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Tulips as Cut Flowers

Tulips Bob and Weave

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Tulips in Vases

Tulips in Vases

Courtesy of the Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center

Don’t be spooked if the straight upright tulips you arranged yesterday are leaning and drooping all over the place today. No mischief is involved, nor are your flowers wilting. “They’re just doing what tulips do – dance in the vase,” says David Caras of the Netherlands Flower Bulb Center in New York City.

There are reasons tulips seem to bob and weave in the vase. Says Caras, “Unlike other flowers, tulips keep growing after being cut. The movement occurs as the stems grow upward, while the large flowers respond and grow towards the light, a phenomenon known as phototropism. The flowers open wide during the day and close at night.” These graceful habits are ones floral designers treasure, but can confuse people used to “so-called normal flowers that just stand there in the vase,” says Caras.

Now is the time of year when the widest variety of tulips is available. Flower stands will be brimming. For longest vase life, buy tulips with flower heads just starting to open (the bud should be closed, but with the color of the flower evident). Before arranging tulips, condition them by re-cutting the base of the stem with a clean sharp knife. This will open up the flower's water uptake channels. Cut flower food is not necessary for tulips. Tulips are particularly thirsty. Check water level daily. Refresh or change water daily for longest vase life. With proper care, tulips should open and last from three to seven days. Keep away from sources of heat (including direct sunlight, radiators, lamps and television sets).

Source: International Flower Bulb Centre

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