Though it may sound like a tribute to The Grateful Dead, deadheading is actually the process of removing spent flowers from ornamental plants. Although many tulip gardeners may remove wilting blooms to keep their flowerbeds tidy, deadheading actually has many benefits for tulips. Deadheading tulips helps lengthen flowering time by as much as two months and prevents seed production from occurring early in the growing season. Preventing early seed production allows tulips to focus on bulb development to promote stronger and healthier growth in the following year.
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Wait until the leaves of your tulips turn yellow and dry before you begin deadheading. This ensures that tulip bulbs get the necessary amounts of nourishment before deadheading begins.
Pinch or use flower shears to remove wilted tulip blooms to promote reblooming and reduce the risk of plant diseases. Cut stems right above the ground, above where the long leaves connect to the stem; this encourages new stem growth and additional blooming.
Continue deadheading your tulips until the growing season ends. Allow a few blooms to remain and turn to seed, if you hope to try starting a new crop of tulips from seed. If not, continue to deadhead your tulips throughout the growing season to prolong your enjoyment of the beautiful blooms.