Tulips blooms continue to grow up to 1 inch after being cut. If you have cut tulips from your own garden or receive a bouquet of fresh tulips, only a few steps are required to extend the life of the colorful blooms by several days. The most important factor in handling fresh-cut tulips is to keep the blooms supplied with plenty of fresh, clear water.
Scrub a vase with warm, soapy water. If the vase is very soiled or has hard-to-reach areas, soak the vase in a mixture of 10 parts water and 1 part bleach, and scrub the vase with a bottle brush. Rinse the vase several times to remove any remaining soap or bleach.
Cut fresh tulips in the morning. Cool, well-hydrated tulips will last longer. Place the tulips in a jar or bucket of water immediately to keep the flowers fresh until you're ready to arrange them in the vase. If the tulips are from a florist, remove any cellophane or paper wrapping as soon as possible.
Hold each tulip stem under lukewarm running water. Use sharp kitchen shears to cut 1 inch from the bottom of the stem, making the cut at an angle. Cutting the stem at an angle creates more surface for the stem to take up water. Holding the stem underwater as you cut the end eliminates tiny air bubbles that can prevent water from penetrating the stem.
Fill the vase with cool water and mix in a packet of floral preservative. Remove any leaves that will be under water, and place the tulips in the vase immediately.
Re-cut an additional 1 inch from the bottom of the stems every three to four days, or whenever the water begins to look brackish. Hold the stems underwater as you cut. Fill the vase with fresh water mixed with floral preservative.