a sharp knife or floral snips. This will make the tulips last longer and make them easier to insert into the arrangement.
  4. Remove unwanted leaves by gently pulling them back and peeling them away from the stem.
  5. To keep tulip petals from opening up any further, take a straight pin and prick each tulip through the stem just beneath its bloom.
  6. In case you have a droopy tulip, you can wire it around the stem from top to bottom to hold it upright.

More Tulips and Spring Arrangements

  • Learn all about tulips and how to make beautiful tulip arrangements from tastemakers in the floral, event, garden and interiors world.
  • Tulipomania and how history’s wildly coveted tulip found its way to today’s gardens.
  • Our Favorite Tulip Arrangements – This collection inspires with cheerful bunches of single-color tulips, glorious combinations of tulips and other spring blossoms and fantastic centerpieces.
  • For the Love of Narcissus – These blooms are a favorite harbinger of spring and, with their cheerful faces, become total show-offs.

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