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Everthing you need to know about growing tulips

“When it’s Spring again I’ll bring again tulips from Amsterdam

With a heart that’s true, I’ll give to you tulips from Amsterdam.” – Lyrics from Tulips from Amsterdam, Max Bygraves.


If you love flowers, then a bucket list holiday destination is for sure to see the “tulips from Amsterdam”. After all, it’s the national flower of the Netherlands.

That said, almost all over Europe you’ll see these elegant flowers coming out in full glory from mid-March.

An interesting narrative about tulips is that it is NOT native to the Netherlands. This gracious flower comes from central Asia and Turkey. The Turks used the flowers during the Ottoman Empire to decorate their turbans. To them, it symbolized heaven and eternal life. So, by having it in their turbans it was a symbol of “paradise on earth”.

Holland first planted tulips way back in 1593, and then the love story with the gorgeous blooms started. 

Colorful meanings

I was in Hungary’s third-largest town Szeged on International Woman’s Day (8th March) and was giving a yellow tulip by a service provider. Holding the flower in my hands was almost magical. I particularly loved the gesture because yellow tulips symbolize happiness, cheerful thoughts, and hope. To the Victorians (many moons ago), it represented “there’s sunshine in your smile”. I knew, then that the seasons are indeed changing and soon we’ll again enjoy a lovely summer. Nature is an amazing promise of another tomorrow.

And so there is plenty of other symbolism around its colors. 

  • White for freshness, and to use at funerals or to apologize.
  • Pink for any kind of celebration, as it symbolizes wellbeing and good luck.
  • Red, of course, to express love and sensuality.
  • Purple for sophistication, elegance, and royalty. During the 14th-century people, under the strict code of Queen Elizabeth at the time, were not allowed to wear the color purple, other than members of the royal family!

Cooking with tulips

Another bit of interesting info is that you can substitute onions with tulips in your cooking! Yes! But that’s where it ends. Don’t let your pets get hold of tulip bulbs as they can be deadly to our beloved furry friends (dogs, cats, birds). The poor people, during World War II, used tulips to make bread.

Wikihow will tell you the basics of what you should know about cooking with tulips.

Surprise your guests with a unique dessert. Check out our recipe for tulips filled with chocolate!

Amsterdam Netherlands Tulips clogs flowers shop Holland

How to plant and grow tulips

All the above said and done, we don’t always have the money to travel to experience the joy of tulips. You can plant them in your very own garden, and have passers-by take photos galore. 

Our ‘World Recipes’ series is all about creating a bit of the magic of those beautiful destinations, at our homes. Sometimes indoors, sometimes outdoors. This time, you can have your very own “tulips from Amsterdam” corner in your garden. And it’s so easy.

Amsterdam Holland tulips Netherlands Windmill

The best time to plant tulips

This is just before the start of the winter, or the very latest the first month of winter.

When tulips bloom

You’ll be rewarded with almost two months of gorgeous blooms at the start of Spring.

How to plant tulip bulbs

There’s an old saying that you should plant it at a depth that is twice its size in height. And the reason for this is, they love a cool climate.

If you’re living in the Southern Hemisphere, you can plant them about 3 times as deep as their length. Because the winters are not so cold as in the Northern Hemisphere you have to tuck them away slightly deeper. 

A tip on their preferred soil is to plant them in well-drained fertile sandy soil that is neutral to slightly acidic.

How and when to lift the bulbs

If you have summer temperatures above 20°C, rather lift them ever so gently once the foliage has browned.

  • Lay them out on a flat surface to dry.
  • Next, remove the dried foliage and store them in an open paper bag. A great tip is to use ladies’ stockings!
  • Lastly, don’t store them in a warm space. Keep them in a cool area of around 20°C if you can. In other words, search for the coolest spot during the warm summer months.

By the way, the same tips and steps can be used for Hyacinths and Daffodils!

Garden landscaping ideas with tulips

Generally, tulips love full or afternoon sun. But if you’re in a very hot climate, you should plant them so they have morning sun only. They don’t like too much heat.

  • If you have limited space, you can always make them a focal point.
  • Have them greet you every morning below a window you love opening on Spring mornings.
tulips white bridge
tulips fence
Container gardening along a fence.
  • Tulips make a stunning display as a border.
  • Plant them next to a bench to create a cozy corner.
tulips with forget me nots
Paired with forget-me-nots.

Virtual Tour | Keukenhof, Amsterdam

“For the day I know we can share these Tulips from Amsterdam”

And so, in conclusion, as the song goes we can indeed share the tulips from Amsterdam! 

May this article be an inspiration to many beautiful and cozy Amsterdam-moments in your garden.

Find us on Facebook to share your photo memories of tulips in Amsterdam. We look forward to meeting you there!