The Dance of Tulips
Don’t be spooked if the straight, upright tulips that were arranged yesterday are leaning and drooping all over the place today. No mischief is involved, nor are the 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. “Unlike other flowers, tulips keep growing after being cut. The movement occurs as the stems grow upward, while the large flowers respond and grow toward 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.
To get the most vase life out of tulips, buy ones 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; refresh or change water daily.
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).
For more information, visit www.bulb.com.