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Tulips are one of the most popular flowers available. And why wouldn't they be? Tulips are easy to grow, sturdy, vibrant in color and a delight to have in your flower bed. Tulips are perennial plants, meaning they will come back each year. Tulips lose their outer parts but conserve the underground stems, this is called "the bulb." Tulips will bloom best when planted in the autumn months before the first frost, typically around October or November.
How to Plant Tulips
Here is the step-by-step guide to planting Tulip Bulbs. By following this guide you should have beautiful, vibrant Tulips blooming in no time!
Of Course your first step is to Buy quality bulbs. The bigger the bulb, the bigger the bloom!
If you want Tulips that last throughout the season then make sure to purchase bulbs that alternate in time of blooming.
Tulips can be divided into early, mid, and late season flowering. If you are not sure which ones to pick, check with your local Flower Shop or supplier.
- Early Bloomers : Waterlily, Red Emperor, Apricot Beauty,and Double Early. Typically bloom in March or early April depending on your climate.
- Mid Bloomers such as Triumph, Swan Wings Tulip, Darwin Hybrids, Parrot Tulips. These bloom in April through early May.
- Late Bloomers: Viridiflora Tulips, Lily-Flowered, Fringed Tulips, Rembrandt Tulips, Multi Flowering Tulips. Typically bloom throughout the month of May.
- Choose a location for your Tulips. It should receive ample sunlight and that will have positive drainage.The wonderful thing about Tulips is that they will normally bloom in any kind of soil as long as it has good drainage.
- Remove rocks and weeds from soil and work it through until loosened well. Try to work a depth of at least six inches of soil. .
- Add fertilizer (this is optional, however, bulb formula fertilizer is suggested)
- Plant the bulbs 6-8" apart, and at a depth twice the diameter of the bulb
- Water one time per month before bloom, one time per week after bloom.
Tulips in Pots
Yes you can plant a Tulip in a Pot!
For some reason people automatically think that Tulips must be planted in the ground to grow. This is untrue. I live in an apartment and enjoy the beauty of my Tulips every year from my deck.Tulips are a great flower as they adjust well to their environment.
- Purchase a terracotta pot that is high on the sides. I recommend not using plastic as it absorbs heat and cold.
- Buy soil with fertilizer in it or buy seperate fertilizer and mix with the soil prior to planting
- Plant your tulip bulbs in the container from September to October.
- Place tulip bulb in the pot. You can plant numerous bulbs depending on the size of the pot. Typically 4 bulbs in a 6-inch pot and up to 15 bulbs in a 25-inch pot.
- Lay 3" of soil in the bottom of the pot
- Place tulip bulbs in the pot
- Cover with soil, about an inch and 1/2 making sure the top of the bulb is covered.
- Place the planted bulbs outdoors in a cool shady spot outdoors
- Keep the Tulip adequately watered. Pots do not hold water as well as the ground.
*Protect potted tulips from frosty winter nights by keeping it in the garage or by wrapping pots with burlap or I use bubble wrap and a blanket.
Aphids are soft-bodied, pear-shaped insects that are in a variety of colors including green, pink and brown. They can become quite a pest to Tulips and other flowers in your garden. Although they will not kill you Tulips, they will cluster on leaves and shoots, preventing new growth from unfolding.
There are ways to relieve your plants from such a pest. First, you can take the hose and spray them with water. Sometimes this is all it takes, but not usually. The other option is to spray them with an insecticide product featuring insecticidal soap. This will usually stop the problem.
If your not wanting to use any form of insecticide, place a bird bath or feeder that attract Catbirds, Chickadees, Finches, Mockingbirds,Songbirds and Nuthatches. These birds will not only feed off the Aphids and provide a lovely array of birds songs and chatter for you.
We are told that in Persia the tulip, whose blossom in its native countryis scarlet, while the centre of its glowing cup is black, is used to express warm affection; and, when sent by a lover, will convey to the object of his attachment the idea that like this flower, his face is warm and his heart is consumed as a coal.
~ Anne Pratt, The Field, the Garden and the Woodland, 1838
The Meaning of Tulips
Originally from Persia and Turkey, tulips were brought to Europe in the 16th century, where they got their common name from the Turkish word for gauze (with which turbans were wrapped) - reflecting the turban-like appearance of a tulip in full bloom.
Tulips represent the Zodiac sign of Aries. Aries are known to be strong and extroverted, passionate and strong-willed. The Tulip is the same. The colors of Tulips are said to mean different things, such as:
- Variegated tulips are for "beautiful eyes"
- Red tulips indicate an "irresistible love" or "perfect love"
- Yellow tulips indicate hopeless love that has no chance of reconciliation
Tulips that are combined in color express other messages
- Red and yellow Tulips together are an expression of congratulations
- Yellow and orange Tulips together imply passionate thoughts
- Red and white Tulips signify unity.
The Legend of Tulips
The famous legend that surrounds the Tulip is of a handsome prince named Ferhad who was in love with a a young woman named Shirin. One day he heard that she had been killed, and in heartbreak, rode off a cliff on horseback to his death. It is said that from each droplet of his blood, a scarlet tulip sprang up, making the flower an historic symbol of perfect love.
The other legend is this; Ferhad fell madly in love with a young woman named Shirin. She did not reciprocate his feelings for her, so he went out into the desert to die, presumably from a broken heart. As his heart ached, his tears fell into the sand and turned into beautiful tulips...
Whichever legend is believed, the Tulip has come to represent "perfect love" as I believe it to be as I love my Tulips from year to year.