Tulip varietiesThe result of crossing tulip varieties together over the years is that many more variations have been created, these are called ‘cultivars’. Think of the ‘Ice Cream’, ‘Innuendo’ and Paul Scherer’. The general rule with tulips is, the bigger the bulb the bigger the flower. In addition, there are variations in flowering periods, flower shape, singles or doubles and colours (patterns). For example, single flowers have sturdy flowers with six petals. The flowers of the Lily-flowered tulips are more slender often with pointed petals. Parrot tulips are fringed and botanical tulips are usually smaller than the normal tulips and very useful for naturalising.
Planting tulip bulbsSpring flowering bulbs should be planted in the autumn. These bulbs need to have a long cold spell in order to bloom. Make sure you plant your tulip bulbs before the first frosts of autumn (October-December). This will give your tulip bulbs enough time to develop a strong root system before it gets too cold.
You can of course also plant tulip bulbs in pots and planters and whether potted or in the garden, you can mix them wonderfully with other bulbs like daffodils, hyacinths or early flowering alliums. Tulips also combine very well with hardy perennials in an existing bed or border.
- Layer the base of any pot, planter or window box with gravel or clay pellets.
- Cover them with potting compost.
- Plant the tulip bulbs on the compost with the point upwards, properly spaced.
- Cover with soil to a sufficient depth and press them frimly in.
- Water generously.
In the garden…
- Find the best spot for your tulip bulbs.
- Loosen the soil with a fork and insert the trowel deep into the soil.
- Pull the trowel towards you to create a sufficiently large gap.
- Plant each bulb point upwards at 10-15 cm deep and 7-10 cm distance apart.
- Cover the bulbs with a layer of soil and press the soil firmly.
- Water immediately.
Caring for your tulipsTulips flower March to June. Don’t worry if they are already above ground and in early spring the weather turns for the worse and starts to freeze again. Tulips are, like other spring flowers, pretty hardy and can usually handle all Mother Nature throws at them!
Once flowering is over, you can snip of the overblown flower heads but then leave them alone so the bulb can store energy as the leaves die off. Now’s the time to feed them too. Only dig the bulbs up after the leaves have turned yellow. Dry the bulbs off and store them in an airy spot in the shed over the summer. Plant them out again in the autumn!
Tulips in the vaseTulips make a fabulous cut flower. Rembrandt tulips are particularly suited for cutting but others are just as lovely. Give them a vase filled with room-temperature tap water. Please note that tulips in the vase can grow by several centimeters. Cut the stems at an angle and arrange them nicely in the vase. The vase is best stood in a cool spot out of the sun.
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