Drooping tulips can be a massive problem to gardeners, creating a depleted look rather than a colourful, joyful spring garden.
But why do tulips droop and how can we stop it from happening?
The primary cause of drooping tulips is dehydration. A lack of watering or good quality sunlight can lead to dehydrated tulips with drooping leaves. Although tulips do not need much water, they need to remain moist so we advise that you water your tulips once a week with 1 inch of water.
Furthermore, if you overwater these flowers, it will cause root rot which affects nutrient absorption and this can also lead to drooping tulips.
Light and Warmth
Tulips are what we call phototactic and heliotropic plants as they move and twist according to sunlight intensity. So, if you notice your tulips drooping and you know you are watering them correctly, it could be a sign that they are not receiving enough sunlight.
Before planting, tulip bulbs need to be cold however once they grow above ground, they need warmth to survive and remain healthy. So, ensuring that you have planted your tulips in a location that gets enough light and does not have any blockage from tall trees or buildings is essential.
If you think your tulips are too cold then adding a layer of mulch to the soil bed will work as an insulator and keep your tulips nice and warm.
Soil fertility can also be responsible for drooping tulips and although tulip bulbs are packed with nutrients, a little boost from a fertiliser can help.
Fertiliser will also motivate your bulbs to store more nutrients and help them potentially flower in the future. You can fertilise your tulips before the leaves turn yellow for optimal help.
Pests and Fungus
One very frustrating reason for drooping tulips is pest and fungal infections. Tulips will lose their energy whilst infected hence their drooping shape.
The most common diseases include botrytis tulipae that targets the plant and makes it unable to perform photosynthesis which will eventually cause the plant to wither as it loses its strength.
Furthermore, pests such as mites are known for feeding on tulip bulbs causing weakness and again, this impacts the tulips by making them droop. Mites will eventually eat the entire bulb if you do not take action.
If you find mites on your bulb that we suggest finding a suitable substance that you can wash your tulips with and then remove the remaining mites after you have showered the bulbs.
How to stop tulips from drooping
As we have discussed, there are a number of reasons why your tulips might be drooping and the easiest way to combat this is to reverse the negative effects.
If your tulips are dehydrated then watering them correctly can solve the tulips from drooping. We suggest watering your tulips on a regular basis and making sure you add 1 inch of water per week to the soil bed.
Tulips like to feel as if they are in a cozy and warm environment so adding extra soil and making sure it is pressed firmly into the ground can stop your tulips from drooping. Keep in mind that you do not need soil rich in nutrients as tulip bulbs already consist of a lot of self-made nutrients.
Finally, keep in mind that tulips have a lifecycle and drooping tulips can be a sign of the end of the lifecycle, especially in the summer months. If this is the case do not remove the leaves immediately if they are still green. Green leaves are capable of photosynthesis so the bulb is showing you that it still needs to consume energy. Once the leaves turn yellow and die you can then dig up the bulb and prepare them for storage.
How to prevent drooping tulips in vases
If you have decided to cut your tulips and placed them in vases there are a number of steps you can take to stop them from drooping.
- Trimming the stems by 3 – 5 centimetres will stop them from drooping and cutting them at an angle will prevent gas bubbles from entering the plant
- Stick a pin through the tulip stems just under the flower or wrap them with newspaper to prevent drooping.
- To immediately fix any drooping, cut the stems and put them into cold water. This will help the tulips to perk up.
- Change the water in the vase every few days as tulips cannot thrive in dirty water.
- Keep the vase with the tulips away from air conditioners and radiators to avoid drooping.