They gave their name to successful films, cartoons and literary characters. They are among the most beautiful flowers that nature has ever given us, perhaps the only ones, due to the shape and colors of the petals. We are talking about tulips, bulbous species used to decorate gardens, balconies, terraces and to obtain cut flowers to give as gifts. Fully registered in the world of the language of flowers, tulips are much appreciated by gardeners for their splendid colorful flowers: truly beautiful specimens to admire and able to enhance the aesthetic performance of a hedge and a flower bed to the maximum. . Easy to grow, tulips require only a few small cultural precautions that will always make them grow healthy and luxuriant.


Tulips, also called tulipa, are bulbous species belonging to the Liliaceae family. Native to Asia and Mediterranean Europe, these species have more than one hundred varieties classified according to the shape and color of the flowers. Tulips were widely cultivated in Turkey already 10 thousand years ago and were imported to Europe around 1500. The largest producer of tulips is Holland, where in the Renaissance period a real market for the sale of tulips was formed, which were quoted like financial stocks. The name tulipa derives from the Turkish “tullband” which means “turban” due to the shape of the flowers that recalls this particular headdress. Tulips have a stem from ten centimeters to half a meter high, bearing fleshy leaves that are green and bluish in color. At the top of the stem single flowers develop which can have different colors, from white to red to purple. In the center of the flower the petals are colored black, while the outer ones can be streaked with two colors, giving life to the precious two-colored varieties.


There are many varieties of tulips. Some grow spontaneously, others are obtained from hybrids or from crosses between single-colored and two-colored varieties. Among the best known varieties we remember the tulipa linifolia, the tulipa australis, the tulipa tarda and the tulipa silvestris. Cultivated for ornamental purposes are the tulipa fosteriana and tulipa lanata varieties. A further classification of tulips is made based on the time of flowering and the color of the flowers. In this sense there are early tulips, double early, late, single-colored, two-colored and shaded tulips. On the market there are numerous hybrids derived from the crossing between single-colored and two-colored tulips. Among the most valuable hybrids we mention: Cottage, used for the production of the cut flower; Darwin, used both for the cut flower and in the garden, and Breeder which offers a combination of variously colored flowers (orange, yellow, chamois, bronze and purple). Some hybrids are used to force flowering, such as Triumph. There are also hybrids “Dragons”, also called “Parrots”, for the flowers with streaked or spotted petals. From these we also obtained the “Bizzarri” hybrids with flowers with completely unusual shapes and colors compared to classic tulips. Tulipa linifilia are varieties of pink-flowered tulips. Tulipa australis, also called mountain tulips, have yellow flowers on the inside and slightly orange on the outside. The flowers of the late tulipa are always yellow, with white apical shades. The tulipa silvestris, with their completely yellow flowers, represent the spontaneous variety that also grows in Italy. Present in the southern areas, they are also called “field tulips”. From the tulipa fosteriana varieties with red, white, violet, pink and orange red flowers are obtained. Tulips lanata have flowers with pink petals and a yellow inner center.


Tulips are bulbous species that do not need excessive care. Perfectly able to absorb rainwater, they must be irrigated only when needed, or in periods of drought. Due to their vegetative characteristics they can stay for many years in the same soil and are suitable for both pot and open field cultivation. Particular attention must be paid in the case of propagation, which occurs through the bulbili that are formed from the basal bulbs. Some bulbilis are sterile and just create confusion at the base of the flower bed that should house the tulips. In the multiplication activity it is therefore necessary to identify the fertile bulbili. In the next paragraphs we will examine individually the various practices to be implemented in the cultivation of tulips.

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