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How To Prune TULIPS

How to Prune Tulips? Increase Your Growth Today!

The spring is all about beautiful fragrant flowers and no spring garden is complete without tulips. With their exquisite colors, tulips are equally loved by everyone. Flowers of the tulip are not the only selling point to this plant. Tulips have attractive leaves and they last longer than the flowers. So next time you ignore anything green on a plant, remember the tulips. They are theoretically perennials but many gardeners prefer to plant new seeds every year. They are planted in the autumn and they bloom in the spring. Pruning helps to maximize the growth potential of the tulips. It encourages new growth and makes the plant look attractive.

Did you know that people in the 17th century went crazy with tulips? People liked the tulips so much that they would almost do anything to procure tulips, especially new varieties of tulips. So as a result the value of the tulip went up, and by 1610 a single bulb of a new variety of tulip is an acceptable dowry for a bride! This event was known as Tulip Mania or also called as Tulip Craze. However, as time goes on, people soon realize how ridiculous it is for a flower to have such a high value, which then caused a crash almost overnight for the value of the tulips. Though today you certainly can’t use tulips as a dowry, it still is a beautiful flower to have in your garden and people still appreciate its elegance to this day.

Pruning tulips is easy and simple. This low maintenance plant can be pruned by anyone with a sufficient understanding of the process. You take the responsibility of the doing part and we take the responsibility of making you understand the process. This article will answer your question of how to prune tulips.

Essential Tips for Pruning Tulips:

Benefits of Tulip Cutting or Pruning:

Tulip cutting, especially after the flowers start to fade, is very beneficial for the tulips. When some of the flowers are starting to fade, cutting those flowers off will help other flowers to bloom longer. By pruning off the flowers before they start developing the seed pods, we can direct the energy and nutrients of the plant towards the bulb. This bulb will be responsible for the new growth. By cutting the diseased leaves of the plant, the overall health of the plant can be maintained. Pruning the tulip as previously mentioned is beneficial to its health, but if done in other ways you can prune your tulip for beautification display.

Clean Shears:

Using a clean pair of shears is essential to keep the plant from developing any infections. Dirty shears may be carrying pathogens that, if transferred to the plant, can cause the plant to suffer. For cleaning the shears, wipe the shears with alcohol or a disinfecting solution. A 10% bleach solution can also be used for this purpose.

When To Prune:

The pruning of tulips is usually done after the blooms have withered. The flowers are deadheaded when they are fading but the leaves are not pruned along. They are left for 6 more weeks before pruning them.

Steps for Pruning:

1. Deadheading: How To Prune Tulips After They Bloom?

Tulips bloom in full might–for a couple of weeks. After that, the blooms start fading. When you see the blooms fading, it means that you should get your pruning shears ready.

The withering flowers of the tulip should be pruned off. This conserves the energy of the plant from the dying flowers. Also, it keeps the plant from putting effort into seeding. Tulips don’t reproduce from the seeds so it is a waste of precious energy of the plant. Seeding also drops the quality of the blooms drastically and it also affects the next year’s growth. 

Remove the spent flower completely along with the developing seed pods. But don’t cut the foliage just yet. It has to do a little more work.

When doing the process of “deadheading”, make sure that you only prune off the flowers itself and not the leaves. As previously mentioned, you will need to snip the flowers off after blooming to conserve energy, and this conserved energy will be transferred to the leaves. Keeping the leaves intact helps the flower continue its growth cycle and plus, they actually still look attractive and a great design for your garden.

This should fully address the question of how to prune tulips after they bloom.

2. Pruning the Foliage:

Leave the foliage on the plant for another 6 weeks after the withering of the flowers. The foliage continues to gather sunlight and nutrients for the bulb, that would be beneficial for the next year’s growth. Also, the foliage of the tulips is attractive and attractive foliage is always better than no foliage at all. After about 6 weeks, the leaves will start to yellow. This is the time for pruning the foliage. There are two ways in which this foliage can be pruned:

  • Either remove the whole branches to the ground if you are treating your tulips as annuals.
  • If you want your tulips to give you flowers the next year as well, then you should let a few inches of the stem stay on the plant.

If you happen to prune the flowers at the end of June, then you may cut the leaves during late June or early August. Another option you may consider is to completely trim off all the leaves of your tulip and leave the stem intact. While the stem will shrink or it may even wilt when winter comes, it will still manage to resurface itself when spring comes.

Always cut at a 45 degrees angle. This makes the plant regrow faster and helps to prevent rot and infections from developing.

3. Light Pruning:

Tulips can be pruned lightly during the growing season. The main things to focus on during the growing season are the dead or diseased leaves and branches. Diseased branches can spread the infection to other parts of the plant and so they should be pruned off immediately. This will keep the plant free from infections.  

To further maximize the blooming time of your tulip, you may prune the tulip. Prune the tulip when it is already advanced in its bud stage. The signs that your tulip is in its advanced stage is when the flower is still hasn’t bloomed but the flowers color has already appeared. The advance stage happens 1-4 days before the flower blooms.

If you want to put your tulips at a vase, you may do so by cutting the tulip at least ½ inch down the stem at an angle. Use the sanitized shear that we have recommended you to use and cut your tulip at an angle. Cutting the tulip at an angle will increase its longevity and keeps it healthy, you may cut the tulip at any desired length you want. After you have done the cutting of the tulip for your vase, you may want to keep the leaves attached to the stem. Only cut the stem itself but don’t trim the leaves off, as this promotes longer longevity and keeps the tulip healthier. The water inside the vase must be cool and it will need replacement regularly. You may fill the vase with water upto 2/3rds of the vase

Do Tulips Grow Back After They Are Cut?

If you leave the foliage on the tulips after deadheading, then your tulips will be fine. This foliage transfers the nutrients from the plant to the bulb so the bulb has enough for the regrowth. If, however, you pruned the plant to the ground, then you won’t get any substantial growth. Your best bet is to plant a new tulip bulb.

When to Plant

Tulips should be planted in the autumn, 6-8 weeks before the frost is expected. The exact time will vary. For hotter climates, the time is around December but for colder climates, it is usually around September. Before planting, the bulbs will need to be chilled for 12 weeks.

This should give you enough information on how to prune tulips, and the answers to common queries like ‘do tulips grow back after they are cut’.


Easy, wasn’t it? All that’s left is for you to take the initiative. Next time you see your flowers withering, you don’t just sit around but rather pick up your shears, disinfect them (important!), and start pruning your tulips. To sum up the pruning process, you just have to remove the withering flowers and leave the foliage alone. The flowers are removed to save the energy of the plant from being spent in seed development and redirecting it towards the bulb. The foliage also transfers the nutrients to the bulb. This puts the bulb at the center stage with every expectation of producing mesmerizing tulips in the next year. Don’t let all the effort of the plant go to waste!

Follow this guide on how to prune tulips and continue to enjoy the colors of tulips every year. Do you have any thoughts or comments about pruning tulips? Comment below! Our website also offers other detailed guides and tips such as How To Grow Durian From Seeds? and How To Grow Mung Beans Indoors?

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