Spring is here and tulips are in full bloom. See what you need to know about how to care for tulips and what to do when the sculptural flowers reach their peak bloom.
Tulips are commonly thought of as a Dutch flower since they were made infamous there during “tulip mania” when they were traded on (and subsequently crashed) the Dutch market in the mid-1600s. Wild tulips are actually native to Central Asia and the original species ranged in colors of mostly reds and yellows. When interest in tulips spiked from Dutch trading, cultivators explored different ways to produce hybrid breeds which is why there are thousands of varieties today.
Learning how to take care of tulips will help keep the bulbs healthy so they can bloom again.
Taking care of Tulips
When tulips reach their peak bloom, continue watering the plant so it doesn’t dry out. Eco Tulips recommends keeping the leaves green for as long as possible.
Deadhead the withered flower heads after blooming so that the flowers don’t go to seed. To deadhead a tulip flower, simply use pruning scissors or a sharp knife to remove the withered bloom. Deadheading a tulip helps allow the leaves and stems to continue receiving nutrients from the sun and keeps the bulb healthy.
Once the leaves and stems die back you can either dig up the bulbs to save for a future planting or keep them in the ground until next season. It’s recommended to dig up the bulbs at least once every three years, but in Holland tulip growers will dig and divide bulbs annually.
Photo credit: Tulips at the Cincinnati Zoo by Melissa Dunlap