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The National Garden Bureau has named 2018 the Year of the Tulip! There’s not a doubt in my mind why the tulip was selected. Tulips are a flagship spring bulb that really announce spring is here and winter is over! It’s the light at the end of the tunnel when you see the tips poking through the ground in March that were almost there. In addition, I can’t think of any other spring bulb or plant that has more types or colors making endless options to dazzle your garden beds.

The tulip is a plant for the history book, as it dates back to the 10th century and was first introduced to the United States in the mid 1800’s. Today when you think of tulips the Netherlands come to mind as they are the largest producer of commercial bulbs providing more than 4 billion bulbs annually. The Netherlands is also home to the largest tulip and bulb display in the world called Keukenhof. They plant over 7 million flower bulbs annually in their parks that cover 79 acres. I’ll be adding a visit to Keukenhof to my bucket list!

Generally, tulips are planted in the fall for spring blooms. Like most bulbs, they require a dormant period of about 12 to 16 weeks of 40 degrees or colder. Clearly Rochester doesn’t have a problem providing these ideal conditions for tulips.

Planting a few different types and varieties can give the appearance of continuous blooms and extend your tulip season a few weeks. Tulips provide a mind-boggling array of flower forms, types, colors, plant height, and bloom time creating endless options. There are over 150 species of tulip and over 3000 varieties which are broken down into 16 different division or types based on specific characteristics to help classify all the varieties.

In order to get the most out of your tulips each year, here are a few simple tips for spring and fall.

  1. Let your tulips bloom this spring and enjoy them to the fullest!
  2. Once they are finished blooming cut off the dead flower head. Tulips will create a seed pod and use its energy for reproducing, cutting the dead head off will prevent this and allow the tulip to use its energy for growing and producing for next year’s flower.
  3. Leave the green foliage in the ground and let the plant wilt and turn yellow. Once the foliage has fully died you can easily remove the dead debris by simply pulling it out of the ground.
  4. The fall is the best time to fertilize to create gorgeous blooms next spring. We offer a few options including Espoma’s Bulb-Tone which offers directions for both new bulb plantings and established bed fertilizing. Fertilizing once a year in the fall will encourage beautiful blooms each spring.

There’s no question why the National Garden Bureau selected the Tulip as one of the features for 2018. Van Putte Gardens is happy to support the trend with our flowers and products. Visit us this spring and fall for your tulip growing, planting and fertilizing needs!

Written by: Michelle Castaneda, Sales & Marketing Coordinator

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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