A member of the lily family, tulips are a perennial flower that grows from bulbs. There are many species of tulips, and they come in almost every color of the rainbow, from pure white and brilliant orange to dusky violet.
Tulips are native to the Middle East, and were likely first cultivated in Persia around the year 1,000. The word “tulip” may have come from the Turkish word for a turban, because of the tulip’s distinctive shape. Today, one of the largest exporters of tulips is the Netherlands, where tulips are a national symbol and a huge tourist attraction during the blooming season from March to May.
- There are about 75 wild species of tulip, but there are more than 3,000 cultivated varieties!
- Tulips are naturally found throughout the Middle East and all the way into western China.
- Tulips have different symbolism in different cultures. In Turkey, they’re considered a symbol of paradise. In the Netherlands, they’re thought to represent the brief nature of life.
- Tulip festivals are held each year throughout the world. In the United States, major tulip festivals happen in Albany, New York, Holland, Michigan and Skagit Valley, Washington.
How to Grow Tulips
Tulips are simple to grow. Select high-quality bulbs – a good rule of thumb is that the bigger the bulb, the bigger the bloom will be. Plant in cleared soil that drains well, with fertilizer or special bulb formula. Plant each bulb 6-8” apart, and about 8” deep.
Water well after planting, and then water only during times of extended dryness. Once the tulips bloom, let them continue to grow until the blossoms are past their peak. Trim the blossoms and let the foliage die off. Tulips, like some perennials, require cold periods to rest between blooms. Fertilize in the fall and spring.
Make a Citrus and Tulip Centerpiece
Has anyone else been counting the days until spring? Because it’s time for our favorite blooms to show off their stuff! Tulips add a pop of color that’s so simple, yet so stunning. And believe it or not, they can be made even brighter and more beautiful! Create an Easter-ready centerpiece by adding slices of fresh citrus to the mix. Since citrus will decrease their vase life, arrange the tulips in a tall, slender vase filled with water. Then, place the vase in a clear pitcher and add lemon slices between the two. It’s a gorgeous reminder that spring is back in action!