'Pinpricking' Your Tulips Will Make Them Last Longer - Here's How To Do It

Cut flowers never seem to last long enough, and a common problem with tulips is that the heavy blooms can cause the stems to bend, giving you a droopy bouquet — not exactly a display that brightens up the space. But you can enjoy your beautiful spring tulip bouquets for a while longer using the pinpricking method. The simple process of poking a small hole in the stem of a tulip is a trick that works to help keep your cut flowers fresh.

To ensure success when pin pricking your tulips, cut them to fit properly in the vase you want to use. An option with a narrow neck will help support delicate tulip stems, and trimming the stems so that the blooms are just a few inches above the top of the vase will help them stand more upright. Some florists also use wire to keep tulips and other cut flowers upright, but if you are purchasing a small bouquet from a store or farmers market, they probably will not have this support.

Providing some extra support from inside the stem by pinpricking is perhaps the best thing you can do to help ensure your flowers get as much water to bloom as possible. Whether you are treating yourself or were gifted a bouquet of tulips, you want them to last as long as possible, so give pinpricking a try.

Pinpricking tulips

No matter if you grow your own or are enjoying a purchased bouquet of tulips, the first thing you need to do is cut the stems. By giving them a fresh trim before placing them in water, any scabbed over or sealed "veins" are wide open and ready to absorb water. These veins are actually called xylem and phloem, which work to move water from the base of the plant to the top, ensuring the tulip stem and bloom have the water they need to stay upright.

Tulips not only need enough water to stay perky, but they also need a little help making sure that moisture moves all the way to the top. Using the pinprick method to preserve your flowers opens a path for excess air in the stem to escape, allowing even more water to flow into the bud. How amazing is that? The process is super simple. Just use a pin, like a sewing needle, and pierce a tiny hole through the top of the stem about ¼ inch below the base of the bloom.

Other ways to keep tulips fresh

The pinpricking method is one of many ways to keep your cut flowers fresh. A bit of maintenance every few days helps keep those veins clear and the water flowing up the stem. One way to keep those pathways from getting clogged is by changing the water and washing the vase every two days. This prevents the build-up of bacteria and other nasty stuff from growing in stagnant water. Since tulips are a cool season flower, they also benefit from spending the night in the fridge if the bouquet is small enough to fit.

As your flowers start to die back, remove each one as it goes past its prime. This will keep the stem from decomposing in the water and affecting your other flowers. Plus, you want your arrangement to look nice as long as possible, and that does not include dead flower stems.