Tulips

I just love my front flower garden, I could go out every day to take more pictures. It seams that more flowers open every day. Whenever I take a break from work I go to the bedroom window to look at the flowers in bloom. At least once a day I take a walk around the yard to see how all of my gardens are doing. Soon I will have my vegetable garden to work with and enjoy.

Purchase tulip bulbs.

You can buy them locally from a nursery or garden center or order them from a reputable mail order supply company.

  • If you pick them out yourself, look for bulbs that are firm to the touch and do not have defects such as mold, bruises or cuts. The bulbs should be light brown in color and covered in a papery, onion-like skin.
  • In terms of quantity, each bulb will produce between one and four stems and blossoms, so plan accordingly.
  • Choose bulbs based on the variety name for a more uniform look and growing pattern. Tulip bulbs labeled by color — for example “yellow tulips” — are often an assortment of species of tulips in that color.
  • Plan on planting the tulip bulbs within a week of buying, as the bulbs are not designed to stay above ground for long.

Decide when to plant tulip bulbs.

Tuilp (2) Tuilp (23)

Tulip bulbs should be planted in late fall, before the first winter frost. The bulbs will then lie dormant throughout the winter months, before growing and blossoming come springtime. The precise planting time will depend on your local climate.

  • Chill the bulbs before planting them if you live in an area where winter temperatures rarely get below freezing. Put the bulbs in a closed brown paper bag and place the bag in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 weeks. You can also purchase tulip bulbs that are “pre-cooled.” Be sure to purchase from a reputable supplier who has kept the bulbs chilled in storage.
  • Plant the bulbs without chilling them first if your area has cold winters with freezing temperatures. Hold off planting until soil temperatures measured at a depth of 6 inches (15 cm), fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12 C).

Pick a spot to grow tulips.

Tuilp (17)

Choose an area that receives the right amount of sun for the tulip variety you are growing. Bulbs need to be planted between 4 and 6 inches apart, so choose an appropriately sized plot.

  • Most tulips do best with full sun, or at least 6 hours of sun each day. Some varieties will also grow in partial or full shade.
  • Many people choose to plant tulips along fences, walls, walkways and buildings, as they provide a pleasant burst of color and it is easy to control their growing pattern.

Tuilp (1)                    Tuilp (11)

Prepare the soil.

Till the soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm) and amend it by adding sand or stones, if necessary.

  • Tulips need good drainage — wet soil can cause fungus, disease and even rotting. It can also suffocate the bulbs due to its low oxygen content. Therefore, it is recommended that you plant tulips in raised beds in very wet areas.
  • Make the soil as light and airy as possible by adding compost and coarse sand. Also be sure to remove any weeds.

Plant tulip bulbs.

Plant the tulip bulbs 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) deep, measuring from the base of the bulb. Remember — the larger the bulb, the deeper the hole.

  • Standard tulip planting depth is 6 inches (15 cm); but if you live in an area with a mild winter, planting the bulbs to a depth of 8 inches (20 cm) helps to keep them cooler.
  • Place the bulb into the hole, pointed end facing up. Fill the hole with soil and push down on the surface to firm it up.
  • Space tulip bulbs 5 inches (12 cm) apart. To create a tulip bed, use 5 bulbs for 1 square foot (90 square cm) of area. Plant all tulips in the bed to the same depth to ensure they all bloom together.

Deter rodents.

If mice and other rodents are a problem in your area, place a deterrent such as holly leaves, kitty litter or gravel into the planting hole. If your rodent problem is very severe, you may need to place the bulbs in a wire cage for protection.

Water the area thoroughly after all bulbs are planted. Do not water again until the plant leaves start growing. Although tulip bulbs usually dislike excess moisture, this initial watering is necessary to trigger growth.

Mulch the tulip bed with straw to keep the soil cool. In areas with mild winters, lay the mulch as soon as you are done planting. If you live in an area with cold winters, wait 3 to 4 weeks after planting before mulching to allow the roots to grow a little before the ground freezes.

Wait for the tulips to bloom.

Leave the tulips to their own devices over the winter months — no need to water or fertilize them. Come springtime, the tulips will bloom in a show-stopping display of color.

