Flower Power: It is Tulip Season again in Oregon!

By Keith Hill

The Tulip has come a long way from its natural beginnings in Persia in the 10th century. Tulips were first cultivated for their size and color to beautify the grounds of the Sultans. Even the name, Tulip, is thought to come from the Persian word for Turban which they resembled.  The large bright colored blooms planted in mass can paint a dreary landscape beautiful almost overnight as the earth warms to awaken them again. European visitors to the Ottoman courts were very impressed and soon the tales of color caused a desire for Tulips in the West.

The Tulip was different than any other flower in Europe and soon became a symbol of wealth to have them. As Tulips became more popular and sought after the cultivation of color and shape became a status symbol among the well off. The varieties with multicolor petals became immensely valuable and sought after. It is now known that the affect was caused by a Virus called the Tulip Breaking Virus, so called because it breaks one petal color into two or more. The Dutch, who formed many of our financial techniques we use today created a market for Tulip bulbs.  As human nature always seems to do, it was not long before there was a huge bubble in the price of Tulips in which fortunes were made and lost. At one point there was a sale of 40 bulbs for what would be today over $1 million dollars.  Fortunately for us the production and supply has come down to a more reasonable amount today.

Tulips are a spring blooming perennial bulb plant. There are thousands of hybrids and cultivars of size, color, shape, and texture. They do very well in Oregon and as seen in many yards and gardens are almost labor free once planted. Each year as the ground warms the bulb begins to push its leaves and bloom into the light to announce the arrival of spring. Tulips can be tricked into blooming but it requires a controlled environment of temperatures and light. The higher cost of out of season tulips means their popularity and availability is almost entirely in the spring.

Along with a vast array of color except blue some of the more popular varieties have petals that are frilly, misshaped like a parrot beak, or have multiple rows of petals. Tulips also vary in size from the small delicate to the massive French Tulips that can grow to 30 inches tall and have petals of 5 inches.

When tulips are purchased the rapid growth and the sensitivity to light are observed firsthand. The stems of tulips continue to grow up to an inch a day and may look like they are growing right out of the bouquet. Also, of interest is the tulip petals pattern of opening to light and closing at night. We suggest you open your heart to tulips today and find how their growth can affect you today.

Beaverton Florists has been delivering smiles across the Portland Metro area since 1943. We do know a thing or two about flowers and their impact! Call us: (503) 644-0129