How to take care of tulips after blooming

Updated July 20, 2017

There are over 100 species of tulips and many more hybrids. Tulip bulbs flower from early to late spring in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours. After blooming cut off the flowers of hybrid tulips; allowing hybrid tulips to go to seed depletes bulb nutrients. Flowers of species tulips are left in place after blooming. Letting species tulips go to seed increases your stock as new bulbs eventually grow from the seeds. Knowing what type of tulips you have helps you decide how to take care of them after blooming.

Leave the foliage and stems on the tulip bulbs, of both species and hybrid varieties, after they have bloomed. Leaving the foliage and stems to ripen, turn brown and shrivel up feeds the bulbs for next year's tulip flowers.

Plant hybrid tulips 5 inches or more away from perennials such as yarrow, sedum spectabile or day lilies. As these plants leaf out they will grow up, arching over the unsightly, dying tulip foliage, hiding it from view. Species tulips are smaller, lower growing plants, requiring hot sunshine to fully ripen their bulbs. Grow them near edelweiss, alpine gentians and other low growing perennials that won't cover them up, so the bulbs can get the baking they need.

Cut off dead tulip foliage and stems after they have turned completely brown, tossing it onto the compost pile.


Hybrid tulips are not as hardy as species tulips. Despite proper care they may not come back next year.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
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About the Author

Melanie Watts has been freelance writing since 1995. Her writing credits include work for garden magazines such as "Gardens West," "Canadian Gardening" and "British Columbia Gardening." She holds a Master Gardener certificate from the University of Northern British Columbia.