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History of tulips

The tulip has a rich history dating back centuries. The flower is commonly associated with the Netherlands and it’s iconic countryside tulip fields, but the flower originated as a wildflower in Central Asia. 

In the 16th century, tulips were cultivated in the Ottoman Empire in modern-day Turkey with the name tulip coming from the Turkish name for turban. They became a symbol of wealth and prestige when the sultan demanded cultivation of certain blooms for his pleasure. Tulips continued to remain popular in Turkey during what is known as the Age of the Tulips in the early 18th century where it was a crime punishable by exile to buy or sell tulips outside the capital. 

By the 17th century, Tulipomania swept through Europe, particularly the Netherlands, where tulip bulbs were highly desired and commanded exorbitant prices. Hybrids and mutations of the flower – think variegated colour and ragged-edge petals – were especially sought after with some bulbs costing more than a house in Amsterdam at the time. 

How to care for tulips

When selecting tulips, choose stems which a tightly in bud and showing a touch of colour to get the longest lifespan out of your cut flowers. Cut approximately 2cm off the ends of the stems on an angle and immediately plunge into a vase of cool water. Recut the stems and change the water every two days and keep away from direct sunlight, excessive heat, and drafts. Due to their toxicity to cats and dog, tulips should be kept out of reach of pets. Those with skin sensitivities should wash their hands after handling tulips as they contain an allergen which can cause dermatitis. 

Tulips are phototropic which means they naturally turn their heads to follow the light, and their stems continue to grow even after they’re cut. Their stems can become weaker as they stretch and grow so ensure they’re transferred to a vase which can support their stems as needed. 

How to style tulips

Tulips come in a myriad of colours offering endless possibilities for expression and creativity in floral design. Their graceful form and delicate petals have long inspired artists, poets, and horticulturalists.  

Due to their phototropic nature, tulips are best styled en masse or grouped in an arrangement so that their growing stems don’t appear out of place alongside other botanicals. Choose a stunning vase and a few bunches of your favourite tulip and style with some bold accent leaves for a modern design. Enjoy watching the stems twist and turn seemingly with a mind of their own. 

The most well-known meaning of tulips is perfect and deep love making a bouquet of tulips, particularly in hues of red or pink, a top contender for romantic occasions and floral gifts for your romantic partner.

Whether you’re planning a romantic gesture or simply decorating your home, tulips represent perfect love. Plus, explore our options for same-day delivery flowers to bring the beauty of tulips directly to your doorstep.


Bouquets, Plants & Gifts by Victoria Whitelaw Melbourne Florist