All About Tulips
All About Tulips
Madison Square Park’s Spring Forward, Into Summer horticulture exhibition has started off with a brilliant display of colorful tulips in a wide range of colors. Tulips are fantastic cut flowers that require some thoughtful planning—bulbs need to be planted in the fall before the ground freezes—but otherwise require minimal maintenance. During the winter, the bulbs go through a process called vernalization, which gives them the dose of cold they need to flower on strong, tall stems.
It is helpful to plant tulips rather close together so that they can support one another, and also to provide the most blooms in any small space. Many flower farmers also utilize this technique in order to grow the most product possible for consumers. The best time to harvest your tulips is before the flower opens completely, but when the buds start showing color.
When it comes time to harvest tulip stems, growers may gather the entire stem and bulb. This extends the life of the cut flower to keep its bulb attached, because it is filled with nutrients for the stem. Unlike home gardeners, professional growers will change the varieties of tulips they grow each year. Harvesting the entire stem and bulb allows them the space to replant each fall.
Year after year, you can leave tulip bulbs in your garden without removing the entire bulb and stem to get cut flowers. Make sure to leave as much foliage as possible if you do cut the flower stem to bring indoors. This gives the foliage additional time to photosynthesize, and provides the bulb with the nutrients it will need for the following year, before it begins to die back.