Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Who can resist the spring flowering bulbs? Tulips are among the all-time popular cut flowers of the season.
Depending on the variety, these can bloom early, mid-season, or late. This means we can rely on a plentiful supply from our gardens from March through May, depending on the climate.
When it comes to arranging tulips, these flowers like to do their own thing. In this case, it is a little unusual. The stems actually continue growing after they’re cut. As a result, these tend to bend towards the light. So, you may need to shift the stems from time to time to maintain the floral arrangement. It can be easier on one’s nerves to create an informal design so precision isn’t an issue.
As a general rule, most tulips will have a vase life of three days to about a week if they’re purchased as cut flowers. Ones you cut from your own garden will last longer, possibly from one to two weeks, depending on the variety. To help them last, top the water off each day. Completely change the water every couple days.
Unlike most cut flowers, tulips don’t require a floral preservative. They get along just fine without it.
For best results, wait until the buds begin to show some color before you cut tulips. If gathered before that happens, they won’t open properly. At this stage the bottom of the flower buds should still be green.
In floral arrangements, tulips are typically used as a mass flower. The rounded blooms are classic. They add interest to any design.
Tulips are often combined with other kinds of seasonal spring flowers, especially flowering bulbs. However, they can also be used alone. Nothing beats the elegant beauty of a handful of tulips.
Though tulips are seen mostly as a spring flower, they are forced into bloom at other times.
For the Christmas holidays, the red and white flowered ones are most popular. For Valentine’s Day, red and pink are preferred. Commercially tulips are sold as cut flowers from November to May. In the garden, the growing season is much shorter—a period of months.
If you gather your own stems from the garden, handle with care. These will last longer if they’re conditioned properly.