Tulips are a genus of spring-blooming perennial herbaceous bulbiferous geophytes. The flowers are usually large, showy and brightly coloured, generally red, pink, yellow, or white. They often have a different coloured blotch at the base of the tepals, internally. The tulip is a member of the lily family, Liliaceae, along with 14 other genera, where it is most closely related to Amana, Erythronium and Gagea in the tribe Lilieae.

Tulips are native to Central Asia and Turkey.They are among the oldest cultivated plants and have been hybridized to produce just about every color except for true blue. The plants have two to six broad, strappy leaves with a waxy coat that gives them a blue-green color. Most tulips have one flower per stem, but a few are multi-flowering.

Table of Contents


Under 6 inches (Depend on types)

6 inches - 3 feet (Depend on types)

Width-Circumference (Avg)

6 - 9 inches

Approximate pH

6.0 - 7.0

Growth Nutrition of Tulip

Like all plants, tulips need the essential elements of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium as well as secondary nutrients, such as calcium and magnesium. Fertilizing tulips with some nitrogen before they bloom will encourage blooming, but using too much nitrogen promotes leaf growth at the expense of blooms.

Types of Tulip

The variety of tulips available is somewhat bewildering since there are 15 separate divisions based on characteristics such as plant size, bloom time, flower shape, and genetic origin:

  • Single early: Cup-shaped with one flower per short stem; first tulips to bloom, starting late March.

  • Double early: More than the usual number of petals, with a fluffy appearance; tall stems (12 to 15 inches); start blooming in early April; can be harmed by cold snaps and winds.

  • Triumph: Cross between early and late singles; tall stems (15 to 18 inches); late-April bloomers.

  • Darwin hybrid: Cross between Darwin and Fosteriana; tall stems (24 inches) and very hardy; naturalize well; late-season, blooming into May.

  • Single late: One bloom per stem; known for a wide range of colors and late-season bloomers.

  • Lily-flowered: Tall (18 to 24 inches), late-season bloomers with pointed, slightly flared petals.

  • Fringed: Fringed or ruffled petal edges in many colors, sometimes with contrasting colors on the fringe; late-season bloomers with 12- to 18-inch stems.

  • Viridiflora: Late season blooms on 12- to 24-inch stems with distinctive green streaks in their petals.

  • Rembrandt: Once prized for their colorful streaks and mottling; no longer grown commercially because the coloring was caused by a virus that spreads to other tulips; plants now advertised as 'Rembrandt' are cultivars that mimic the look of the originals.

  • Parrot: Named for the bud's resemblance to a parrot's beak; flowers are large, with twisted, curling petals on tall stems (12 to 24 inches); late-season blooms.

  • Double late: Also called peony tulips; tall stems (18 to 24 inches) with enough petals to rival a peony bloom; not particularly hardy but work well in containers.

  • Kaufmanniana: Also known as the water lily tulip; early bloomers with wide-open flowers that are almost flat; leaves have brownish-purple mottling; short plants, only 6 to 12 inches tall.

  • Fosteriana: Also known as emperor tulips; large flowers, often with pointed petals and available in many colors; bloom mid-season; plant 8 to 15 inches tall.

  • Griegii: Short (8 to 12 inches), early-season bloomers with flared, pointed petals and wavy leaves; brightly colored, including some bi-colors.

  • Species or wild tulips: Great for perennializing; short plants (4 to 12 inches) with lots of variety and varying bloom times.

There are literally hundreds of named cultivars across the various tulip divisions. A handful of the popular ones include:

  • 'Purissima' (Fosteriana division): Very early, pale yellow petals that fade to white.

  • 'Ballarina' (Lily division): Fragrant with flared, pointed, orange petals.

  • 'Prinses Irene' (Triumph division): Rembrandt-style orange petals streaked with burgundy.

  • 'Spring green' (Viridiflora division): White petals with green center stripes; late-blooming and long-lasting.

  • 'Las Palmas' (Fringed division): Large, fringed white petals with a red flame, long-lasting cut flower.

  • 'Vanilla Coupe' (Double late division): Yellow, double five-inch blooms with an outer layer of green petals, blooms in late May.

  • 'Diamond Jubilee' (Triumph division): Mid-spring bloomer with creamy white petals edged in vivid pink.

  • 'Estella Rijnveld' (Parrot division): These have ruffled petals in red and white color. This is a cup-shaped flower. The combination of red and white is awesome. It is one of eye-appealing flower in the garden.

Planting Tulips

When to Plant Tulips

  • Plant tulip bulbs in the fall, 6 to 8 weeks before a hard, ground-freezing frost is expected. The bulbs need time to establish themselves. Planting too early leads to disease problems. See local frost dates.

  • A good rule of thumb is to plant bulbs when the average nighttime temperatures in your area are in the 40- to 50-degree range.

  • In colder northern climates, plant in September or October. In warmer climates, plant bulbs in December (or even later).

  • Nature never intended for bulbs to loll about above ground, so don’t delay planting the bulbs after purchase.

