Flower Tips - Keep Your Cut Tulips Looking Great Longer

Ahh, Tulips. For us florists, tulips are like nature’s reward for making it through the darkest of Winter nights and a first sign of all the freshness and vibrance that Spring has to bring. However, as beautiful as tulips are - especially when we see all the fantastic displays in places such as The Keukenhof Gardens or Hampton Court Palace - they do get a bit of a bad rep as cut flowers.

The reason? Well, in a word, Droop.

Unfortunately for tulips, those big heads and lovely dense petals sit atop relatively lightweight stems with a hollow centre that draws a lot of water. Unlike the stronger, more fibrous stems of roses and peonies, these heavy-headed beauties need more support to stop the stems from bending over.

Here at Mad Lilies, every tulip season brings more than its fair share of calls from customers who believe their tulip bouquet has come to a disappointingly early end. The reality is that they just need a little more TLC than some other flowers.

So in the hope of helping everyone get more out of their tulips, we’ve put together the following guide and a nifty little video, demonstrating the key techniques to presenting your tulip display for maximum longevity.




  1. Prep your Tulips by removing any excess leaves and re-trimming at an angle.
  2. Choose your vase and ideally tall enough to support the height of the tulip stems.  Your vase should ideally cover at least half the stem length of your tulip especially if you have double tulips with a heavier head due to all their double layers of petals and therefore require more support.  If the vase is too short this will cause your tulips to droop as they aren’t getting enough support.
  3. Once you have chosen your vase, cut your tulip stems to the ideal height.
  4. Fill your vase full of fresh water.
  5. Start to place the tulips into the vase one by one in a crisscross fashion so they overlap and support each other.
  6. Depending on how wide your vase is you can usually arrange anywhere from 20-50 tulips in this style – the more tulips the more impact.



  • Your tulips will continue to grow so they may need to be re-trimmed after several days if they become too tall in the vase and the heads start to droop.
  • They will also grow towards the light so will move in the vase.
  • Tulips are thirsty flowers and tend to drink a lot of water so make sure you top up with plenty of cool water as necessary.
  • Changing the water every other day and recutting the stems will also help the longevity of your tulips.



  • If your tulips droop, this will probably be because they have an air block in the stem preventing water from travelling up the stem to the head of the tulip.  The most successful way of overcoming this is to use a pin to push through the tulip stem just underneath the flower head which releases the air.  Re-trim the stem at the bottom and place in a vase of deep water and there’s a very good chance the tulip will recover.



  • If straight Tulips are what you are after, here’s what to do.
  • Take them out of their vase, tightly wrapping in newspaper in a cone shape with their stems poking out the bottom.  Place them back into deep water in a bucket and leave in a dark room overnight.  Unwrap them the next day and voila Straight Tulips you will have, ready to display in your chosen vase.


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