6 Fascinating Tulip Facts You Don’t Know

Learn about the history of tulips, where millions of tulip bulbs come from, where a yearly tulip festival is held and more tulip facts.

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Courtesy Kristin Terwilliger
Cassin’s finch and tulips

There Are Many Types of Tulips

Nearly 4,000 tulip varieties have been developed. They fit into 15 groups, which are classified by bloom time, shape and size. A few common types you may recognize: fringed, double and Darwin hybrid. After you finish reading about tulip facts, check out our picks for the top 10 tulips to grow.

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Courtesy Barbara Staschiak

Tulips Have a Famous Festival

Each year, these famous bulbs are celebrated at the Tulip Time festival in Holland, Michigan. The celebration has taken place each year for almost a century! Nowhere in North American can you see more tulips in one place. Nearly 5 million burst forth in a blaze of May color.

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Courtesy Jeannine Gailey

Millions of Tulips Come from One Place

The Netherlands is a big deal in the flowering bulb market. In 2017, the country produced two billion tulips—a record high.

Psst—you’ll fall in love with White Honeymoon tulips.

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Courtesy Tammi Frick

Misconceptions About Tulip History

Here’s one of the most surprising tulip facts to share. Tulips did not originate in Holland. They were brought there from Turkey in the 16th century. Later, Dutch immigrants to America brought tulips here.

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Courtesy Julianne Lilholt

Are Tulips Perennials?

Species tulips are more perennial than hybrids. They grow, spread and flower for many years. If you’re north of Zone 7, try growing species tulips in containers and bring them inside when the weather gets cold. Learn how plant zones work and how to find yours.

Garden expert Melinda Myers says, “Many new tulip hybrids put on a glorious show the first few years and then stop blooming. Consider them short-lived flowers that give you an opportunity to try something new every few years. Or switch to species tulips that tend to grow, spread and flower for many years.”

Get ready for tulip season with the ultimate guide to planting spring bulbs.

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Courtesy Constance Perry

Do Squirrels Eat Tulip Bulbs?

Squirrels regularly dig up and damage tulip bulbs. Prevent this by planting them at least 8 inches deep in soil with good drainage. Pack down the disturbed soil and cover with chicken wire or a bulb cage to deter rabbits, squirrels and other furry critters.

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Kirsten Schrader
Kirsten has more than 15 years of experience writing and editing birding and gardening content. As content director of Birds & Blooms, she leads the team of editors and freelance writers sharing tried-and-true advice for nature enthusiasts who love to garden and feed birds in their backyards. Since joining Birds & Blooms 17 years ago, Kirsten has held roles in digital and print, editing direct-to-consumer books, running as many as five magazines at a time, and managing special interest publications. Kirsten has traveled to see amazing North American birds and attended various festivals, including the Sedona Hummingbird Festival, the Rio Grande Bird Festival, The Biggest Week in American Birding Festival, and the Cape May Spring Festival. She has also witnessed the epic sandhill crane migration while on a photography workshop trip to Colorado. Kirsten has participated in several GardenComm and Outdoor Writers Association of America annual conferences and is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. When she's not researching, writing, and editing all things birding and gardening, Kirsten is enjoying the outdoors with her nature-loving family. She and her husband are slowly chipping away at making their small acreage the backyard of their dreams.