Tulips come in dozens of varieties and colors. The bulbs originated in Asia before a biologist named Carolus Clusius introduced tulips to the Netherlands and the rest of the Western world in the 17th century. Tulips are both annuals and perennials.
In an article published by the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, horticulturist Bob Anderson recommends planting tulips during the months of October and November. The bulbs typically flower in early spring, between April and mid-May.
Tulips thrive in well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Anderson recommends avoiding areas in which triazine herbicides are present, and fertilizing heavy clay soil before planting the tulips. For 1-inch tulip bulbs, plant them in 5-inch deep holes dug 1 inch to 4 inches apart from each other, while larger bulbs need holes at least 8-inches deep and 4 inches to 8 inches away from each other. Tulips should be planted with the nose of the bulb up and the root plate down. Tulips that spring annually require full, daily sunlight to flower.
Tulips grew so popular in the Netherlands during the early 1600s that people were willing to pay exorbitant prices for some varieties. Many people gave up their homes and livelihoods to sell tulips for profit, something that backfired when supply exceeded demand and prices dropped dramatically. In response, the Netherlands imposed trading restrictions on tulips.