How to Grow Tulips

tulip flowers

CC Flickr photo of tulips courtesy of spereira.

Tulips are a popular flower with bulbous, showy flowers that range in colors. They can be found in nearly every color and size making them one of the most popular flowers for gardens and landscaping. There is usually only one flower bud to each stem but some species have been known to have up to four buds per stem. The flowers are cup-shaped with about three petals each. The smaller varieties grow to only about four inches and the taller varieties can grow to as tall as 28 inches. Tulip stems can have anywhere from two to ten leaves.

Growing Requirements for Tulips

The tulip bulbs should be planted about late summer to fall so that they will bloom the following spring. The bulbs need to be planted in well-drained soil and should be buried about twelve inches deep which will protect it from the summer heat and encourage full, blooming flowers.  Each bulb should be planted about six to eight inches apart. Tulips typically take five to eight years to reach full blooming size if they are grown from a seed. They are not picky about soil quality but fertilization treatments will not go to waste. Also as a general rule of thumb, the larger the bulb the larger the bloom.

Taking Care of Tulips

Taking care of tulips is not a difficult process. They need to be watered regularly and receive plenty of sun. At the end of the season the flower should be cut off and the stems and leaves need to be left to dry out. Once that occurs, usually after a month and a half, the bulb should be dug back up and stored in a cool place until it is time to plant again. Tulips require a cool place while they are dormant.

History and Uses of Tulips

The word ‘tulip’ is derived from a Turkish word and they are believed to have originated in Central Asia. The Turks were the first to cultivate tulips in about 1000 a.d. Because of this old Europe considered the tulip to be the symbol of the Ottoman Empire. Today tulips are the symbol of love, imagination, and dreaminess.

Tulips grow wild in parts of Asia and Siberia. They are also edible and the bulbs can act as a replacement to onions in cooking.

Tulip Flowers Diseases and Pests.

The biggest disease affecting the tulip is a fungal disease that causes cell death and eventually causes the plant to rot. The tulip is also affected by bacterial and viral diseases many of which can cause rotting and some of which leave streaks of discoloration on the flower bulb. Most of these diseases can be prevented or treated by fungicides.

Common insects may prove to be an issue with the tulip but a simple insecticide treatment can prevent problems.

Additional Information on Growing Tulips

Additional information on tulips can be found at the following websites:

Tulip flower growth tips can be found at the North Dakota University website.

Details on tulip classifications and species can be found at the Iowa State University website.

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