Plant of the month: Tulips

Spring seems to be truly in motion now as not only are the days getting longer but things are starting to come back to life and bloom once again. There are so many plants and trees that look lovely this time of year, but for me, there’s nothing quite as beautiful as tulips when they’re finally flowering, so we here at 4AllSeasons have decided to make them our plant of the month.

One of the best things about tulips is just how many different variants and colours you can get and they’re all stunning. There are even some that are multi-coloured (see below) and they would make any garden look stunning. One downside to tulips is that they don’t flower or bloom for long, which is a real shame, but there’s no denying that the positives definitely outweigh that negative. They’re also one of the more popular choices to include in bouquets this time of year, and they last for around five days once cut.

Tulips are said to have originated in Turkey (fun fact: the symbol on the wing of planes used by Turkish Airlines is actually that of a tulip!). They were said to have been cultivated at some point during the 10th century. The Ottoman Empire bred numerous types of the flower and around fourteen species can still be found in Turkey to this very day. Tulips are believed to have arrived in Europe during the 1550’s and they quickly spread and grew in popularity. One of the most famous uses of displaying Tulips is of course in the Netherlands, where they have very famous, beautiful festival displays of hundreds of thousands of Tulips every year. The Netherlands are also the biggest commercial supplier of the flowers now, producing as many as three billion bulbs every single year.

Tulips are incredibly easy to plant in your garden. Late autumn/early winter is the best time to plant the bulbs. They can go in both flowerbeds and in pots (provided they have enough room) and they should be planted 10-15 cm (4 to 6 inches) apart from each other and are best planted at a depth of 10 to 20cm (4 to 8 inches). Larger bulbs need to be planted deeper than smaller ones. They will then begin to emerge from the soil several weeks before they really begin to get taller and eventually flower, but when they do it’s certainly worth the wait. Sadly, it’s not always a guarantee that tulip bulbs will re-emerge the following year, meaning you may wish to plant fresh bulbs again in the Autumn or Winter if you definitely want them again for the following spring.

The growth of Tulips themselves is mostly down to temperature conditions. Warm, sunny weather is needed to encourage the plants to bloom but when germinating the plants show greater growth if subjected to a period of cool dormancy. The colour of the tulip can also vary with growing conditions.

There are other uses for Tulips: they are believed to be edible. The taste is said to vary by variety and season and they have been compared to lettuce and other salad greens. The bulbs themselves though are not believed to be suitable for human consumption. However, during a Dutch famine in 1944-1945, Tulip bulbs were eaten out of desperation.

Tulips certainly have their downsides, but they are definitely among the more beautiful flowers you can have in your garden this time of year and are well worth considering adding to your beds or pots. I wouldn’t be without them now.