There are about one hundred fifty varieties of wild tulips.
Tulips are one of the bulbs we associate with spring. The recognisable flower shape and often intense colouring provide a vibrant display. They're a loud, proud reminder that winter is over.
Given the wide range of colours available, tulips are often useful for formal displays in public places. They make a real impact when planted in large numbers. Densely planted, single-colour displays intensify the effect of the flowers' colour and shape.
The botanical origins of tulips point to the bulbs' growing requirements. Although traditionally associated with the Netherlands, tulips originate from Persia and Turkey and western and central Europe.
The history of the Tulip is filled with intrigue, skulduggery, thievery, instant fortunes and broken hearts. The Dutch obsession with Tulips belongs to the relatively recent history of the Tulip.
What historians have been able to establish is that Tulips probably originated thousands of years ago in a ‘corridor’ which stretches along the 40º latitude between Northern China and Southern Europe. Tulips were cultivated in Turkey as early as 1,000 AD. The flower was introduced in Western Europe and the Netherlands in the 17th century by Carolus Clusius, a famous biologist from Vienna. In the 1590’s he became the director of the Hortus Botanicus, the oldest botanical garden of Europe, in Leiden. He was hired by the University of Leiden to research medicinal plants and, while doing so, he received some bulbs from his friend, Ogier de Busbecq, the Ambassador to Constantinople (presently Istanbul). He had seen the beautiful flower called the tulip, after the Turkish word for turban, growing in the palace gardens and sent a few to Clusius for his garden in Leiden. He planted them and this was the beginning of the amazing bulb fields we see today. In the beginning of the 17th century, the tulip was starting to be used as a garden decoration in addition to its medicinal use. It soon gained major popularity as a trading product, especially in Holland. The interest in the flower was huge and bulbs sold for unbelievably high prices. Botanists began to hybridize the flower. They soon found ways of making the tulip even more decorative and tempting. Hybrids and mutations of the flower were seen as rarities and a sign of high status.In the months of late 1636 to early 1637, there was a complete “Tulipmania” in the Netherlands. Some varieties could cost more than an Amsterdam house at that time. Even ordinary men took part in the business. They saw how much money the upper class made in the commodity and thought it was an easy way of getting lots of money with no risk. The bulbs were usually sold by weight while they were still in the ground. This trade in un-sprouted flowers came to be called - wind trade-;.
Growing tulip flowers is easy and can be a highly enjoyable and creative activity. Tulips are spring flowering bulbs that should be planted in late autumn. Tulip bulbs are an excellent nutrient storage system that need little care besides water. Tulips prefer a bed of sandy, slightly alkaline soil with at least four hours of sunlight per day, but not direct sun. Today there are over 100 species of growing tulips and many hundreds of hybrids, primarily due to the extensive breeding programs and tulip care that began in the late sixteenth century.
Planting tulips is as simple as growing tulips. Tulips blossom in early to late spring, depending on the climate in which they are planted. Cut tulips are primarily enjoyed during the same season, although they are now commercially grown to be available as a cut flower all year long.
Tulips continue to bloom annually for a few years but eventually degenerate. It is a common practice to lift the bulb after the tulip flowers have dropped and the foliage has yellowed, and store them in a cool dry place until autumn replanting time.
Tulip Flowers have a vase life of 7 - 10 days.
Tulip Flowers mean a perfect lover. Like many flowers, different colors of tulips also often carry specific symbolic meanings.
Red tulips mean love and fame,
purple tulips symbolizes royalty,
yellow tulips represent cheerful thoughts and sunshine.
White tulips signify worthiness or “will you forgive me?