Tulips are bulbous plants belonging to the large family Liliaceae. The genus Tulipa includes about a hundred species distributed in Europe, from Western Asia to Central Asia and North Africa.
Tulips are a massive success with gardeners, even amateurs; they are so simple to use: planted in autumn, they bring color and variety in spring.
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They are used in pots, troughs, flower beds, but understanding their cycle, their growth, and their needs helps to avoid some disappointment.
Tulips appreciate a relatively draining soil that prevents them from rotting. They need sunlight during their growth cycle, which corresponds to sunny beds in winter and spring since their cycle is completed in May.
This can be in the south-east to south-western beds, but also under deciduous trees and shrubs that let the winter sunshine through while draining the soil with their root system.
Tulip was the daughter of Proteus (a sea god who changed form at will and predicted the future). She was coveted by Vertumne, God of Autumn, with the attributes of a gardener, yet she remained insensitive to his assiduity.
Offended by her misfortune, Vertumne turned into a hunter and tracked Tulip to the depths of the woods. To save her, Diana, sister of Apollo (known as the white virgin), changed the young girl into a flower that blooms in spring. Since then, every year at the time of planting, autumn opens its heart to the Tulip.
The Tulip originated in the East, where Sultan Suleiman I fell in love with this beautiful and graceful flower. It was then shipped to Vienna, Holland, and then all over Europe.
The Tulip is a member of the Liliaceae family and includes many species, all of which are native to the mountainous regions of the northern hemisphere of Europe and Asia.
The Tulip is undoubtedly the most popular flower bulb. Millions of Tulips are cultivated, the majority of which come from Holland.
The bulbs of garden tulips are best planted from mid-October to mid-November, beginning of December at the latest. Earlier botanical tulips can be planted as early as September.
The bulbs are planted in loosened soil, at a depth that is at least three times the height of the bulb. They will thus be under at least two heights of soil bulb.
To easily manage the tulip beds, these bulbs can be placed in baskets provided for this purpose. They facilitate the collection of the bulbs when they are at rest.
On the other hand, if the tulips are botanical and there is a clear tendency towards naturalization, it is better to leave them in place. Some are even capable of naturalizing in the lawn.
Tulips produce “real” bulbs. The bulb consists of a tray from which the roots develop downwards and the leaves upwards. In the bulb, the base of the leaves is thickened and serves as a nutrient reserve.
Between these leaves are inserted the primary bud, the lateral buds that will produce the bulblets, and the flower bud. The whole is protected from dryness by a shirt, thin, dry brown skin.
The ventral scales of the bulb grow above the ground in real chlorophyllous leaves, then the bulb spends its reserves in nutrients for the benefit of the inflorescence.
Therefore, the thicker the bulb, the larger the flower of the Tulip will be. Hence the notion of size for horticultural tulips, which defines the quality of the bulb. A calibre 11/12 describes a bulb with a circumference of between 11 and 12 cm.
It is after the completion of the flower that the scales of the bulbs refloat for the following year, thanks to photosynthesis. In horticultural tulips, it is rare that the Tulip regains the same size as before.
The roots develop without branches: if the tips are broken, they can no longer grow. This means never disturbing the roots of a rooting tulip.
In stores, observe the bulbs and buy only healthy bulbs, not too dry, moldy, or stained. By mail order, the quality is very often there, but if it is doubtful, do not hesitate to make a complaint by email with a photo.
You will choose your tulips according to their colour and shape. But to combine several colours and invent your flowerbeds, other criteria must be taken into account.
If possible, combine tulips that flower at the same time (early, mid-season or late) and also take into account the height and size of the flower, because if the differences are too significant or not enough, the result can be disappointing. This is why ready-made, well-designed mixtures are attractive.
On the other hand, you can choose what you like if you plant them in a uniform group: one variety at a time planted tightly (one bulb about every 10 cm).
This way, they make a cheerful spot and are very easy to combine with other plants. In an informal bed, the effect is more natural if the bulbs are spaced irregularly: one technique is to drop or toss them gently and plant them precisely where they are.