The weather has finally warmed up and the snow is gradually starting to melt….could it be that spring might actually be on its way?! One of my favourite ways to make it feel like spring even when it is still a little on the chilly side is to have flowers in the house. Especially during this time of year, tulips are an awesome way to go, you can find them just about everywhere!! They usually run about $5-6ish for a bundle of 5 stems, but lots of the time you can snag them on sale for $3 per bundle, can you say steal of a deal?! I like to grab several bundles and have a full vase of them on our island. They aren’t a SUPER long lasting flower, typically only last about a week, but for less than $30 for a weeks work of happiness I think that is a great value!

Now typically I am very much about supporting local florists, but I have to confess I am guilty of just getting tulips at the grocery store while I am out and about getting groceries for the week. So – whether you are going to your local florist or getting them from your fav grocery store I thought I would share some tips on picking out the FRESHEST tulips and how best to take care of them so that you get to enjoy them for the full week and not just a couple days.

Here is a list of things that you will want to look for:
– feel the stems, they should feel nice and crisp, easy to snap. They should NOT feel limp and floppy. Sometimes they have curved stems, but so long as they are FIRM stems that is okay, once you cut hum and put them in water they typically straighten out within a day.
– this is a pretty basic one, but look for bundles with blooms that are still tightly closed and not already open. Sometimes I even pick up bundles that are so closed they are still green.
– you will want to look for bundles that have leaves that are a healthy shade of green and not yellow
– take a quick look at the bottom of the stems and make sure they are also healthy, not soft/moldy or anything.
-keep an eye out for broken petals and/or stems
– this is one of the BEST signs to look for (in my opinion). Look for the length of the stem between the bloom and the first leave from the top. Lots of people don’t realize tulips continue to grow once you have cut them and put them in water, so if there is a very short distance between the bloom and that first leaf they are fresh tulips, but even if there is a smaller/unopened bloom but there is a long distance between the bloom and that first leaf that bundle isn’t very fresh.

Side note – if there aren’t a ton of bundles out on display and maybe they aren’t looking the best don’t be scared to ask if they have more in the back! It isn’t unheard of for there to be more product in a back cooler that just hasn’t moved out yet, and it never hurts to ask! The worst they can do is say no.

With those tips you should be able to pick out beautiful, healthy bundle(s) of tulips. One of the things I love about them is that you can mix them with other flowers and greens, but they really don’t need anything else, you can go home with them and be guaranteed a pretty vase of flowers. Anyway, now that you have got them home, there are a few things you can do ensure they last longer.

The number one thing is to have CLEAN water. One of the things that prevents flowers from lasting very long is bacteria in the water. You will want to make sure that your vase is 100% clean (bleach if you have to) with no remnants of gross bits from the last time it was used. You will also want to have clean water, so I know there is that old wives tale about putting the penny in the water with your tulips, but I don’t recommend it! Coins get touched by a lot of hands and are typically not very clean, by throwing one in your water it is asking for bacteria growth. If your tulips came with a packet of flower food, make sure you follow the instructions on how much water there should be in ratio to the flower food. Flower food has sugars in it, so too much flower food in your water is also going to increase growth of bacteria. If they didn’t come with flower food, that is just fine! I typically just use plain ol’ tap water. You will want to make sure he water is free of ‘debri’ like broken leaves, petals etc as they will also increase bacteria growth. As the days go by, if the water begins to get cloudy you will want to take the flowers out, wash the vase again and put in fresh water. Since the tulips will have sat out of water they will need to get recut.

Okay, you have your clean vase, with clean water and you want to put your tulips in. You may want to rinse the stems a bit as they can have a decent amount of sand on them. Then you will cut them with a clean, sharp knife. Not a serrated knife, and not scissors because they won’t provided a clean cut or can even crush the stems which will prevent them from drinking. Lots of people talk about cutting your stems at an angle, which is beneficial as it increases the surface area that is able to drink up water, but it isn’t a HAVE to so don’t stress too much about it here.

Last, you will want to make sure you place the arrangement in a good environment. You will want to keep it away from vents, appliances that let off heat, and direct sun. By doing this it will prevent the flowers from getting too hot or drying out.

There ya go! Now you have the guide to picking out the freshest tulips along with tips on how to make them last. I hope you are all enjoying the sunshine as much as I have been and that you go pick up some flowers to bring spring inside too!

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