Grossy's Guide to Tulips

Grossy loves Tulips!

Guys! It's PEAK tulip season! March through May is when tulips literally and figuratively blossom and, if you've been following me for any amount of time on Instagram, you know how much I love tulips! I also love sharing fun Mom Tips for tulip care, like adding an ice cube/penny/vodka to make them perk up and look beautiful.


I have several followers who are professional florists, and one of them, Amy from Amy Eisenstadt Design, was kind enough on several occasions to let me know that all my Mom Tips were basically the worst advice I could possibly give for tulip care. I was not surprised! I am known for giving Mom Tips that are far more rooted in my love of moms than they are reality...


I asked Amy if she would be kind enough to give me a full education in tulips, and she happily obliged. She is a wealth of knowledge on tulips, as well as all flowers and her work is STUNNING. We love stunning! Amy threw three facts about tulips at me that blew my mind! Are you ready?


1. Tulips keep growing up to six inches once cut (true "growers"!) and are one of the ONLY flowers that do that. The other two are gladiolus and snap dragons. Witchcraft!


2. Tulips grow toward a light source, so this is why when you place them in a vase they move around, leaning and stretching into the most beautiful forms as they continue to grow in the vase.


3. The MAGIC TRICK to keeping your tulips happy in their vase is really just the freshest, coldest, and cleanest water. See below for details!


To get me well acquainted with the world of tulips, Amy took me on a field trip to the NYC flower markets. A string of endless individual markets, they mostly line 28th street between 7th and 8th Avenues. The flower markets are open daily, starting at the crack of dawn! Not all are open to the public (it's wholesale only) but heading there after 9am with cash in hand means you get some space to browse since all of the serious florists have left with their bounties by then. By the way, there is more than just flowers in this magic place—plants, planters, vases, etc are all attending this party! Every major city has a flower market, you just have to find yours!


We spent the morning drooling over flowers, talking to vendors that all were absolutely in love with Amy, and generally just having the best morning ever.

After our field trip, my head was so full of tulip wisdom, and I was so happy—how could you not be after being surrounded by so much beauty?! (both the flowers and Amy, obviously. She is truly a glowing goddess and I swear the flowers perked us as she passed by them) I grabbed some tulips and eagerly headed home to put all my new knowledge to work! Here we are kids, Grossy's Guide to Tulips:


WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

Bundle of cut tulips, from any market you can get them, including the Supermarket!

Vase or vases

White vinegar or dish soap

Cold water

Scissors or knife


WHAT YOU'LL DO:


Step 1: Place your bundle of cut flowers in a clean bucket or vase of cold water until you are able to prep them for the vase. It's best to cut the bottoms fresh while they wait for you!


Step 2: Unwrap tulips. Remove all dirt and leaves or debris from bottom of stem. No leaves should be in water, as it creates a bacteria party that will kill your flowers fast, and we are not murderers.


Step 3: Arrange tulips flat in a row so heads are all in the same direction.


Step 4: Cut off ends so they are level and have a clean fresh cut to drink water through.


Step 5: Pick your vase! The only rule here is that tulips should be at least twice the length of your vase so choose wisely.


Step 6: Wait! Before you place your stems inside, make sure to clean your vase well. Like I said, bacteria is the number one enemy so use dish soap and white vinegar to give your vases a good solid clean. Truth be told, mine had not been cleaned in a very long time and... just wow.


Step 7: Take stems in your hand and twist so when you plop into vase they fan out in a spiral. This gives you a gorgeous splay of flowers in all directions. Of course, you can do the organic PLOP into the vase, let them fall naturally and watch as they grow and twist organically!


Step 8: Wait and watch as your tulips move and grow into their home. They will perk up and stand tall, they just need a minute. You JUST gave them their morning bath and coffee!


Step 9: Now that your tulips are STUNNING in their new home, YOU MUST CHANGE WATER DAILY. Every single day, you will take the tulips out of the vase, clean the vase, and add fresh cold water to it. Slightly snip tulip stems before you put them back in to the vase each time (remember, the tulips will continue to grow in the vase up to 6 more inches). A fresh snip gives them an unclogged and bacteria fee straw to drink through!


