This time of year, I like to add a splash of color to winter’s gloomy days with a vase or two of fresh-cut tulips. And now is the perfect time to pick up a bouquet at your local grocery store—you can get a beautiful, colorful bunch for not a lot of bucks. Here a few tips that’ll help you bring out the best out of your blooms:

  • Buy tulips with buds that are still closed, but with a hint of color showing.
  • Snip off the base of the stems before arranging them in a clean vase to help them stay hydrated longer.
  • Tulips are thirsty. Check the water level often, and add water daily.
  • Don’t be tempted to mix tulips and daffodils in the same vase. The tulips’ water channels will become clogged with a substance produced by the daffodils.
  • Keep the vase away from heat sources like direct sunlight, radiators, or lamps.
  • Add a teaspoon of sugar or a capful of mouthwash to keep the flowers from drooping and losing petals prematurely.

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