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Tulip Conditioning

Martha Stewart Living Television

How do I keep tulip heads from drooping in an arrangement?

--Patricia Havey, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Cut the tulip stems at an angle, which will create a greater surface area for water absorption and prevent the ends from sitting flat on the bottom of the container. Wrap the bundle of blooms in newspaper or kraft paper, secure with twine, and submerge the stems in cool water overnight. This will allow the stems to drink in water and keep the head of the tulip tight.

To arrange the flowers, begin with a perfectly clean vase. Fill it about one-third of the way with fresh, cold water, and add cut-flower food. (Use room-temperature water if you want the tulips to open immediately.) Trim the stems at an angle to desired height, and arrange in vase. Each day, trim the stems, change the water, and add flower food. If the tulips droop more than you would like, poke a pin through each stem just below the flower head, and pull it out. The tiny holes will allow air to escape, expediting the flow of water. To enjoy your tulips for the longest possible time, display them in a cool place.