Step 10: Follow all of the above and your tulips will last a week, if not longer!


Scroll down for step-by-step photos!

BONUS TIPS:


— If you have an event coming up and you want your closed tulips to be perfect for the event, place them in vase 3 days the event!


— In an emergency, warm water will force closed tulips open. You can also reflex tulips, which means you peel back the petals and force the tulip to be open.


— For straighter tulips you should keep the tulips bundled overnight as this will strengthen tulips in a straight line.


GROSSY'S MOM TIPS:


I asked Amy if she would tell me why the Mom Tips I have been hearing and spreading for years exist. Here is what she had to say:

Pennies: Pennies are made of copper. Copper is naturally antibacterial, which as we know is a tulip's worst enemy. The issue here is that after 1982, pennies went from being made of 95% copper to just 2.5% copper!


Ice cube: As we just learned, tulips love cold water. A little known fact is that ice cubes are made of cold water! Amy says, sure, you can add an ice cube, but cold water is truly all you need and will do the job for you. Save your ice cubes for a nice cold drink!


Vodka or 7-Up: Flowers love a little sugar, but this also leads to bacterial growth. So to properly add sugar, you need to start adding antibacterial elements to work. It just gets too complicated and it's not worth it overall.


Aspirin: Mixing a crushed Aspirin into your vase allegedly lowers the pH level of the water allowing it to travel through the tulip faster. In turn, this prevents wilting. Allegedly. Amy says to save your aspirin for something more important, like your hangover.


Homemade Flower Food: Amy acknowledges the need that some people have to add things to their flowers, and offered that she has a great homemade flower food recipe. For tulips, she still says that cold fresh water daily is your best bet. For the overachievers in the class, here is her recipe:


Amy's Homemade Flower Food:

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon bleach

2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice

1 quart lukewarm water


Pre-measure your sugar, bleach, and lemon or lime juice. Pour the quart of water into a bowl. Add ingredients and stir to dissolve. Add as much water as needed into the vase and add flowers. Dispose of any extra. Add this to your vase with fresh water every other day.


Do it step-by-step with me below!

1: Place your bundle of cut flowers in a clean bucket or vase of cold water until you are able to prep them for the vase. It's best to cut the bottoms fresh while they wait for you!

2: Unwrap tulips. Remove all dirt and leaves or debris from bottom of stem. No leaves should be in water as it creates a bacteria party that will kill your tulips fast and we are not murderers.

3: Arrange tulips flat in a row so heads are all in the same direction.

4: Then cut off ends so they are level and have a clean fresh cut to drink water through.

5: Pick your vase! The only rule here is that tulips should be at least twice the length of your vase, so choose wisely.

6: Wait! Before setting your flowers into the vase, clean it. Bacteria is the number one enemy here so use dish soap or white vinegar to give your vases a good solid clean. Mine had not been cleaned in a very long time and... just wow.

7: Take stems in your hand and twist so when you plop into vase they fan out in a spiral.

This gives you a gorgeous splay of flowers in all directions.

Of course, you can do the organic PLOP into the vase, let them fall naturally and watch as they grow and twist organically!

8: Wait and watch as your tulips move and grow into their home. They will perk up and stand tall, they just need a minute. You JUST gave them their morning bath and coffee!

Step 9: Now that your tulips are STUNNING in their new home, YOU MUST CHANGE WATER DAILY. Every single day, you will take the tulips out of the vase, clean the vase, and add fresh cold water to it. Slightly snip tulip stems before you put them back in to the vase each time (remember, the tulips will continue to grow in the vase up to 6 more inches). A fresh snip gives them an unclogged and bacteria fee straw to drink through!


Step 10: Follow all of the above and your tulips will last a week, if not longer!


BONUS TIPS:


— If you have an event coming up and you want your closed tulips to be perfect for the event, place them in vase 3 days the event!


— In an emergency, warm water will force closed tulips open. You can also reflex tulips, which means you peel back the petals and force the tulip to be open.


— For straighter tulips you should keep the tulips bundled overnight as this will strengthen tulips in a straight line.

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