FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT TULIPS
When should tulip leaves be cut back?
Wait until most of the foliage has turned yellow. Do not braid daffodil leaves or fold them under for a neat appearance; this will deprive the bulbs of energy they need to rebuild for bloom next year.
Tulips of all kinds have been gardening favorites ever since the original parents of these flowering bulbs were collected from the Mediterranean regions of Europe and the Near East and taken to Holland. Over centuries of growing and breeding, many different types of tulips are offered in bulb catalogs. Probably the most familiar are the May flowering Darwin and earlier blooming giant Darwin hybrid tulips. They bear richly colored, classic cup-shaped blossoms at the end of straight, slim stems.
Grow tulips as far north as the Great Lakes, upper New York State and along the New England coast (zone 4 and as far south as Georgia (zone 8). They are hardy in areas where the winter cold rarely exceeds -10°F. Because they need a period of chilling to trigger their bloom, they need some time in the refrigerator in warm southern regions such as Florida (zone 9).
Tulip Size: Depending on the type, most hybrid tulips grow from 18 to 24 inches high and spread 4 to 10 inches wide. Some are only 12 to 14 inches tall.
Tulip Foliage: Tulip leaves are thick, 6 to 8 inches long and straplike to broadly oval. They are a bluish-green color, with smooth edges. They usually grow straight up from the soil surface, but some varieties have a few leaves farther up on the stems. Leaves emerge in late winter or early spring before the flowers. Left to mature after flowers have faded, they turn yellow and collapse after about 6 weeks.
Tulip Flowers: Most hybrid tulips produce solitary, 6-petaled (except in double-flowered forms) cup-shaped flowers at the tops of narrow single stems. Individual blooms are typically 3 or 4 inches deep and wide. Many are fragrant. Blooms last from 10 days to 2 weeks. Early blooming kinds may last somewhat longer. By selecting appropriate early-, mid- and late-season varieties, you can enjoy hybrid tulips in bloom from April to June. Tulips come in nearly every color except blue. Many specialty types are streaked with contrasting color, fringed or feathered.