What Does It Mean When Tulips Are Bending Over?

Put your nose in a tulip (Tulipa spp.) And you might not smell anything, but it’s their brilliant blooms that command respect — not their odor. Tulips are prized for their distinctive, single flowers that sit atop a long, slender stem — comes that can droop, bend and sway, depending on the immediate atmosphere.

They’re Still Growing

Tulips can grow 1 inch or even after they’ve already been cut, which means that since the flowers grow bigger and open, they can become top-heavy. Actually, even in-ground tulips can dip and sway from the weight of the showy blooms. In general, the sturdiest varieties are the ones that have shorter, thicker stems, while tall, slim varieties with large, showy blossoms are frequently the most susceptible to drooping. There isn’t much you can do other than to enjoy them as nature made them.

They Want Light

Tulips flip to the light — they’re phototropic — and also in their search for light, they frequently bend. This is particularly true of cut tulips. Turning the vase at least once a day can keep your tulips upright, as can locating them directly under a light source, such as a skylight.

They’re Cold

Late spring frosts aren’t uncommon in many regions of the country, but they can wreak havoc on newly blooming tulips. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8, tulip bulbs require cold temperatures to bloom, but once above the ground and flowering, they don’t tolerate freezing temperatures quite well. Very cold temperatures hurt tulip cell walls, allowing water to escape, which causes the stems to lose their rigidity. When frozen tulips thaw, the cells sometimes start to operate again, if they weren’t too badly damaged. In that case, the tulips will slowly return to their upright positions since the weather warms.

They have Been Battered

March comes in like a lion — which roaring weather can hurt tender tulips. Hail, sleet as well as strong winds can lead to tulip stems to bend right within tribute to the components. However, with the return of the warm sunlight, they’re likely to stand upright again, unless the stems were broken by the sheer force of nature.

They’re Fading

As tulips fade, they wilt. As bulb plants, tulips require the nutrients the wilting stem and leaf supply as they fall. Clip off faded blooms but leave the leaves and stem alone till they turn yellow or brown and detach readily from the bulb using a gentle tug. This allows the tulip to return its nutrients into the bulb, at which food will be stored until next spring.

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