Own a Tulip or a bunch of them? You could be a millionaire… In the past that is. They once held the title of “Most Expensive Flower in the World”, and at one point in the 17th century, was considered to be more valuable than gold! But, if you think we’re past the “Tulip Mania”, the dedicated Tulip festivals and sightseeing tours beg to differ! Read on to find out how the Tulips blossomed into fame and kept their flower power over the years.
Tiptoeing Through The History Of Tulips
Tulip, or Tulipa, really needs no introduction. But just where on earth did it get its name from? Well, it’s believed to have been derived from the Persian word “Dulband”, which, incidentally, means turban in Turkish. Funnily enough, not only do the Tulip and turban look similar, but the flower also first grew in Turkey!
As for who had a hand in their booming popularity, look no further than botanist Carolus Clusius. He brought them west, but also made the earth-shattering discovery of “Tulip breaking”, a special colour-breaking effect that made Tulips look all the more enchanting, starting the craze. Professional growers then came into the picture, bred more flowers with the same technique, and made it the most expensive flower in the world.
There are currently over a whopping 3,000 varieties of Tulips registered. Thankfully, they can be segmented into 15 groups. We’ll cover some of the more common and popular finds below.
Single Early Tulips
Single Early Tulips are some of the earliest flowering varieties, blooming in the early-to mid-spring. They’re also easily distinguished by their fragrance, unique cup shape, and six-petal flower!
Double Tulips feature multi-layered blooms that are reminiscent of the Peony. It’s also why they’re often called the Peony Tulip. The blooms can grow up to 6 inches, about roughly the length of a ruler! Because the petals are so lavish, it’s common to stake the stems for additional support.
Darwin Hybrid Tulips
Developed in the Netherlands, Mr. D.W. Lefeber cross-bred the Fosteriana with regular Darwin Tulips. Needless to say, he was successful in creating a particularly sturdy hybrid, one that has stems that can withstand both wind and rain. Not that they’re any less pretty to look at either, what with their showy flowers that come in a spectrum of rainbow hues!
Tulip Flowers Meanings And Symbolism
Adored by many for centuries, Tulips are commonly associated with feelings of unconditional love, but they also signify the changing of seasons, rebirth, and charity. Of course, different coloured Tulips convey different messages, and you can find out more about what each symbolises below:
Meaning Of White Tulips
Need to apologise to someone? Like most white blossoms, the white Tulip represents forgiveness, and purity, but also respect, honour, and a pure, perfect love.
It’s also said that those who dream about white Tulips will embark on a new journey and have a fresh start in life!
Meaning Of Red Tulips
If you’re in a newfound relationship or simply want to win someone over, send them a bouquet of red Tulips. As the symbol of eternal love and passion, we guarantee they won’t be able to resist.
Meaning Of Yellow Tulips
Yellow Tulips have a bit of history surrounding them. They used to be associated with jealousy and hopeless love in the past but now stand for hope, friendship, and cheerful thoughts. What a turn of events!
Meaning Of Pink Tulips
Pink Tulips mean well wishes, love, and care. Whether you’re celebrating a promotion, the birth of a new baby, or graduation, nothing says “congratulations” like a big bouquet of pink Tulips.
Meaning Of Purple Tulips
Purple dye was a luxury only the rich could afford, which is why purple Tulips are associated with elegance and royalty. It’s a fabulous bunch for a bride on her big day!
Meaning Of Orange Tulips
Orange Tulips are used to convey excitement, enthusiasm, mutual connection and understanding, especially between lovers.
Meaning Of Blue Tulips
The man, the myth, the (flower) legend — while Tulips have been cultivated in basically every colour, the classic blue is basically a hard-to-find Horcrux. It’s not that they don’t exist, most just have a purplish tint on them, so they’re not a true blue.
Since they’re considered one-of-a-kind, blue Tulips stand for uniqueness and individuality.
Facts About Tulips Every Tulip Fan Should Know
- In the 1600s, Tulips were considered to be more valuable than a house — the ultimate bank breaker!
- Tulip bulbs are said to be edible and have been used to make tulip bread, soup plus (amazingly!) wine. However, don’t go munching on the Tulips you received in your bouquet! Flowers from florists, nurseries, or garden centers are not grown to be safe for consumption.
- Despite their huge popularity in the Netherlands, Tulips are actually native to central Asia.
- Still, the Netherlands remains the largest commercial producer, with around three billion Tulips being exported each year!
- Even when cut, Tulips will bend to grow towards the light and still continue to grow in your vase, sometimes even up to 15cm (6 inches) or more. Most varieties will also retain their beautiful symmetry!
Tulip Flower Care 101
Tulips look fabulous in a vase, either on their own or with other blooms. However, where most flowers would stop growing after they’re cut, Tulips will continue to sprout, which can make them trickier to care for. Scroll on to find out how to care for them properly!
How To Care For Your Cut Tulips
No matter how much you’re tempted by lovely Tulips in full bloom, we would suggest picking out Tulips that are tightly closed, with some green buds that aren’t fully coloured yet. The flowers will bloom over the next few days, and give you more time to bask in their beauty. You’ll also need to:
- Keep the stems wrapped in a paper towel or washcloth soaked in fresh water. This prevents them from drying out before you plop them into their vase.
- Cut ¼ an inch, roughly 0.6cm, from the base of the stem with a pair of sharp clippers. Angle it so that the Tulips will be able to soak up more water.
- Always (we cannot emphasise this enough!) put them in a clean vase. Bacteria can shorten the lifespan of your Tulips.
- Remove all the foliage found below the waterline. Any leaves or leftovers underwater will decompose quickly and spoil the water.
- Make sure to change the water in the vase daily.
- Keep them away from Daffodils and other flowers in the Narcissus family as they can cause the colours of your Tulips to fade faster.
Need more advice on cut flowers? Head on over to our flower care guide for pro-tips!
Where Is The Best Place To Keep Tulips?
Tulip blooms will always curve upwards and bend towards light, so it’s important to pick a vase that will cover at least half their height for additional support. Some sun is recommended, but no direct heat or light as it will cause them to wilt faster.
It’s Never Tu-late To Learn More!
The Tulip is, without a doubt, the flower equivalent of Supreme — the hype surrounding them will never flicker out. Now that you’ve uncovered more about the wonders that they are, don’t let us stop you from joining their fan club.
Loved this read? Check out our Flower Dictionary for more flower fun facts.