The Q&A Archives: Drooping Tulips

Question: I received an arrangement of tulips from a local florist about 1 week ago (in soil). The flowers appear to be drooping. After watering the flowers they are still drooping. What do I do to save them and is it too soon to set them outside?

Answer: They could be drooping because the room they are in is too warm. The blooms last much longer if kept in a cool room, less than 70F if at all possible. Forced bulbs (such as what you have) do not have a very long blooming period, and who knows how long they had been in bloom before you got them? Regarding setting them outside, forced tulip bulbs also generally do not perform well (if they bloom at all) in the ground after having been forced. The proper planting time for tulips is in the fall. If you want to try, let the foliage die down on the tulip. Lift the bulbs and allow them to dry. Store them in a cool, dry, dark, airy place where they are not accessible to mice, squirrels, etc. It's best to plant bulbs about 6 weeks before the ground freezes, so they will have time to settle in and begin developing roots. If you can't calculate the date that specifically, and because you are in zone 7, shoot for late October to late November. After the ground has frozen you are too late. This is an awful lot of work for bulbs that probably won't even flower but it is always interesting to see what will pop up. Who knows? I could be wrong and they may be spectacular!

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