By Josh Prust

The tulip is known all over the world.Today there are roughly eighty varieties known to exist.Tulips (Genus Tulipa, Family Liliaceae) were introduced in Western Europe in the early 16th century and became an enormous craze.

The tulip is 15-20 inches tall with 2 or 3 leaves clustered at the base with are parallel veined.This plant has a bell shaped flower with 3 petals, 3 sepals and 6 free stamens (the male reproductive part of the plant).Because there are so many varieties of tulips they produce almost every color of flower, from purest white to almost black with the exception true blue.

The tulip is a perennial flower, which means it will bloom every year.The tulip is almost essential is flower garden because it blooms in the early spring.This gives your garden color before the other flowers have a chance to bloom.The tulip should be planted in the fall, anytime from September to December as long as the ground is not frozen.After the leaves have turned brown, this is the time to cut back the leaves and flower so the bulb can get all the necessary nutrients.

Tulips prefer a light soil, such as sandy soil, which will drain really well.When planted in a heavier soil the soil will stay wet longer and will give disease an opportunity to damage the bulb.Tulips can also grow in almost any climate, but they grow best where there is a cold winter and a hot and dry summer, such as the upper to middle Midwest of the U.S

Picture 1 from - http://www.shimazaki.com/flower/tulip/
Picture 2 from - http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/senior/flowers/