Next to roses, tulips are one of the most famous flowers in the world. One country that is particularly associated with this flower is the Netherlands. Tulips grow there in seemingly endless fields and transform the landscape into a colorful spring paradise every year. A few hundred years ago, this flower was so coveted that it was being sold for an entire house! You can find out everything you need to know about the history of the tulip and what secrets are still hidden behind the colorful splendor of the flowers here.
The History of the Tulip
Wild tulips have been cultivated in the Middle East for several hundred years. The garden tulip, which we know today, probably developed from these at that time. This is just one type of many. There are around 150 different species in total, which can be found in Europe, North Africa and Central Asia. Thousands of varieties have been bred from these species to date. The first literary references to this flower come from 9th century Persia. The Turks also took over the cultivation of the plant from the Persians. Its current name is also derived from Turkish. The name of the flower goes back to the Turkish word “tulbend”, which means something like “turban”. The name refers to the shape of the flower. The tulip has been a garden plant since the 16th century at the latest. There is even the so-called “tulip season”. This is also known as the reign of Sultan Ahmed III. understood, which extended from 1718 to 1730. The name for this period derives from the court’s great fondness for tulips. Ahmed III owned entire meadows planted with colorful tulips. Towards the end of the 16th century, Holland became the center of tulip cultivation. Breeders there developed various species in a wide variety of colors and shapes. For example, a species with colored flamed flowers was caused by a viral disease! At the beginning of the 17th century, a veritable tulip mania began. Prices reached unrealistic heights as tulips became an object of speculation. The bursting of this bubble is considered the first financial crisis of modern times. After the great price crash in 1637, the price of tulips returned to normal. In the years that followed, the tulip went from being a flower of the wealthy to a popular ornamental plant for every estate, taking the country by storm.
The tulip today and its peculiarities
Not only is the tulip a flower with centuries of tradition, it also has some properties you probably didn’t know about! For example, the petals of the adult tulip are edible. It is said that these go well with salads or desserts. They should be crunchy and taste slightly sweet. However, you should better not eat our tulips, because only certain types of tulips are safe and tasty!
The flowers of the tulip not only taste good, they also come in a wide variety of colors. Whether red, pink, violet, yellow or pink. However, there are not two colors and these are black and blue. While there is a kind that resembles black, it’s ultimately just a very dark purple. Her name: “Queen of the Night”! There is no such thing as blue among tulips. This color is generally quite rare in the floral world compared to other colors.
The most popular tulips
There is still a kind of tulip mania in the Netherlands. About 2.5 billion bulbs of the flower are exported there every year! The most popular variety is the yellow tulip ‘Strong Gold’. The red tulip “Leen van der Mark” is in second place.
New varieties of tulips
Of course, new varieties of tulips are still being bred. Maybe one day we will still be able to enjoy a blue or black tulip? However, this holy grail of the tulip world is a long time coming. It typically takes a full 20 years for a new variety of tulip to make it from the start of breeding to our garden centers and flower shops. The following varieties are particularly popular:
Although not very friendly to bees and insects, double tulips are a real eye-catcher. Since the flower heads are relatively heavy, these beauties are best placed in a sheltered spot. This reduces the risk of the flowers snapping off.
This variety of tulips is very popular. Once planted in a bed, they bloom again every spring for several years.
This magnificent tulip variety was created by accidental mutations. With their fringed, wavy or slit petals, these tulips are particularly gorgeous.
A special feature of French tulips is their particularly long stems. These can grow up to 90 cm long! Their huge calyxes in a wide variety of tones are a real eye-catcher.
National Tulip Day
Let’s return to the country most associated with tulips. This flower is so popular in the Netherlands that there is a national holiday in its honour. National Tulip Day is celebrated on January 15th, marking the start of the tulip season. On this day, for example, a temporary picking garden is created in the capital Amsterdam on Dam Square in the city center. Around 200,000 tulips are pre-cultivated from various nurseries! From 1 p.m., local people can pick a bunch of tulips in their favorite colors for free. So mark January 15th if you ever want to dust off free flowers.
Planting tips for the home
There are other things you can do with tulips. We already had the subject of food, but you can also use the so-called “lasagne planting” with tulips. Since the different varieties flower at different times and have different stem lengths, you can plant several varieties on different “levels” in one large pot. Just like a lasagna. It is important that the pot is at least six times as high as the onion. It is also important that both early and late bloomers are combined.
Tulips as cut flowers
Finally, a fact about tulips for the home. As a rule, cut flowers are considered dead in the vase. But not the tulip: they continue to grow in the vase! This is because tulips grow according to the principle of cell elongation growth. Once they have reached a certain size, tulips no longer change through cell division like we humans do, for example, but rather increase the volume of their existing cells. They do this by pumping water into their cells, lengthening them. That is why a tall vase is ideal for these flowers. However, this phenomenon can also be slowed down by cooler temperatures. Would you also like to be able to marvel at a few tulips in real life instead of just in pictures? Understandable after this flood of information about one of the most popular flowers in the world.
If you’d like to watch your own tulips grow at home, you’re just a few clicks away!