Tulip flowers have a natural arching form and are shown off to best advantage when this tendency is highlighted in flower arrangements. The bright color and their architectural form make them ideal for use on their own without other flowers or filler greens. However, they look equally good when combined with complementary colored and textured blooms. Tulips are versatile flowers that can be arranged to give a crisp and modern feel or for a lush and old-world mood.
Cut and condition the tulips immediately when you get them home. Recut the stems while holding them under water, removing at least 1/2 inch of stem. Pull off the lower leaves that will fall below the water line and rinse away any sand on the stem caught in the leaf seams.
Fill a clean vase halfway up with cool water and dissolve a packet of commercial floral preservative in the water, swishing it around with your hand to mix. Alternatively, make your own floral preservative by adding 1 tsp. of sugar and 2 drops of household chlorine bleach to the vase water and swishing to dissolve and combine. Place the prepared tulips directly into a vase filled with the treated water. Store the tulips in a cool location away from sunlight and heater vents to preserve the peak bloom if not arranging them immediately.
Select a container or vase for your arrangement that is appropriate for the number of tulips you have and arrangement's location. If using a low container with a wide opening, use floral foam or a frog to anchor and support the tulip stems.
Fill your vase 1/3 to 1/2 with treated water. Soak the floral foam in the same solution until saturated and place into the shallow container, cutting pieces as needed to snug and anchor the blocks into place.
Cut the tulip stems to the desired length and begin placing them into the vase, foam or frog one at a time or groups of three flowers at a time to form the basic structure of the arrangement.
Fill in with greens or other flowers as desired to bulk out the arrangement or simply use all tulips. Review the arrangement from all angles and adjust individual blooms as needed to arrive at the most pleasing and polished presentation.