If you’re like most Americans, you’re probably ready for the snow to thaw and the spring flowers to come to life! No matter what’s going on outside, there’s always the possibility of capturing a bit of spring inside your house. Between November and May, tulips are widely available. We have a wide choice of spring flower arrangements that incorporate tulips. You can choose from bouquets of brightly colored tulips, too.
These intriguing, colorful, springtime favorites have a fascinating history, one that is sure to make you enjoy these beauties even more.
Historical Background on Tulips
Tulips originated in the area around Persia and Asia Minor. Eventually, the bulbs wound up in Constantinople, having come there with nomadic people. The bulbs were first seen in 1554, when Ambassador de Busberg saw them while visiting the court of Emperor Ferdinand I. He brought tulip bulbs to Europe, where they were first seen in Bavaria by Conrad Gesner.
Ambassador de Busberg traveled to Vienna, where he met Clusius, a renown botanist who was working as a university professor in Leiden. He gave Clusius some tulip bulbs, which he sent to many of his friends in the Netherlands. In 1592, Clusius wrote the first authoritative book about the tulips.
The flowers propelled to rock-star popularity. The townspeople liked the unusual flowers so much that they thought nothing of raiding his garden, digging them up and running off with his tulip bulbs. People didn’t just steal them occasionally; they did it regularly.
The growth and development of the popular tulip coincided with the Dutch Golden Age. By the mid-17th century, tulips became so popular that it caused an economic bubble, the result of which came to be known as “Tulip Mania,” or Tulipomania.
People came in droves to buy them, so naturally, tulip prices shot up. Eventually, tulips became such a valuable commodity that people used them in place of money. That situation only lasted until the tulip market fizzled out and crashed.
Growing Your Own Tulips
Tulips are considered hardy perennials that are suitable for outdoor growth in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 8. The best time to plant tulip bulbs is in fall, allowing 6 to 8 weeks of growing time before the first hard freeze. Planting them at this time gives bulbs time to get established and grow roots before winter.
Depending on the variety of tulip you choose, expect to enjoy blooms with early blooming varieties from March until early April. Examples of early blooming varieties include Greigii, Red Emperor and Waterlily. Mid-season-blooming tulips start to flower when the early blooming varieties have stopped flowering. They bloom in April through early May. Darwin, Parrot and Wings are examples of mid-season flowering tulips.
You can enjoy blooms later in the season with late-blooming tulips. They bloom all during May. Examples of late-blooming tulips are fringed tulips and Rembrandt