Tulips are one of the world’s favorite flowers, and there are more than 3,000 cultivated varieties of the blossoms, which grow in shades of pink, white, yellow, red and orange. Other colors are the result of centuries of breeding by tulip enthusiasts and the "tulip mania," which swept the Netherlands in the 17th century and pushed the price of tulip bulbs into the thousands of dollars, though they are now affordable to almost anyone.
Middle Eastern Origins
The word "tulip" comes from a Turkish word meaning "turban."
Tulips do not originate in the Netherlands, the country most often associated with the flowers, but in the Middle East. According to Flora of Jordan, three varieties of wild tulip grow in Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan, which scientists believe made their way to Turkey and on to other parts of Europe. The name "tulip" comes from a Turkish word for turban, "tulben," which the Gardening Tips website says is rooted in the similarities between the shape of the flower and the traditional headdress.
Holland’s Favorite Flower
Tulips are an icon of the Netherlands.
Tulips have long been associated with the Netherlands, introduced in the 17th century and serving as iconic symbols of the country alongside clogs and windmills. Holland is home to the world’s largest flower garden, Keukenhof, which features more than 4.5 million tulips of 100 different varieties each year, according to its official website. The garden also features a "walk of fame" with tulips named in honor of famous people and claims to be the world’s most photographed place.
Tulips can even be grown indoors during the winter.
Though tulips are commonly associated with the spring, the Garden Hobbies website says you can also grow them indoors during the winter. To get fresh tulips while there is still snow on the ground, plant the bulbs in a container, and place it outside in the cold for several weeks. Move the plants to a warm location indoors, and place them next to a sunny window. In a few weeks, the tulip bulbs will think spring has arrived after a long winter and will go into full bloom.
The life of cut tulips can be extended with the right steps.
Once harvested, cut tulips can live for up to 10 days in a vase if given proper care. Purchase tulips that have not fully opened yet, and, once at home, cut the stems to the desired length at a diagonal to allow them to better absorb water. The Gardening Tips website also recommends adding a pinch of sugar to the tulip’s water to keep them looking good longer, though commercial plant food may be more effective.