Spring Sun Brings Tulip Blooms

Spring Sun Brings Tulip Blooms

The tulip (Tulipa) is an upright herbaceous perennial bulbous plant in the lily family, growing from 4 to 24 inches in height.  Native to Central Asia and cultivated in Holland, tulips are one of the most beloved and recognizable flowers in the world.

Flowering from early April to May, tulips have no rivals for providing springtime carpets of pure, intense, vibrant color.  Gorgeous blooms, usually one flower per stem, are available in almost any color except blue and black.

Tulip gardening in the park

Tulips in Roosevelt Park
Garden near E 81 St. and Central Park West

It’s difficult to get tulips to produce blooms year after year. At Roosevelt Park, we maximize tulip flower bloom by choosing sites with well-drained soil in full sun, we plant bulbs deep, (8”) in late fall, water-in bulbs after planting, and purchase bulbs that naturalize well (Darwin hybrids and species tulips).

Tulips will tolerate light shade, but the flower bloom will not be as spectacular, nor will the flowers bloom as well the following spring.  Tulips grow poorly in heavy shade.

Full sun allows the greatest amount of carbohydrates to translocate in the flower bulb, providing necessary nutrients for flower bloom the following spring.  Leaves should be allowed to remain on the stems until turning yellow (about 8 weeks).

NYC is good for tulips!

Tulips in Roosevelt Park
Garden in front of Hayden Planetarium flagpoles.

Tulips require a chilling period of 12 to 16 weeks at soil temperatures around 40 degrees F. and therefore do not grow well in warm climates.  Tulips thrive in New York City weather.

How long should tulips last?

The majority of tulip bulbs in Roosevelt Park were planted last fall. With the right growing conditions, tulips can bloom for three or more seasons, so we expect our current tulips to bloom at least until 2019.