Yay! It's tulip season and I couldn't be happier! Tulips are colorful, inexpensive and easy to arrange. Here are a few simple steps for selecting and caring for fresh cut tulips:
When selecting fresh cut tulips from your local florist choose a bunch with tight heads (buds are closed but with color showing), firm stems and fresh leaves. Don't buy them if the heads are open, they won't last for more than a day or two and inspect the foliage to be sure it isn't yellow or moldy.
Choose a vase that is clean and fill it with room temperature water (water that is too warm will cause the flowers to open quickly and shorten their vase life) and add the floral preservative that came with your bouquet. Before placing your tulips in water, strip any foliage that will be under water and cut the stems and a 45 degree angle to allow for maximum water absorption. A general rule of thumb for deciding how short to cut the stems is one-and-a-half the times the height of the vase. But there are no rules ;) A simple way to quickly arrange tulips at home is to cut all the stems the same length and place them at an angle in the vase.
Keep your arrangement out of direct sunlight in a cool location, change the water completely and re-cut the stems every day or two for longest vase life.
An interesting fact about tulips is that they continue to grow after being cut, up to an inch or more. They are “phototropic”, bending towards the light, so rotate your vase daily to keep stems more upright.