How to Keep Tulips from Drooping

Expert tips for keeping cut tulips straight and tall.

Black Tulips

Black Tulips

Arranged cut tulips are stunning, but are prone to drooping.

Photo by: Image courtesy of Flower Muse

Image courtesy of Flower Muse

Arranged cut tulips are stunning, but are prone to drooping.

Whether you buy them or grow them from bulbs, tulips bring a splash of colorful elegance. Fresh-cut tulips are among the most popular flowers used for weddings or arranged in a vase to brighten any room. Unlike many flowers, this member of the Liliaceae family will continue to grow up to two inches after cutting when kept in a vase, but with a pliable stem and heavy blooms, though, tulips are prone to bend and droop as a result of gravity and phototropism, a response that causes the flower to orient towards light. These natural conditions and the tendency of some varieties of tulips bloom downward make tulips prone to drooping, but other issues can exacerbate droop. Although droop is unavoidable when displaying cut tulips, steps may be taken to reduce the dreaded droop and keep your bouquet looking fresh and beautiful. Flower Muse, purveyors of farm-direct tulips and other flowers, shares these tips to combat some of the drooping issues common to cut tulips.

Proper Hydration

Cut tulips should be kept in water and may take a few hours to fully hydrate. If you’ve received tulips wrapped in plastic, leave the bouquet in its wrap for the first few hours or overnight to keep the stems upright as they take in water. Take care to avoid getting the blooms wet to minimize the potential for premature molding.

Diffused Light

Tulips naturally seek light and will crane and bend toward the source. Find a spot for your vase out of direct sunlight or rotate the vase regularly to avoid phototropic droop. Direct sunlight will also significantly reduce the vase-life of cut flowers. As drooping increases, tulips may be positioned directly beneath a dominant light source to reduce leaning.

Stem Support

Arrange tulips in a taller, narrower vase. A vessel that supports most of the stem length will help inhibit bending.

A Fresh Cut

Tulips continue to grow after they have been cut, contributing to droop. Regularly trim the end of stems and remove any excess leaves. Once trimmed, replace the water  with fresh, cool water before returning the tulips to the vase. Lightly wrap the tops of stems with paper for a few hours after a fresh cut to keep them straight and hasten recovery.

Embrace the Droop

These tips can reduce excessive bending in your beautiful bouquet and help extend their life, but as they age, drooping is an inevitable fact of displaying freshly cut tulips. Eventually, it’s time to embrace the elegant and graceful curve of the stems as they arc over the confines of the vase.

Next Up

When Should You Plant Tulips?

Planting times vary by zone. Get the facts and know when to plant.

How To Choose, Plant and Grow Flowering Bulbs

From daffodils to dahlias, learn how to grow bulbs and fill your garden with big, beautiful color.

How to Plant Springtime Bulbs

Give your lawn and garden spaces new life with these colorful design tips for planting bulbs.

Planting Tulips

Few flowers herald spring quite like tulips do. Follow these steps to create a stunning display in your yard or garden.

Hardy Tulips That Bloom for Years

These enduring beauties will brighten up any garden.

Combining Tulips with Annuals and Perennials

Find out how to create a harmonious flower arrangement in your garden.

How to Plant Bulbs

Learn to plant bulbs in your garden with this step-by-step guide.

Cultivating Winter Tulips

From January to April, tulips are one of the season's best buys, indoors and out.

The Unusual Suspects: Parrot Tulips

Grow these exotic, colorful beauties in your garden, plus get tips on other spring-flowering bulbs.

How to Save and Replant Forced Seasonal Bulbs

In general, the most resilient candidates worth saving are small bulbs that naturalize or reproduce readily in the garden.