Caring for indoor tulips that are growing too tall

Let me preface this thread by saying that I know embarrassingly little about caring for flowers, so I may be asking a stupid question here.

I got some “indoor” tulips last week and they’ve grown quite tall. Now I’ve heard of people trimming plants so that they don’t droop, but…

<stupid question>would the same thing apply to flowers?</stupid question>

Something tells me no, but how else are those flowers supposed to stay up?

Yes, I’ve tried Google, but I must be searching the wrong keywords because I can’t find an answer to my question. :frowning:

If they’re growing in pots, no, you can’t trim them. Because, yanno, the flower is at the top. Stick a stick in the pot and use a loop of string to hold them up.

Also, indoor “forcing” tulips are generally intended to be disposable plants, so you really don’t have to care for them at all, other than keeping them watered. If they fall over because they’re too tall, don’t make yourself crazy trying to discover a “fix” for them, because there isn’t one. Just throw them away if it bothers you–that’s what you’ll be doing with them eventually anyway.

Is the problem that the stems are growing so tall that they are kind of flopping all over? I’ve had this problem when I’ve forced paperwhite narcissus.

Get yourself four or five long wooden skewers or something similar. Push them into the soil next to the edge of the pot and space them evenly. Get a nice piece of ribbon (ribbon that’s wired on the edges works especially well). Gather up the floppy stems so they’re inside the circle formed by the skewers, then wrap the ribbon around the outside of the stakes at whatever height will hold the stems upright. Tie a purty bow, and you’re all set.

So you can’t plant them in your yard and expect them to come up the next year? What about tiger lilies? Same thing? Because I planted some tiger lilies in my yard that were potted last year, and I was hoping they would come up this year.

Tulips are generally good for only one year, even in the ground, so they may or may not come back.

Lilies (“tiger lily” is a very specific variety, I assume you just mean lily) tend to be a lot more robust, so they could very possibly come back.

In general, it’s worth trying to transplant bulbs that have been forced – you may or may not be lucky, but if you don’t try, you definitely won’t be. I’ve got some Tete-a-Tete daffodils (the miniatures) that have been coming back for six or eight years, though I haven’t seen sign of them yet this year.

Based on years of indoor-paperwhite bulb experience:

Right now, there’s nothng you can do but tie the thing up with a stick and a rope, as others have said, or to just throw it away, or cut the stems off and put them in a vase.

If you want to prevent the problem for the next time, just water the bulbs half of what you normally would. Also, keep the pot in a cool place, if you can. That will make sure the stems and leaves will grow less tall, but it won’t hinder the developement of the flowers.
Remember, bulbs in their natural habitat grow in early spring, so in a cold time of year. Inside it is just too warm and also too dark, which makes the bulbs crane their stems to get to the light. Keeping them just a little bit thirsty prevents them from growing out all lank and floppy.

Maastricht is right.

Garden bulbs forced for indoor bloom will be at their most compact if grown on in cool conditions (50s to maybe low 60s). Too much warmth and dim light produce tall, weaker stems. Just stake them and toss when flowering is done. It’s a waste of time to try to keep forced tulips over for another year.

The key to forcing spring bulbs.

  1. Select a forcing variety, or at least use a shorter habit variety.

  2. Pot them with good soil in a pot that drains well. Soak the soil.

  3. Put them in the refrigerater for 4 weeks minimum, to trigger them to bloom in the spring consistantly.

  4. Bring a pot out when you want, and give them a week or two between removing the next pot. They’ll all be ready at the same time otherwise.

  5. A cool room with as bright a light you can provide the better, Both will grow shorter sturdier plants.

  6. Turn them daily to prevent plants that lean into the light.

  7. Put them in indirect light once they bloom, to make the blooms last the longest.

The next is key to using them again. It’s silly to think you have to throw them out.

  1. Trim off the flower heads only to prevent energy going into seed production.

  2. Put your open hand aginst the soil at the plants soil line and flip the plants out of the pot onto your open palm keeping the root mass together.

  3. Put the root mass into the soil outdoors, and let them die back naturally. They are storing food for next year, so lots of sun and good care helps ensure flowers next year.

  4. Dig them up after they die back, and plant them like you normaly would in a bed.

  5. Water the bed down in fall when it’s dry, because that’s when they root and a couple doses of water can help a lot.

The plant’s yearly growth cycle can get messed up by forcing them indoors out of season. It’s more likely to mess up a lily since they bloom in summer, than it is a spring flowering bulb. Most forced bulbs do ok the first year in the ground, but some won’t be back in the normal cycle until the second year.

Bulbs that fail to grow in spring are doing so because, rodents ate them, not because they were forced the previous year. Enjoy flowers, and I hope this helps you in the future.

For the tipping ones you have to brace them at this point. You can do sticks and string. You can try foil around the pot like florests do, and add some spanish moss material around the stems. The foil sides and moss can add some stem support for an additional four inches. This works only on flowers that don’t need major support like sticks and string.