Tulips – Dutch Pride in Bloom
Tulips, narcissi, hyacinths, snowdrops…. there are so many beautiful flower bulbs, and they all have their own charm and characteristics. In this blog series we would like to introduce you to a variety of them, helping you to make the best choices for your garden and grow the spring display of your dreams!
Best Loved Bulb
Tulips are the darlings of the flower bulb world, and deservedly so. There is a tulip for every occasion, taste and budget. The ramrod straight stem, the elegant leaves, a flower that’s already beautiful when still in its bud and full of ever-unfurling surprises during its bloom…what more could you want from a spring bulb? Let’s find out more about this universally beloved spring staple:
The tallest tulips are Jumbo Darwin Hybrid tulips such as coral and pink Design Impression, growing all the way up to 24 inches. On the shorter end of the scale, Miniature tulips like Clusiana reach an average height of only 10 inches.
Of all the tulip subtypes, Darwin, Miniature and Double tulips have the highest percentage of fragrant varieties, while the varieties in the Parrot, Triumph and Fringed subtypes are often not fragrant.
Tulips come in almost every color. Powerful colors like classic red, sunny yellow, pristine white and royal purple, but also softer hues like pink, salmon, lilac and coral. And, maybe the most beautiful of them all, multicolored tulips, like yellow and red Dow Jones where the separate colors stand out in striking contrast, or the beautiful apricot Copper Image where the shift from one color to another is much more gradual.
- Bloom time
The earliest tulips, like the luscious pink and white Spryng Break, start blooming in early spring, and the very last ones, like frilly white Harbor Light, can be admired until early summer. But the peak of the tulip season is mid spring, when almost all of the varieties we stock are in full bloom in planters, vases and gardens the world over.
Tulips are perennials, so when all growing conditions are optimal, once planted they’ll grace your garden or container for some years. However, not all tulips varieties are naturalizers. If you want to get a few more tulips each spring, your best choices are Miniature tulips like the pointy red and white Tinka, Triumph tulips like the purple and lilac Garden State Collection and Darwin Hybrids like the orangey red Ad Rem.
- Different types
Tulip growers divide tulips into 6 subspecies: The dramatic Parrot and Fringed tulips like Flaming Parrot and pink and yellow Miami Sunset, the ‘classic’ Darwin Hybrids and Triumph tulips such as rose-like Akebono and white and purple Grand Perfection , the Peony-like Double tulips like deep purple Black Hero, and the cute Miniature tulips like jolly yellow Sylvestris.
Tulips like soil that is well draining, as standing in water for too long will lead to their roots rotting. Plant the bulbs in fall, before the ground freezes. Find a spot in full sun or with partial shade, and plant the bulbs 5 inches deep and about 3 inches apart. Water well after planting. Unfortunately, deer and other pests love most tulips just as much as humans do, so you want to protect them from being uprooted and eaten. There are various things you can do: Plant strong smelling herbs and prickly plants around your bulbs, hang windchimes nearby, let a sprinkler go off at dusk and dawn, or sprinkle spices like onion, garlic and red pepper around your tulips.
Good news for people in very warm areas: Miniature tulips do well all the way up to USDA zone 9.
Tulips are ideal for forcing in water. The first thing you need to do is to chill the bulbs. Put them in a paper bag and place them in your fridge (but not together with fruit) for 12-15 weeks. Once the chilling period is over, find a tall glass vase and fill it with two handfuls of clear glass beads. Place the tulips on the beads with their pointy ends up, and add two more handfuls of beads. Add water to the vase to just under the bottom of the bulbs, making sure the water does not touch the bulb’s base. Place the vase in a room with bright but indirect sunlight and watch your bulbs grow, making sure to keep the water at the same level.
- Container Planting
Tulips look amazing in pots, especially when you combine two or three different colors that bloom at roughly the same time and grow to the same height. You need a big pot that’s at least 8.5 inches wide and 6 inches deep, with a drainage hole. Push the bulbs about 3 inches deep into the soil, spacing them about 1 inch apart starting from the edge going towards the center, and keep their pointy ends facing up. The more bulbs you put in the pot, the more dramatic the effect, but it also means increased competition for nutrients and water, so you will need to water them more and apply fertilizer regularly. Water the bulbs well and find a spot where the temperature will be consistently between 45-55 F for at least 12 weeks. When spring comes around, place the containers in a sunny spot, and before you know it, you’ll be greeted by the beautiful result of your careful work.
Here at DutchGrown, we want to make sure that our high-quality flower bulbs are accessible to all gardeners. The majority of our tulips cost around $0.90 per bulb for 10 and between $0.30 and $0.55 per bulb for a thousand. Parrot tulips, being a bit rarer, cost about $0.20 extra. However, for every subspecies we also stock an elite range, aimed at discerning gardeners who are looking for something more exclusive with a high wow factor. Elite bulbs come in at around $1.10 to $1.30 per bulb for 10 bulbs, going down to around $0.60 to $0.80 per bulb for a thousand. And finally, we have a few extra special limited edition tulips like the brown and ochre Night Watch and the stunning purple and yellow Ice Cream Banana, which retail at $1.68 and $3.85 per bulb for 10 bulbs, respectively.
Since tulips come in such an incredibly wide range and have a very long season, there is a right tulip for almost any other flower bulb you can think of. In combinations, tulips are especially suitable for creating interesting contrast, be it in size or color. What about offsetting the dramatic Crown Imperial Fritillaria with a coterie of ladies-in-waiting formed by the red and purple of Tulips Golden Gate Collection?
Tip-Top TulipsWouldn’t your garden or container look great with some of these beauties in it? Tulips are guaranteed to make your spring better, so why not order your favorites to plant this fall? Our colorful website is easy to navigate, and if you place your order now, we’ll make sure you get the biggest and best bulbs delivered at the perfect planting time.