Tulips are one of the most beautiful spring flowers. For more than four centuries, they have been an integral part of European gardens and, as a cut flower, a delightful indoor decoration. As a cultivated flower, they gained their greatest popularity in the Netherlands, where they are regarded as a national asset. Their high position in Dutch culture is evidenced by the National Tulip Day celebrated there every January. We would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little more about the history of the tulip and give you some floral tips.
A brief history of the tulipThe natural habitat of tulips is Central Asia: from Turkey, through Iran and Kazakhstan, but they are also found in north-eastern China and Japan. They also grow wild in North Africa and Southern Europe. The rulers of the Ottoman Empire were the first to be enthralled by the beauty of these flowers and introduced the plants into their gardens. Tulips were an extremely prestigious flower during this period. They were grown in enclosed gardens, inaccessible to outsiders. Only wealthy people could afford to own them. They arrived in Europe in the mid-16th century, probably thanks to an Austrian ambassador who received them at the court of the Sultan of Turkey. Cultivation of tulips, first in Austria and then in his native Netherlands, was taken up by botanist Charles Kluzius. His great passion resulted in the creation of numerous varieties of the exotic plant, which became increasingly popular with flower lovers.
Tulip feverIn the 17th century Holland was gripped by a veritable tulip madness. As popularity grew, so did the price of tulip bulbs, and the tulip trade soon became a subject of speculation. Huge sums were paid for the most interesting, rarest varieties. Often houses or farms were mortgaged to obtain the most exceptional ones. Eventually, the tulip bulb burst and the plummeting price of the flowers drove many who invested in them into bankruptcy. Despite the spectacular financial meltdown, tulips remained popular with flower lovers, although they lost their position as exclusive plants. Thanks to price reductions, they became available to a wider range of people and quickly became widespread. Today, they can be found in cultivated form almost everywhere in the world. Nearly 120 botanical species of tulip are known, which have developed into thousands of varieties. The flowers come in practically every colour of the rainbow. They are eagerly used in floral arrangements associated with Easter, given on the occasion of Women's Day or Valentine's Day. Cut tulips are available for sale from January to the end of April.
How to care for cut tulipsUnfortunately, cut tulips are not a particularly long-lasting flower. However, if we stick to a few simple rules we will enjoy their beautiful view for longer:
1. Serve the flowers with fresh, cool water.
Tulips should stand in clean water. It should not fill the vase completely, but allow all the tips to dip freely and take in water. The water should be changed regularly, preferably every day or at most every other day. The water level should also be checked, as tulips "drink" a lot of it.
2. Trim the stems regularly.
The thing to do to keep your tulips in good shape for longer is to trim the stems. The first one should be done before putting the flowers in the vase. The stems should be shortened by about 3 cm, at an angle, to increase the water intake area. This should be repeated from time to time, each time shortening the stems by approx. 0.5 cm, always diagonally.
3.Keep the flowers cool.
Cut tulips should be placed away from sources of heat. Placed in a sunny window or in close proximity to a radiator, they will quickly lose their firmness and wilt. They benefit from the cold. In the flat, they should be placed in cool and airy places. In a florist's shop, the ideal solution for them would be to place them in a flower refrigerator or a refrigerated flower counter, which will keep them in perfect condition for many days. An experiment we conducted showed that, with a systematic water change, tulips enclosed in a flower refrigerator stayed in good condition for up to 18 days and a few days after removal! It is also worth knowing that the cold is able to 'resuscitate' plants whose stems have weakened and bent. Wrap the flowers in paper and put them in a vase of water with a few ice cubes or set them in a fairly cool place for a while. The cold will make the stems regain their firmness and the paper collar will help them get back upright.
4. Make sure you have the right company.
Although tulips visually blend beautifully with other flower species, they feel best on their own. Combining them in bouquets with, for example, daffodils will accelerate their wilting, whereas if you include roses in the composition, tulips will harm the latter.
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