  • In southern climates with mild winters, plant bulbs in late November or December. The bulbs will need to be chilled in the refrigerator for about 12 weeks before planting. (Bulb suppliers often offer pre-chilled bulbs for sale, too.)

  • If you miss planting your bulbs at the optimal time, don’t wait for spring or next fall. Bulbs aren’t like seeds. Even if you find an unplanted sack of tulips or daffodils in January or February, plant them and take your chances.

Choosing and Preparing a Planting Site

  • Tulips prefer a site with full or afternoon sun. In Zones 7 and 8, choose a shady site or one with morning sun only, as tulips don’t like a lot of heat.

  • Soil must be well-draining, neutral to slightly acidic, fertile, and dry or sandy. All tulips dislike areas with excessive moisture.

  • Tall varieties should be sheltered from strong winds.

  • You’ll want to space bulbs 4 to 6 inches apart, so choose a large enough planting site.

  • Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost.

How to Plant Tulips

  • Plant bulbs fairly deep—6 to 8 inches deep, or about three times the height of the bulb. Dig a hole deeper than that in order to loosen the soil and allow for drainage. In clay soils, plant 3 to 6 inches deep instead.

  • Set the bulb in the hole with the pointy end up. Cover with soil and press soil firmly.

  • Water bulbs right after planting. Although they can’t bear wet feet, bulbs need water to trigger growth.

  • If you’re planning to raise perennial tulips, feed them a balanced fertilizer when you plant them in the fall. Bulbs are their own complete storage system and contain all of the nutrients they need for one year. Use organic material, compost, or a balanced time-release bulb food.

  • To deter mice and moles—if they have been a problem—put holly or any other thorny leaves in the planting holes. Some gardeners use kitty litter or crushed gravel. If ravenous voles and rodents are a real problem, you may need to take stronger measures, such as planting bulbs in buried wire cages.

  • Don’t lose hope if you’re planting your tulips later in the season

Growing Tulips

How to Grow Tulips

  • If it rains weekly, do not water. However, if there is a dry spell and it does not rain, you should water the bulbs weekly until the ground freezes.

  • Rainy summers, irrigation systems, and wet soil are death to tulips. Never deliberately water a bulb bed unless in a drought. Wet soil leads to fungus and disease and can rot bulbs. Add shredded pine bark, sand, or any other rough material to the soil to foster swift drainage.

  • Apply compost annually to provide nutrients needed for future blooms.

  • In the spring, when leaves emerge, feed your tulip the same bulb food or bone meal which you used at planting time. Water well.

  • Deadhead tulips as soon as they go by, but do not remove the leaves!

  • Allow the leaves to remain on the plants for about 6 weeks after flowering. The tulips need their foliage to gather energy for next year’s blooms! After the foliage turns yellow and dies back, it can be pruned off.

  • Large varieties may need replanting every few years; small types usually multiply and spread on their own.

How to Get Tulips to Bloom

Mature tulip bulbs normally bloom reliably in the spring if the conditions are right—plenty of sun, and fertile, well-drained soil. When bulbs fail to bloom, it's usually for one of these reasons:

  • The bulbs are not yet mature enough. Especially after dividing, small bulbs make take a year or two to develop into flowering plants. Good spring feeding will speed their development.

  • The bulbs are too old. Hybrid tulips, in particular, are fairly short-lived. When your tulips begin to decline, dig them up and split off the younger offset bulbs to replant.

  • The plants don't get enough sunlight. Tulips are sun-loving plants, so don't position them where fences, walls, or coniferous trees cast shade.

  • The bulbs need feeding. Tulips are not heavy feeders, but you should give them a healthy dose of bulb fertilizer when planting and each spring thereafter.


If growing them in cold-winter zones, garden tulips require no special winter protection, but it is best to withhold watering in fall, as wet winter soil can encourage bulb rot. Fall is a good time to divide bulbs, which is recommended every three to five years for hybrid varieties.

Pruning and Propagating Tulips


When growing tulips as perennials, remove the flower stalks immediately after they flower to prevent the plants from producing seed pods, which drains the bulb's energy and shortens its life. Leave the foliage in place until it turns yellow in mid-to late summer. This helps replenish the bulb's energy.

Propagating Tulips

While tulips can be propagated from seeds, the more common way to do it is by lifting the bulbs and dividing the offset bulbs (bulblets) that are attached to the mother bulb. This should be done in the fall, at the normal planting time for tulips.

  1. Dig up the bulbs with a trowel or spade, then brush off the soil and gently break off the small offset bulbs from the mother bulb.

  2. Inspect the offsets and discard any that appear soft or deformed.

  3. Replant the offsets and the mother bulb at a depth about three times the diameter of the bulb, with the pointed side facing up.

For the first few years, the new tulips may produce foliage but no flowers. At about the third year, you can expect the new bulbs to bloom.

How to Grow Tulips From Seed

Propagating tulips by seeds is not common, as they are very slow-growing, and seeds collected from hybrid plants generally do not "come true" to the original plant. Species tulips, however, will come true if you plant the seeds found in the pods left behind after the flowers fade. But nursing the seeds through germination to mature plants with bulbous roots is a slow process, requiring close to two years.