  • Tulips are naturally a perennial plant, meaning that they come back year after year. However, in most of Northern America, climate and soil conditions prevent tulip bulbs from re-flowering, so they are grown as an annual.
  • If you do live in a location that allows tulips to be grown as a perennial (ideally somewhere with dry summers and cold winters), read the following instructions.

Follow the correct watering schedule.

Once the tulips start growing, you can start watering them to prevent the soil from drying out. Do not soak the soil, however, as this could damage the bulb.

  • Continue watering the plants even after they finish flowering. The tulips are still growing next year’s bulbs underground. Allow the leaves and greenery to stay on the plant until they wither and die off on their own.
  • Stop watering the bulbs after all the leaves are gone and let the ground dry out. The plant is no longer nourishing the bulbs, and tulips need a dry period during the summer months.

 

Clip off the flower heads.

Deadhead the tulips after the first three weeks of bloom, before the petals fall off. Falling petals that get caught in the foliage of tulips cause the plant to mold and die off before it has time to nourish the new bulbs growing underground.

Fertilize in fall.

If you intend to grow tulips as a perennial, they should be fertilized upon planting in the fall (and every fall thereafter) with a low-nitrogen fertilizer such as well-rotted cow manure or a special bulb fertilizer.

  • If you forget to fertilize in the fall, you can also fertilize in late winter/early spring, once the first green shoots appear. Use a high nitrogen, fast-release fertilizer for best results.

Make cut tulips last longer.

To make cut tulips last longer in a vase, cut the stems diagonally, then wrap the upper two thirds of the flower in a newspaper funnel.

  • Leave the tulips to sit in cool water for an hour or two, then remove the newspaper and re-cut the stems.
  • The tulips should stay fresh for a week.

Tips

  • Plant your tulip and other flower bulbs 8 inches (20 cm) deep if you have a problem with voles eating the bulbs. Voles travel 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) under the soil surface.
  • Dig the tulip bulbs out of the ground after the plants have died off and store them in a dark, dry place for the summer if they are having trouble getting established as perennials. This is usually only necessary if you live in an area with wet summers or you have the tulips planted in an area where water sits.

Tulips

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The tulip is a Eurasian and North African genus of perennial, bulbous plants in the lily family. It is an herbaceous herb with showy flowers, of which around 75 wild species are currently accepted.

The genus’s native range extends west to the Iberian Peninsula, through North Africa to Greece, the Balkans, Turkey, throughout the Levant (Syria, Israel, Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, and Jordan) and Iran, north to Ukraine, southern Siberia and Mongolia, and east to the Northwest of China. The tulip’s center of diversity is in the Pamir, Hindu Kush, and Tien Shan mountains. It is a common element of steppe and winter-rain Mediterranean vegetation.

A number of species and many hybrid cultivars are grown in gardens or as potted plants.

Description

Tulip agenensis in Israel (details).

Tulips are spring-blooming perennials that grow from bulbs. Depending on the species, tulip plants can be between 4 inches (10 cm) and 28 inches (71 cm) high. The tulip’s large flowers usually bloom on scapes with leaves in a rosette at ground level and a single flowering stalk arising from amongst the leaves. Tulip stems have few leaves. Larger species tend to have multiple leaves. Plants typically have two to six leaves, some species up to 12. The tulip’s leaf is strap-shaped, with a waxy coating, and the leaves are alternately arranged on the stem; these fleshy blades are often bluish green in color. Most tulips produce only one flower per stem, but a few species bear multiple flowers on their scapes (e.g. Tulip a turkestanica). The generally cup or star-shaped tulip flower has three petals and three sepals, which are often termed tepals because they are nearly identical. These six tepals are often marked on the interior surface near the bases with darker colorings. Tulip flowers come in a wide variety of colors, except pure blue (several tulips with “blue” in the name have a faint violet hue).

Tip of a tulip stamen. Note the pollen grains

The flowers have six distinct, basified stamens with filaments shorter than the tepals. Each stigma has three distinct lobes, and the ovaries are superior, with three chambers. The tulip’s seed is a capsule with a leathery covering and an ellipsoid to globe shape. Each capsule contains numerous flat, disc-shaped seeds in two rows per chamber. These light to dark brown seeds have very thin seed coats and endosperm that does not normally fill the entire seed.

