The Tulips Flower
The annual Canadian Tulip Festival held in both Ottawa and Gatineau exhibit more than one million tulips sown throughout the city, all along Rideau Canal, and on the shoreline of Dow’s Lake.
In 1945, the citizens of Ottawa received a gift of one hundred thousand tulip bulbs from the Dutch Royal Family in gratitude for the sanctuary of Princess Juliana and her children during the Second World War during the Nazis occupation of the Netherlands.
The world’s largest display of tulips is located in Keukenhof near the town of Lisse in the Netherlands and is open annually from the end of March to the middle of May. There you can see the beautiful results of planting seven million tulip flower bulbs.
Tulip scientific name is Tulipa gesneriana .
Carolus Clusis planted tulip bulbs originating in Turkey, in Vienna’s Imperial Botanical Gardens, and at Hortus Botanicus located at Leiden University the oldest university in the Netherlands. This chain of events created the viable tulip trade in Holland.
The tulip plant is native to Africa, Asia, and Europe. Belonging to the Tulipa genus and Lilaceae family, the tulip is a perennial plant having a short stem and bulbous base.
Description and Characteristics
Additional facts include:
- Most tulip plants generate one flower per stem. A few varieties have up to four flowers per stem.
- The average tulip plant is 4 to 28 inches in length.
- The three petals and the underlying three sepals are called tepals.
- Before planting tulips, consider the wide range of colors available including, white, red, yellow, orange, lilac or blue violet, and pink. Sorry, there are no true blue tulips and the black tulip is actually a deep shade of blue violet. Lining your garden with black tulip flowers gives a dramatic look.
- Calla tulips bloom from early spring through summer and become quite big i.e. 10-12 inches in height. The tube-shaped blossom comes in various shades of reds, oranges, yellows, and purples. Callas are often included in a tulip bouquet for enhancement benefits.
- There are six different stalk-like filaments known as stamens located inside the tulip’s head, in the center of the petals.
- Stamens produce pollen-enabling propagation of the tulip.
- The stigma is located at the tip of the stamen and has three lobes with three-chambered ovaries located above the location spot .
- The stem of small tulip may be leafless, or have one to two leaves. Larger tulips may have two, or more leaves. Leaves vary from light to middle green in color and have a glossy finish.
- Attached to the stolon, or stem of the tulip, is the bulbous base, which also may or may not have thin, dry hairs attached.
Transplanting Tulips in mid-summer or early fall, after the tulip has bloomed and the foliage has turned golden is recommended.
Dividing Tulip Bulbs
If your tulips become less vibrant and frail:
- Dig the plants up.
- Shake off excess dirt and untangle the bulbs.
- Slice any growth off the peak of the bulb.
- Separate the bulbs.
- Planting tulip bulbs as soon as possible is highly recommended.
In 1559 Konrad Gessner, Swiss environmentalist and bibliographer, gave an account of growing tulips and tulip care in the garden of Councillor Herwart in Augsburg, Bavaria. However, it was not until the 16th century that Flemish doctor, botanist, and horticulturist Carolus Clusis prepared the groundwork for Dutch tulip propagation.
Cultivation and Care
Planting Tips for Tulips:
- Tulips grow best in areas that have a cool spring and an early summer.
- A larger bulb will produce a larger bloom.
- Plant the bulbs in soil that drains well.
How to Grow Tulips
Plant the bulb 4 to 8 inches deep, however, in climates without a cool spring and early summer, the bulbs should be planted deeper, i.e. 10 to 12 inches. This may lengthen the life of the tulip in warmer climates. Where climates are warm year round, the bulbs may need removing during extremely hot temperatures and replanted during the cool-down period.
When to Plant Tulip Bulbs:
- Early bloomers (March – April) : Single (Apricot Beauty) and Double Flowered Early Tulips, Fosteriana (Red Emperor), Greigii, and Kaufmanniana (Waterlily),(short-stemmed)
- Middle season bloomers (Late April – Early May): Darwin Hybrids, Parrot, Triumph, Swan Wings (mid-length stemmed)
- Late season flowering (May): Single and Double Late, Fringed, Lily-Flowering, Multi-Flowering Rembrandt, Viridiflora
- If you are unsure, the best time to plant tulips is the fall, before the cold temperatures of winter which they need to bloom come springtime.
- Place bulbs blunt side down, pointed side up, and close together in the soil of a pot or container of your choice.
- Lay potting soil on top of the bulbs leaving at least one inch between the top soil and rim of the container.
- Indoor care includes watering the bulbs liberally.
- Chill the potted bulb in a refrigerated area for 15 to 20 weeks.
- Remove the pot from refrigeration and place in an area with indirect light for 2 weeks.
- Maintain moisture in the soil.
- When the green tips protrude from the soil at least 4 inches, place the container in a sunny, warm site.
- Clean and remove anything attached to the bulb, rinse the bulb with tepid water and allow the bulb to dry.
- Using a Styrofoam egg container, place a layer of sand and peat moss at the bottom of each storage area.
- Pack one bulb in each of the separate sections.
- Store the packed container in a dark, ventilated area with temperatures of 50 degrees F. or below.
- Bulb nematodes
- During the Dutch Golden Age (17th century) tulipomania came to life. Tulip bulbs sold for exceptionally elevated prices. At the crest of tulipomania, the purchase price for a sole tulip bulb was more than ten times the yearly earnings of a trained artisan of that day. Suddenly, however, the tulip market buckled and fortunes were lost.
- In the mid 1800s, Salem, Massachusetts became home to the first tulip plants grown in the United States.
- During the Ottoman Empire, tulips were used to adorn artwork, and often symbolize prosperity and extravagance
- Tulips are a topic of poems and stories, as exampled in The Black Tulip a French historical romance written by Alexandre Dumas.
- There are more than 3,000 categories of tulips.
Growing Tulips Indoor – Potted Tulips
Storing Tulip Bulbs
Underground is the easiest way to store bulbs in areas where the soil does not freeze. Protect underground storage from animals by placing a wire mesh around the area for protection.
Above ground storage is done when the leaf changes to a golden color.
Diseases and Pests
Tulips that are affected by the mosaic virus are referred to as broken tulips.
However, unlike the mosaic virus, most viruses cause harm or cell death, in particular:
Seek a strong tulip curative if you suspect any of these viruses are present
Those who practice Calvinism are quite familiar with the acronym TULIP, representing:
T: total depravity
U: unconditional election
L: limited atonement
I: irresistible grace
P: perseverance of the saints
Click thumbnails to see pictures: