What to Do with Tulips After They Bloom

  • By: CarlBroadbent
  • Time to read: 6 min.
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Tulips provide beautiful blooms in spring, typically between March and April.

After they bloom, you can enjoy the tulip flowers for up to two weeks.

Purple tulips flower
Purple tulips

Once the flowers fade, you should clip the flower heads off of the plant.

Then, a week or two later, cut the remaining foliage down to the ground once it has turned a yellow-brown color. This will help strengthen the bulbs to bloom again the following spring.

What to Do with Tulips After They Bloom in a Garden

If your tulips are planted in a garden with adequate sunlight and temperature, they will likely bloom in early or mid-spring.

To ensure blooming:

  • Plant your tulip bulbs in the fall, about 6-8 weeks before frost is expected.
  • The tulip bulb will sprout 1-3 weeks after it experiences 16 weeks of chilling.
  • Once the tulip grows, flowers, and blooms, you’ll be left with a beautiful landscape for up to 2 weeks.

If you want to cut your tulips to use as a decoration in your home or a gift, skip to the section “Can I Cut Tulips Before They Bloom”.

Purple tulips in backyard
Purple tulips

For those who want their tulips to grow again next year:

  • You’ll need to cut the flower heads off of the plants as soon as the flowers fade and die.
  • Snip below the tulip head with pruning scissors and discard the faded flower head. Leave the rest of the plant stalk and foliage as is.  
  • When you leave the foliage in the ground, you allow the bulbs to absorb the nutrients back in the ground.
  • After a week or two, the remaining foliage should die, turning a yellow or brown color. Now is the time to cut the tulips completely back to the ground.

Tulips are perennials, which means they naturally rebloom annually.

If the conditions are right, your pruned bulbs can remain in the ground and offer new flowers at the same time next year.

Let’s dive in below for some tips on how to take care of your bulbs throughout the year.

What to Do with Tulips After They Bloom in Pots

If your tulips have been planted in containers, they may not bloom again the following year.

This is because pots usually offer a stressed environment for the tulip bulbs – they cannot access the same nutrients, organic material, rainwater, or even temperature as bulbs planted outside in natural soil.

White tulips garden
White tulips

While you can attempt the same procedure as garden-tulips, you’ll be safer discarding the bulbs after each season and planting new ones.

If you want to attempt to save your bulbs for next fall, dig them out of the pot, brush off the dirt, and store them in a refrigerator at around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.


Keep In Mind: Leave them there for at least 8 weeks. Do not place any fruit near the bulbs, as they give off a gas that could kill the developing flower.


How to Make Sure Tulips Will Rebloom Next Spring

For those who want fresh tulip blooms next spring, there are three methods you can utilize.

The easy route is to simply plant new bulbs every fall, discarding those that have already bloomed.

For those who prefer to let nature take its course, you can leave your trimmed bulbs in the ground to resurface on their own next year.

Finally – If you have a green thumb and don’t mind the extra effort, you can also store your bulbs out of the ground during the summer and later replant them in the fall.

For this, you’ll want to cut back the flower heads and foliage as described above. Then, about 6 weeks after flowering, you will dig up your bulbs entirely.

Orange tulips flowers
Orange tulips

Discard any bulbs that look damaged or diseased.

Let the rest of the bulbs dry, and then store them in a dark and dry place over the summer. Keeping them in nets or other well-ventilated containers is ideal.

Once fall arrives, you can replant your bulbs and let the process begin again.

Can I Cut Tulips Before They Bloom?

Some people prefer to enjoy their tulip blooms from a vase inside their home. If this is your case, you should cut your tulips before they fully bloom, as tulips can continue to grow and bloom from within a vase.

For this, cut the bloom when it is still closed but the color is evident.

You can cut as long of a stem/foliage as you desire, but the minimum is ½ inch of stem below the flower head.

Red tulips bloom tips
Red tulips

Cut the stem at an angle with a sharp knife or pruning scissors. Immediately place the tulips in fresh, cool water.

Replace the water every day and make a new cut at the bottom of the stem during this process.

Are Dahlias Annuals Or Perennials? x
Are Dahlias Annuals Or Perennials?

Tulips cut before blooming will continue to grow and open within the vase.

You do not need to add a floral preservative. Once open, these blooms can last up to a week within a vase.

Will My Tulips Grow Back Next Year?

Tulips are perennials, which means they rebloom annually. This depends on various conditions including temperature, soil composition, the presence of pests, sunlight, drought, and so on.

You can leave your tulip bulbs in the ground after spring to rebloom on their own.

If they do not regrow the following year, you should plant new bulbs. After those bloom in spring, you can remove and store your tulip bulbs for replanting in the fall.

Below are some tips on how to make sure your tulips are planted in an ideal environment for reblooming.

How Can I Promote Tulip Blooms?

Tulips are beautiful flowers that only grow in specific environments.

You can promote tulip blooms by planting them in the appropriate climate, out of the wind, and fertilizing them in the fall.

They should be planted 5cm apart or more.

Tulips plant
Tulips

For their bulb to bloom, they first need to withstand a cold period of 3-4 months.

Once bloomed, they need full or afternoon sun without too much heat. Tulips will break easily in strong winds.

From Experience – Tulips prefer a pH between 6 and 7, with soil that does not have excess moisture. You should water your tulips only when you plant them, and then let nature water them unless there is a drought, in which case you can intervene.

To boost available nutrients in your soil, you can fertilize your tulip bulbs in the fall.

To do this, add a few inches of compost over the bulbs after planting.

Different Types of Tulips

There are thousands of varieties of tulips around the world.

The three most common are:

  1. Triumph Tulips
  2. Double Tulips
  3. Single Early Tulips

Tulips are known for their design and beautiful colors.

Tulips plant in backyard
Tulips

These include shades of:

  • Red
  • Pink
  • White
  • Purple
  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Bicolor variates

Final Thoughts on Bloomed Tulips

Bloomed tulips are beautiful, but they must be cut back appropriately to ensure new blooms the following year.

If you want a beautiful tulip bloom, your best bet is to buy and replant new bulbs each fall.

For those who prefer to preserve their old bulbs, you can leave them in the ground to let nature take its course, or you can store your bulbs indoors during the summer and replant them again in fall.

No matter which method you choose, be sure to plant your bulbs in the right environment, fertilizing them in the fall and only watering them if there is a drought.

By following this guide, you’ll be sure to have beautiful new tulip blooms again next spring.

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