By: Missy Montgomery
The tulip is a member of the lily family which flowers in the spring and is a bulbous herb. About eighty species of tulips exist. The tulip gained popularity quickly after it was introduced in western Europe in the Sixteenth century. Tulip bulbs are still a major export of the Netherlands. Michigan and Washington are the most common states for growing tulips commercially in the United States.
Tulips are erect flowers with long, broad, parallel-veined leaves and a cup-shaped, single or double flower at the tip of the stem. Colors of the flowers can range anywhere from red to yellow to white. Some tulips are varicolored as a result of a viral disease carried and transferred to the plants by aphids.
In northern climates, tulip bulbs are planted before the ground freezes, usually between September and December. In warmer climates, they are treated as annuals. Tulips can grow in climate zones 2-7. Tulips are usually planted twice as deep as their height and about three to four inches apart. Tulip bulbs can be planted in all types of soil as long as there is good drainage. Tulips need to be watered thoroughly, and may need to be covered with leaves or compost during periods of severe frost.
Tulips can make a colorful addition to any flower bed or garden and are very easy to grow.
Better Homes and Gardens
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MSN Encarta Reference