Etymology

The word tulip, first mentioned in western Europe in or around 1554 and seemingly derived from the “Turkish Letters” of diplomat Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, first appeared in English as tulipa or tulipant, entering the language by way of French: tulipe and its obsolete form tulipan or by way of Modern Latin tulīpa, from Ottoman Turkish tülbend (“muslin” or “gauze”), and may be ultimately derived from the Persian: دلبند‎ delband (“Turban”), this name being applied because of a perceived resemblance of the shape of a tulip flower to that of a turban. This may have been due to a translation error in early times, when it was fashionable in the Ottoman Empire to wear tulips on turbans. The translator possibly confused the flower for the turban.

Tulips are called lale in Turkish (from Persian: “lale” لاله). When written in Arabic letters, “lale” has the same letters as Allah, which is why the flower became a holy symbol. It was also associated with the House of Osman, resulting in tulips being widely used in decorative motifs on tiles, mosques, fabrics, crockery, etc. in the Ottoman Empire.

Cultivation

Tulipa sylvestris subsp. australis with seedpod 1804

Tulip cultivars have usually several species in their direct background, but most have been derived from Tulipa suaveolens, often erroneously listed as Tulipa schrenkii. Tulipa gesneriana is in itself an earlhybrid of complex origin and is probably not the same taxon as was described by Conrad Gesner in the 16th century.

Tulips are indigenous to mountainous areas with temperate climates and need a period of cool dormancy, known as vernalization. They thrive in climates with long, cool springs and dry summers. Tulip bulbs imported to warm-winter areas of are often planted in autumn to be treated as annuals.

Tulip bulbs are typically planted around late summer and fall, in well-drained soils, normally from 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm) deep, depending on the type. Species tulips are normally planted deeper.

Propagation

Tulips can be propagated through bulb offsets, seeds or micropropagation. Offsets and tissue culture methods are means of asexual propagation for producing genetic clones of the parent plant, which maintains cultivar genetic integrity. Seeds are most often used to propagate species and subspecies or to create new hybrids. Many tulip species can cross-pollinate with each other, and when wild tulip populations overlap geographically with other tulip species or subspecies, they often hybridize and create mixed populations. Most commercial tulip cultivars are complex hybrids, and often sterile.

Offsets require a year or more of growth before plants are large enough to flower. Tulips grown from seeds often need five to eight years before plants are of flowering size. Commercial growers usually harvest the tulip bulbs in late summer and grade them into sizes; bulbs large enough to flower are sorted and sold, while smaller bulbs are sorted into sizes and replanted for sale in the future. The Netherlands are the world’s main producer of commercial tulip plants, producing as many as 3 billion bulbs annually, and the majority for export.

History

The tulip is not mentioned by any writer from antiquity, therefore it seems probable that tulips were introduced into Anatolia only with the advance of the Seljuks. Today, 14 species are found in Turkey.

Islamic World

Cultivation of the tulip began in Persia, probably in the 10th century. Early cultivars must have emerged from hybridisation in gardens from wild collected plants, which were then favoured, possibly due to flower size or growth vigour. During the Ottoman Empire, numerous tulips were cultivated and bred. Tulips are mentioned by Omar Kayam and Celaleddin Rûmi.

In 1574, Sultan Selim II. ordered the Kadi of A‘azāz in Syria to send him 50.000 tulip bulbs. However, Harvey points out several problems with this source, and there is also the possibility that tulips and hyacinth (sümbüll, originally Indian spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi) have been confused. Sultan Selim also imported 300.000 bulbs of Kefe Lale (also known as Cafe-Lale, from the medieval name Kaffa, probably Tulipa schrenkii) from Kefe for his gardens in the Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul. Sultan Ahmet III maintained famous tulip gardens in the summer highland pastures (Yayla) at Spil Dağı above the town of Manisa. They seem to have consisted of wild tulips. However, from the 14 tulip species known from Turkey, only four are considered to be of local origin, so wild tulips from Iran and Central Asia may have been brought into Turkey during the Seljuk and especially Ottoman periods. Sultan Ahmet also imported domestic tulip bulbs from the Netherlands.