After collecting the seeds from the dried pods, store them in the refrigerator for at least 12 to 14 weeks, then sow them on the surface of small pots filled with potting mix. In cold winter zones, tulip seeds are often planted indoors in late February. Cover the seeds with a bare covering of additional potting mix (1/4 inch). Place the pots in a sunny location and keep them moist until the seeds sprout. The pots can be moved outside once the weather warms. Keep the seedlings growing in the pot through the spring, summer, and fall, feeding them weekly with a half-strength dose of balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer. This heavy feeding is necessary for the seedlings to create bulbous roots.

In late fall, move the potted plants back into the refrigerator—or into a cold frame for outdoor chilling. Again, the plants will need to be chilled for at least 12 weeks. In later winter or early spring after the chilling period is complete, bring the pots back outdoors to sprout and grow once more. Once the foliage is fully developed in this second growing season, the plants can be transplanted into their permanent garden locations. But remain patient, as it may take another full year before seed-started plants are ready to flower.

Potting and Repotting Tulips

Tulips are easy to grow in well-draining pots filled with standard potting mix. This is the method often used if you want to force tulips into midwinter bloom indoors, but timing is critical, as the bulbs require a 12- to 14-week chilling period. Plant the chilled bulbs about 2 to 3 inches deep, lightly moisten the soil, then store the pots in a dry, cool (35 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit) location for the recommended chill period. The pots can be chilled in a refrigerator, or outdoors in a sheltered location if you live in a cold-winter climate.

After the chill period, bring the pots into a bright room at moderately warm temperatures—about 60 to 65 degrees. Within three to five weeks, the plants should flower. Thus, for late January or early February bloom, the bulbs will need to be planted in late September and chilled until late December.

Pests and Plant Diseases

Tulip bulbs and foliage are popular with many animals, including deer, squirrels, and other rodents. In some areas, it's just not worth planting tulips in the ground, and you're better off growing them in protected containers. Alternatively, you can try deterrents or interplant the tulips with daffodils, but be prepared to lose a few.

Insect pests include:

  • Aphids, which can be washed off with water spray or squashed with your fingers.

  • Bulb mites, which sometimes are found in purchased bulbs. Inspect the bulbs for signs of decay. A brief two-minute soak in 120-degree water will kill mites.

  • Thrips can be combatted with sticky traps, or by introducing ladybugs and green lacewings as predatory insects. Thrip damage may appear as brown or silvery streaks on the leaves of tulips.

Tulips are susceptible to basal rot and fire fungus. Basal rot appears as dark brown spotting or as pink or white fungus on the bulbs. Plants that grow from affected bulbs may be deformed and/or die early. The best remedy is to discard affected bulbs and plant new bulbs that have been treated with a fungicide.

Bulbs affected by fire fungi lead to malformed or stunted plants or plants that never emerge. Affected plants may have curling shoots or dead areas with dark green rings. Treat affected plants with a fungicide. Discard affected bulbs, and plant new bulbs that have been treated with a fungicide.

Problems With Tulips

In the right location and climate, tulips are quite trouble-free, though hybrid types may decline much faster than you'd like—within three or four years. In addition, there are a few other common complaints;

Tall Varieties Flop Over

Some hybrid tulips have very large blossoms and flower stalks that can be 2 feet or more in height. These types may require staking, especially if the plants are in semi-shady locations, which encourages legginess.

Plants Collapse at Ground Level

When tulip stems grow soft and collapse at ground level, it's almost always due to root or stem rot caused by excessively moist soil. Remember that tulips are native to moderately dry regions of Europe and Asia, and will do best in conditions that mimic that environment.

Foliage Is Twisted, Distorted

This is usually a symptom of a serious fungal disease (see above) that will require you to dig up and destroy the bulb before it can spread to other plants.

Flowers and Flower Buds Are Streaked, Distorted

This is usually a symptom of tulip virus, for which there is no cure. Affected plants must be removed and discarded—not composted, which can allow the virus to be transmitted.

Benefits of Tulip

Fights with skin infections

Tulips essential oil is widely popular in treating skin if you have rashes, insects’ bites, irritation, redness and more. Its calming effect plus antioxidant agent’s fights with free radicals thus leave beautiful skin.

Stress reliever

If you’re feeling headache and depression or anxiety. It will soothe your brain nerves and boost mental activity.

Perfect moisturizer

According to skin’s experts, we have found Tulip’s oil has moisturizing properties that keep your skin always hydrates and protective from environmental damages. It is perfect for dry skin.

Use as fragrance

You can use tulip’s oil as room freshener because of its aromatic fragrance. This help to keep your room environment calm that gives a strong impact on your brain, emotional and physical health ramblingly.


  • Tulip extracts are used in many beauty products. Cosmetic uses of tulip are best for dry sensitive skin,

  • Tulip extracts are used in cream, hand lotions and in essential oils,

  • Tulip extracts are used in Perfumes.

  • Used for sinus pain, hay fever and headache.

  • Used as Ornamental plant

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