Spring Flowers - Tulips

02 March 2018

Spring is such a tricky time of year in the UK, just as the temperatures hit double digits and we think we can pack away our thermals for another year the temperatures drop and out come the ice scrapers again! Well, luckily for us here at Mad Lilies, despite the cold temperatures outside, the bright coloured spring flowers are starting to arrive into the shop and our first batch of tulips is here to brighten our day! These simple, elegant flowers have become such a popular feature of our springtime we thought we would find out a little more about their story, and whoa, were we surprised… this little flower has a huge history.

Tulip Mania!

Often thought of as originating in Holland, tulips are actually native to Central Asia and Turkey (where it is still the national flower), even their name suggests this heritage, deriving from the Persian word meaning turban. It is rumoured that tulips were originally imported into Holland in the sixteenth century where, due to the intense petal colour, never seen before in this region, they became somewhat of a celebrity and flower lovers across Europe went crazy for them. By the mid-seventeeth century they were a coveted luxury item with the value of some single bulbs rising so high it created what is thought to be the first economic bubble known as “Tulip Mania”. 

Today, thankfully, things have calmed down and the tulip is a true spring flower favourite. Thought to be the world’s third most loved flower there are over 3,000 registered varieties, and they are grown and celebrated in such exotic places as Japan and India as well as the Netherlands and right here at home in Surrey. With ‘early’ varieties appearing in March and the season lasting well into May their popularity should not be surprising, and the sheer variety of colours and styles available means there is a flower for everyone. 

Tulip Tips

Whichever style you prefer there are a couple of basic steps you should take to keep your tulips looking good. Firstly, select tulips that still in bud, this will allow you to enjoy every stage of their development through to bloom. Note: if you are buying them for a special occasion and want them to be in peak condition you’ll need to get them two or three days ahead of time so they can have a chance to open out.

When you get them home you will need to ‘condition’ them, this means peeling off the larger and/or damaged leaves towards the base of the stem, then re-cut the stems at an angle and arrange them in a vase filled with fresh water. Check the leaves again, if any of them are below the water line take these off too. Finally, you need to remember, tulips are thirsty flowers so keep the vase topped up with fresh water every day.

Straight vs. Droopy!

Ok, let’s talk about the number one question we get asked about tulips… “How do I stop them from drooping?” 

Firstly let us say the views on straight vs. droopy stems seems to be split. There are those that embrace the carefree nature of these flowers as they continue to grow (even when cut) and move towards the light, and there are others who would prefer they remain sitting upright. 

Now, if straightness is your thing, there are a few different recommendations to keep these flowers upright, including, pricking the stem just below the flower head or putting a 2p coin in the bottom of the glass. Our favourite method however, is to wrap the tulips in newspaper, leaving approx. one third of the stem poking out at the bottom and place them in fresh water for around 2-3 hours (or even overnight) before arranging them. 

Whichever style, colour or display method you choose we hope you take time to enjoy these beautiful spring flowers with such an interesting heritage!

If you have any questions about Tulips, or any other flowers just pop into the shop or drop us a line at hello@madlilies.co.uk and we will be happy to help.


DON’T FORGET! Mother’s Day is early this year on Sunday 11th March, we have some new bouquets available, check them out here, or give us a call if you have a specific request!


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