The Q&A Archives: Dying Tulips

Question: Hello,

My name is Chrissy, and for Valentine's day I bought my friend this little tulip plant from the store. It was fine when I bought it, the flowers were blooming and everything. However, it already has begun to die, and we do not understand why. We have been watering it, and it sits on a window ledge. I was thinking that perhaps we are giving it too much water, or maybe not enough. Should we give it some Miracle Grow perhaps? Or direct sunlight? How much water does a tulip plant need? Please help, as I do not want her beautiful tulips to die. Thank you so much. I appreciate any help you can give.

Answer: I hate to be the bearer of sad news, Chrissy, but tulip flowers last only a week or two, no matter how well you take care of them! Tulips grow from bulbs which are storage organs for the plant. Once the petals begin to drop from the flower, cut the flowering stem down, but allow the leaves to remain. The leaves will transport energy to the bulb for next year's bloom. The time will come when they, too, dry up and wither away. When that happens, cut the dead leaves away, and take your tulip bulb out of the soil. Store it in a cool, dark location (such as a garage) and allow it to rest. In October place your tulip bulb in the refrigerator to chill. Plant it outdoors in December. With any luck at all it will develop new leaves and a new flower by next spring.

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