When the tulip petals fall from the flower, a seed pod is left on the stem. The tulip plant will continue to feed the seed pod by extracting nutrients from the soil. Since the flower won’t bloom again, the seed pod robs the tulip bulb of the energy it needs to regenerate. When the pod is removed, the plant draws energy from the environment and stores it in the tulip bulb. So, if you remove the seed pod, you give the tulip bulb the chance to renew itself.
Deadheading a tulip flower is easy to do. Simply take a pair of garden shears and snip off the seed pod about one inch below the seed pod on the tulip plant. Once you have removed the flower from the plant, leave the rest of the vegetation alone. Allow the plant dry up and turn brown naturally. Don’t even water the plant. After the leaves turn yellow or brown, prune the vegetation down to the dirt.
If you keep the tulip bulbs underground, they will remain dormant until the fall months. In July, you can dig up the bulbs, shave their roots, and allow them to dry. Place the bulbs in a plastic bag and freeze them until fall planting season. Allow the tulip bulbs to warm up to room temperature and then replant them.
Despite the best care, tulip bulbs do not always grow back again the following year. Many bulbs will re-flower for one-to-two years. However, the tulips will be smaller and have less vibrant colors. Make sure to replenish your garden. Purchase and plant more bulbs in the fall, at a density of five bulbs for every square foot of garden space.
Get the best prices on tulip bulbs by pre-ordering them in late spring and summer when nurseries offer a sale on bulbs. If you want a specific tulip species, you will receive a better chance of getting it, if you pre-order. Many on-line garden centers guarantee your order and hold your shipment until the planting season in September. If you wait to order your bulbs in the fall months, you may pay more and the flowers you want may not be available.