The gardening book Revnak’ı Bostan (Beauty of the Garden) by Sahibül Reis ülhaç Ibrahim Ibn ülhaç Mehmet, written in 1660 does not mention the tulip at all, but contains advice on growing hyacinths and lilies. However, there is considerable confusion of terminology, and tulips may have been subsumed under hyacinth, a mistake several European botanists were to perpetuate. In 1515, the scholar Qasim from Herat in contrast had identified both wild and garden tulips (lale) as anemones (shaqayq al-nu’man), but described the crown imperial as laleh kakli.

In a Turkic text written before 1495, the Chagatay Husayn Bayqarah mentions tulips (lale). Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire, also names tulips in the Baburnama. He may actually have introduced them from Afghanistan to the plains of India, as he did with other plants like melons and grapes.

In Moorish Andalus, a “Makedonian bulb” (basal al-maqdunis) or “bucket-Narcissus” (naryis qadusi) was cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens. It was supposed to have come from Alexandria and may have been Tulipa sylvestris, but the identification is not wholly secure.

Introduction to Western Europe

Tulip cultivation in the Netherlands

Although it is unknown who first brought the tulip to Northwestern Europe, the most widely accepted story is that it was Oghier Ghislain de Busbecq, an ambassador for Emperor Ferdinand I to Suleyman the Magnificent. According to a letter, he saw “an abundance of flowers everywhere; Narcissus, hyacinths and those in Turkish called Lale, much to our astonishment because it was almost midwinter, a season unfriendly to flowers.” However, in 1559, an account by Conrad Gessner describes tulips flowering in Augsburg, Swabia in the garden of Councillor Heinrich Herwart. In Central and Northern Europe, Tulip bulbs are generally removed from the ground in June and must be replanted by September for the winter. It is doubtful that Busbecq could have had the tulip bulbs harvested, shipped to Germany and replanted between March 1558 and Gessner’s description the following year. Pietro Andrea Mattioli illustrated a tulip in 1565 but identified it as a narcissus, however.

Carolus Clusius planted tulips at the Vienna Imperial Botanical Gardens in 1573. After he was appointed director of the Leiden University’s newly established Hortus Botanicus, he planted some of his tulip bulbs here in late 1593. Thus, 1594 is considered the date of the tulip’s first flowering in the Netherlands, despite reports of the cultivation of tulips in private gardens in Antwerp and Amsterdam two or three decades earlier. These tulips at Leiden would eventually lead to both the Tulip mania and the tulip industry in the Netherlands.

The reproductive organs of a tulip

Carolus Clusius is largely responsible for the spread of tulip bulbs in the final years of the sixteenth century. He finished the first major work on tulips in 1592, and made note of the variations in color. While a faculty member in the school of medicine at the University of Leiden, Clusius planted both a teaching garden and his private garden with tulips. In 1596 and 1598, over a hundred bulbs were stolen from his garden in a single raid.

Between 1634 and 1637, the enthusiasm for the new flowers triggered a speculative frenzy now known as the tulip mania. Tulip bulbs became so expensive that they were treated as a form of currency, or rather, as futures. Around this time, the ceramic tulipiere was devised for the display of cut flowers stem by stem. Vases and bouquets, usually including tulips, often appeared in Dutch still-life painting. To this day, tulips are associated with the Netherlands, and the cultivated forms of the tulip are often called “Dutch tulips.” The Netherlands have the world’s largest permanent display of tulips at the Keukenhof.

Introduction to the United States

It is believed the first tulips in the United States were grown near Spring Pond at the Fay Estate in Lynn and Salem, Massachusetts. From 1847 to 1865, Richard Sullivan Fay, Esq., one of Lynn’s wealthiest men, settled on 500 acres (2.0 km2) located partly in present-day Lynn and partly in present-day Salem. Mr. Fay imported many different trees and plants from all parts of the world and planted them among the meadows of the Fay Estate.

 

 

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