Flower of the Month January: the Tulip

The Tulip is the flower of the month January and is known for its ‘never-ending’ winter growing process. Nowadays, you get to enjoy a bouquet of Tulips for a couple of quid. But did you know that Tulip bulbs used to be more valuable than gold in Holland?

Origin and characteristics

Tulips originate from the Middle East. Before their introduction into Europe in the 16th century, they were cultivated and bred in Iran and Turkey. Nowadays, nearly all hybrid flower bulbs come from Holland.

The Tulip’s special charm is that they keep growing once they’re cut and gain an inch in height or even more. But they are also known as the flowers that dance in your vase! This occurs as the stems grow upward, the large flower heads respond and grow towards the light. The flowers open wide during the day and close at night.


Unknown Tulip facts

You might have heard about the abovementioned characteristics before. However, we are pretty sure that you were not aware of the following Tulip facts. Did you know that…

  • Tulips and Lilies belong to the same family? They are both members of the Liliaceae family.
  • Tulip bulbs used to be more valuable than gold in the 17th Century in Holland? During this ‘Tulip Mania‘ tulips became so expensive that they were treated as a form of currency. Which is pretty odd considering that the vase life of a tulip is only 3 to 7 days.
  • Daffodils and Tulips are not a great combination? The sap of Daffodils is toxic to cut Tulips, so do not store or display them in the same container.
  • Red tulips symbolise impetuous love and black tulips mean: ‘I love you so much, I want to sacrifice everything for you’. Quite romantic, isn’t it?

Cultivars and shapes

Tulips are available in all kinds of colours and shapes because there are thousands of cultivars and hybrids known. Below we will address some of the most common varieties.

  • The most common Tulip variety is probably the Goblet Type, which is a waxy, goblet-shaped, single flower. These tulips are mostly 6-petalled flowers.
  • Parrot Tulips have broken, serrated incurved blooms. The flowers are green as buds but as soon as the flower opens, the brilliant colours reveal.
  • Tulips with slender flowers and often pointed, recurving petals are called Lily-Flowered Tulips. Some of these Tulips make good cut flowers, others are fragrant.
  • Overall, there are single flower Tulips and double flower Tulips. Because of their shape and large size, the latter is also known as Peony-Flowered Tulips.

Care tips

Wondering how you should properly cut your Tulips? Before arranging the tulips, condition them by re-cutting the base of the stem with a clean sharp knife. This will open up the flower’s water-uptake channels. Tulips don’t need flower food, otherwise, they will open too fast.



Find a florist near you that sells Tulips in our Florist Finder.

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