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Irish Florists > Flowers > Tulip

Tulip /Tulipa

Tulip Description

While not quite as popular as daffodils, tulips are a close second and most gardens have their share of these large and brilliantly coloured flowers.

There are literally hundreds of different varieties of Tulipa available. There are 8cm dwarfs right up to the variations such as Rembrandts that stand at ten times the height of their diminutive cousins. The array of colours is also very impressive ranging from white to near-black. Variations with second or third colours are actually caused by a virus and at one time these commanded huge asking prices.

Generally a single bowl or bell shaped bloom sits on top of an upright stem although some cultivars may have multiple heads and may be star-shaped. Most tulips have lance-shaped leaves. Unlike daffodils tulips cannot be grown in the lawn and must have their own clutter-free area of soil.

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Cultivation of Tulip Plants

Tulip Flowers

Tulip bulbs can be planted from November right through until Christmas. If the bulbs are planted too early the young growing tips may run foul of frost. For Garden tulips plant the bulbs 15-20cm deep and Botanical tulips can be planted to a depth of 10cm. The distance between individual bulbs will depend upon the variety but in some cases may be as far apart as 20cm.

The chosen site should be sunny and the soil must have good drainage. Tulips prefer alkaline soil so if your soil is acid in nature apply some lime just ahead of planting the bulbs.

Tulips benefit greatly from regular and frequent deadheading. Unlike daffodils tulips require annual lifting once the foliage has withered down. The lifted bulbs must be stored in a frost-free environment until planting time comes around again. Avoid using the same planting site every year.

Popular Varieties of Tulip

The following lists some popular varieties of Tulip.

Apricot Beauty Mid-April, strong stem, flowers open & flat, salmon, orange tinges

Mid-May, weak stem, large double flowers, pale pink

Humming Bird May, strong stem, partly green petals, yellow blooms
Queen of the Night May, tall, large oval heads, near-black flowers

Late April, conical - then rounded, red

Queen of Sheba

May, Long pointed petals, strong stems, orange with red edges


May, fine fringe, single head, pink blossoms

Tulip Pests and Diseases

Tulips can be susceptible to viruses such as cucumber mosaic and arabis mosaic. Damaged bulbs can be adversely affected by blue mould and tulip fire can cause scorching on flowers and leaves. The foliage and bulbs may suffer attacks from slugs and snails. Finally, mice may feed on stored bulbs if accessible.

Height 8 - 80cm

Tulip - Scientific Classification

Planting distance: 8 to 20cm Kingdom Plantae
Flowers from early to late spring Order Lilales
Well-drained soil Family Lilaceae
Sunny position Genus Tulipa
Bulbs available in autumn    
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Ageratum Daffodil Lily of the Valley Snapdragon
Alstroemeria Dahlia Lobelia Snowdrop
Anemone Daisy Marigold Stock
Babys Breath Delphinium Pansy Sunflower
Begonia Forget-me-Not Pelargonium Sweet Alyssum
Bells of Ireland Freesia Petunia Sweet Pea
Busy Lizzie Gladiolus Phlox Tulip
Chrysanthemum Hollyhock Poppy Wallflower

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