Tulips can be cut almost anytime you want to enjoy them. But leave the foliage. Allow it to remain attached to the bulb to build up energy for next year’s blooms. For the longest-lasting flowers, cut tulips in an advanced bud stage, when the blooms are still closed but the color of the flower is evident. Cut off at least 1/2 inch of the stems on an angle with a sharp knife and place them in water. Floral preservative is not necessary for tulips, but replace the water every day, making a fresh cut at the base of the stem. Tulips prefer cool room temperatures. Avoid combining tulips with paperwhite narcissus or daffodils, which exude a gummy sap that can shorten tulips’ vase life. Tulip blooms last 3-7 days if given proper care.
The International Flower Bulb Centre (www.bulb.com) has identified several varieties of tulips known for their especially long vase life. If you like to bring tulips indoors as cut flowers, consider growing “Angelique”, “Don Quichotte”, “Attila”, “Queen of Bartigons”, “Pax”, “Yokohama”, “Ile de France”, “Negrita”, “Leen van der Mark”, “Prinses Irene”, or “Rosario.”