Holland is world renowned for their colorful tulips. Ask anyone, anywhere,
to name things that are definitely Dutch, and the answer will invariably
include not only windmills and wooden shoes, but most definitely tulips.
half of Holland's 44,430 acres of flower bulb farms are dedicated to them!
Promise of Spring
of tulips is as colorful as the flowers. In the 1600s, tulips were pleasures
only the very wealthy could enjoy. Rare and beautiful, they were status
symbols of European aristocrats. Then, a buying mania exploded. By 1624,
the craze had reached such epic proportions that a single bulb fetched
a whopping 4,500 guilders ($2,250 U.S.), plus a horse and carriage!
heyday in the years 1634 to 1637, the period known as Tulipomania is often
compared to the stock market craze of the 1920s.
Despite their stately
appearance, tulips are no longer confined to the realm of the aristocracy;
instead, they have become one of the most popular of the spring-flowering
bulbs. There's a Dutch saying that every bulb holds a promise — a promise
of a world alive with color and good cheer. Certainly, the exuberant colors
and dependable flowering of tulips fill that promise.
it isn't critical to know the various classifications of tulips, understanding
how they're categorized can help you choose the right variety for your
garden. For example, tulip classes vary in height, bloom time, and best
uses. Here are some common tulip classifications.
a tough, low growing bulbs that look great naturalized in beds,
around perennials, and among trees and shrubs. They only grow
6 to 10 inches tall and tolerate part shade as well as full sun.
They flower early in the season and come in a variety of colors.
They also grow well in containers combined with various annuals
and low growing perennials.
late tulips are also known
tulips, alluding to their large double flowers. Plant these
in a sheltered location so the huge blooms won't be damaged
by strong winds. You may want to stake individual blooms, since,
like their namesake, peonies, they can be top heavy and tend
to flop over. But their spectacular flowers make it worth the
extra care! They product one huge flower per stem.
hybrid tulips are notable for their large, bright
flowers and long stems. Because of these qualities, they make
excellent cut flowers. Although the stems are quite sturdy,
it's still best to plant them in a spot with some protection
from strong winds, to prevent these tall flowers from toppling. They
generally flower mid-season, producing a single flower per
large, unusually-shaped flowers with fringed, curled and twisted
full sun the flowers open wide for a very striking display,
and they are available in a variety of colors and patterns.
Because their heritage varies, the bloom time and height also
varies among the cultivars. These large flowers do best in
a sheltered location, and make striking additions to
originated as a wild species found in the mountainous areas of Central
Asia. These early-flowering tulips are known for their intensely-colored
flowers that open wide in the sunshine. They are versatile, and
can be used in mass plantings, cut for bouquets, or forced for early
bloom. They are also an excellent choice for naturalizing.
FAQs about Tulips
tulips in warm climates
live in USDA Climate Hardiness Zone 10 and would like to grow tulips.
I understand I need to chill them first. How do I do this?
Place the tulip
bulbs in paper bags and store in the vegetable crisper of your refrigerator
(away from fruits) for at least 8 weeks. Plan ahead so they will
be ready to plant in late November or December, after the soil has
had time to cool down a little. Choose a sunny or partly shady spot.
Spread 2 to 3 inches of organic matter over the bed and mix it in
to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. To keep the bulbs as cool as possible,
plant them on the deep side — 8 to 10 inches deep. Tulips in warm
climates don't always perform well the second year, so you might
treat them as annuals.
starting to grow in the fall
In September, I planted some tulips. In mid-October I noticed
that some of them were starting to grow. Should I be protecting
them from cold?
As long as they
have been planted properly, tulips are very cold tolerant. Generally,
they should be set so that there is 4 to 6 inches of soil on top
of the bulb. Although occasionally they may sprout in the fall,
when the weather turns cold they'll stop growing until it warms
up again next spring.
What does "layering" bulbs mean?
Layering a bulb
planting allows you to plant lots of bulbs in a small space, but
it takes some thought to make it work well. Basically it means planting
different kinds of bulbs at different depths in the soil. For example,
you might layer tulips and crocus to provide an early bloom of crocus
followed by a later bloom of the larger tulips, which will hide
the ripening crocus foliage. To create this effect, plant the tulip
bulbs about 5 inches deep and the crocus bulbs about 3 inches deep.
forced tulips outdoors
I received some forced tulips as a gift. After they have finished
blooming, can I plant them outside?
tulip bulbs do not perform well in the ground after having been
forced. However, you can give it a try; here's how: Keep the pot
in a cool, bright spot and let the foliage die down naturally. Then
lift the bulbs and allow them to dry. Store them in a cool, dry,
dark, and airy place where they are not accessible to mice, squirrels,
and other rodents. In fall, it's best to plant the bulbs about six
weeks before the ground freezes, so they will have time to settle
in and begin developing roots.
I would like to plant an informal bed of tulips that will keep
coming back year after year. What is the best type of tulip bulb
will last for several years, especially if they are planted at the
deeper end of their suggested planting depth. However, the longest-lived
types are the smaller and earlier-blooming fosteriana,
and greigii types. These will last longest if planted in full sun
and well-drained soil. Deadheading, or removing the spent flowers,
helps the bulbs conserve energy by preventing them from setting
droop in vase
Several days ago, I received an arrangement of tulips from a
florist. The flowers are lovely, but they are drooping. Am I doing
tulips continue growing in the vase, sometimes gaining up to an
inch in height. As they grow, they naturally bend and twist toward
sources of light. The effect of gravity on the flowers also contributes
to the bending. Professional floral designers expect this movement
and create their arrangements accordingly. Check out the bending
tulips in the still-life paintings of 17th-century Dutch painters,
and you'll see that you haven't done anything wrong!
Great Tulip Varieties
"Apricot Parrot" Tulip