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Tulips: Origin, Varieties, Care, Meaning, and the Story of Tulip Mania

 It’s tulip season! Learn more about the timeless beauty that led to the infamous Tulipomania in Holland during the 17th century.   

Origin of Tulips

Tulips are undoubtedly on the list of the most popular flowers in the market. Originally, tulips are from Central Asia, growing wildly in the mountain ranges that borders Russia and China. The Turks have known to cultivate tulips since the dawn of 1000 A.D. Because of the wide-reaching influence of the Ottoman Empire, the beauty of the tulips became known in Europe too, specifically in Holland.

Tulip Mania

Coined from tulip mania, Tulipomania refers to a time during the Dutch Golden Age where the cost of tulip bulbs soared to a whopping 44,000 USD, leading citizens of Holland to sell their houses, so they could purchase fields to plant tulips in the belief that it was a worthy investment that could give them good fortune. Unfortunately, much to their dismay, prices for tulips suddenly collapsed shortly.

Today Holland remains to be the leading producer and exporter of a majority of all the tulips we see in the market.

Different Varieties of Tulips

From a hundred or so wild tulip varieties, there are now 3,000 registered varieties of cultivated tulips and counting.

Undeniably all tulips, regardless of variety, are beautiful in their own right, but they can look very different from one another.  They can go from single flowers to double flowers, to ruffled petals, fringed petals, lily-shaped, cup-shaped, and the list goes on. Tulips also come in a wide array of gorgeous and distinct colors, ranging from deep pinks, pinkish purples, and purplish blacks.

Grouped into 15 divisions based on their signature looks and characteristics, the most popular types and varieties of tulips are:

  • Parrot tulips – Flaming Parrot, Super Parrot
  • Fosteriana – Purrisima,
  • Triumph – Barcelona, Negrita
  • Darwin hybrids – Pink Impression, Daydream
  • Double tulips or peony tulips –Peach Blossom, Monte Carlo
  • Lily flowering – China Pink, Alladin
  • Single late or cottage tulips – Queen of the Night, Maureen
  • Single early – Apricot Beauty, Purple Prince

 Other types of tulips also include Greigii, Viridiflora, Kaufmanniana, Rembrandt, and Fringed.

How to Maintain Tulips in a Cut Flower Arrangement

To get the maximum vase life for your cut tulip flowers, The Old Farmer’s Almanac recommends the following:

  • Cut stems of tulips in a slant.
  • Wrap the upper part of the flowers with a newspaper shaped like a funnel and soak in a bucket of cold water for at least an hour.
  • Give the stems a trim one more time.

And presto! You now have tulips that will last you for a whole week or longer. For more tips, check out our article on how to make your cut flower arrangements last longer.

How to Take Care of Tulip Plants 

To make sure your tulip plant gets the best TLC:

  • Put your tulip plant in sunny area, sheltered from bitter cold and wind.
  • Make sure soil is well drained and free from excessive moisture.
  • Water diligently during fall.

Meaning of Tulips Flower 

Throughout history and in different parts of the world, tulips have been associated with many things, including:

  • For the Victorians, tulips symbolize charity
  • For Turkish people, tulips embody paradise here on Earth
  • For the Ottoman Empire, tulips stand for heaven and eternal life
  • For the Dutch, tulips signify death

Nowadays, tulips may suggest a million different meanings, from passionate love, prosperity, and well wishes. But one thing is for sure, with their amazing beauty, you can never go wrong with tulips. 

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