Product Profile: Tulips

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21/01/2014 - 12:16

In this month's Product Profile, we're going to take a look at an iconic spring flower, which is in abundance at New Covent Garden Flower Market at the moment…the tulip.

And Largo Red, which is a beautiful double variety, can be found at Alagar:

Largo Red Tulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Background

Part of the Liliaceae family, the name tulip comes from the Turkish word for turban, 'tulbend', as the shape of the flower resembles this traditional form of headwear. And its botanical name is Tulipa.

They come in a kaleidoscope of colours including white, red, yellow, pink, purple, orange and green. Plus, there are also striped and bi-colour varieties.

Tulips are generally on sale from October/November through to May/June. But now is their peak season. There's also a limited supply from July-September, as some growers freeze their bulbs to enable year-round availability.

Types

There are several different types of this wonderful bloom at the Market.

Single

Single tulips are the most common variety, with their six smooth waxy petals. And at some of the traders, including S Robert Allen, Pratley and E Four, there are British tulips which have been grown in Spalding in Lincolnshire.

You'll find them either available as a box of mixed colours or one single colour. The traditional way for them to be sold is packed, lying down out of water, in boxes of 40 stems, made up of bunches of 5 stems.

BritishTulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

British Tulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Some British growers have started sending tulips to the Market in wraps like the Dutch (which you can see below at Pratley). But they're still sold by the box.

Purple British Single Tulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Red British Single Tulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Here are some of the Dutch single tulip varieties currently available.

Kung Fu at Dennis Edwards Flowers

Red Kung Fu Tulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Ile De Re at S Robert Allen

New Covent Garden Flower Market - Tulips - Ile De Re

Bing Crosby at Dennis Edwards Flowers

Red Bing Crosby Tulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Pallada at S Robert Allen

Red Pallada Tulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Dynasty at Dennis Edwards Flowers

Pale pink Dynasty Tulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

First Class at D G Wholesale Flowers

Pale Pink First Class Tulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Candy Prince at S Robert Allen

New Covent Garden Flower Market - Tulips - Candy Prince

Purple Prince at D G Wholesale Flowers

New Covent Garden Flower Market - Tulips - Purple Prince

Zest Flowers have a great selection of tulips. Here's Tony, together with Strong Gold (yellow) and Antarctica (white) varieties.

Tony of Zest Flowers with Strong Gold and Antarctica Tulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

And here's a close-up of Antarctica at Alagar

White Antarctica Tulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Dow Jones at Dennis Edwards Flowers

Orange Dow Jones Tulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Ad Rem at S Robert Allen

Orange Ad Rem Tulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Double

Double flowering varieties are defined as tulips that have more than six petals. And here are some examples.

Orange Princess at D G Wholesale Flowers

Orange Princess Tulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Monte Carlo at Dennis Edwards Flowers

Yellow Monte Carlo Tulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Monsella at Zest Flowers

New Covent Garden Flower Market - Tulips - Monsella

Parrot

Parrot tulips have ruffled curved petals, which are said to resemble the bird's feathers, hence the name.

Top Parrot at Alagar

Red Top ParrotTulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Rococo at Dennis Edwards Flowers

Red Rococo Tulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Libretto Parrot at S Robert Allen

Yellow/ Orange Libretto Tulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Super Parrot at S Robert Allen

White Super Parrot Tulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Fringed

Fringed tulips have petals with serrated edges. And Honeymoon, a white tulip, is very popular for weddings.

Cuban Night at Dennis Edwards Flowers

Dark Purple Cuban Night Tulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

French

French tulips have longer stems and larger flower heads than standard tulips. So they're perfect for bigger floral designs.

Maureen at Bloomfield

Yellow MaureenTulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Menton at Bloomfield

Pale Orange Menton Tulips at New Covent Garden Flower Market

Quantities & Prices

The price of tulips at the Market is very much dependent on whether they're British or Dutch, the type, availability and time of year. Several of the traders commented that in the run up to Christmas, tulips have been a little dear due to a general lack of supply. But now they're starting to come down in price. And as Dennis says, "When flowers are at their best, they're at their cheapest".

Dutch tulips come in wraps of 50 stems, made up of 5 bunches of 10 stems. As mentioned earlier, British tulips are usually sold in boxes of 40 stems, made up of bunches of 5 stems.

Trevor at S Robert Allen said that the mixed boxes of British tulips tend to be more popular than boxes of a single tone, because of the variety of different colours.

Trevor of S Robert Allen at New Covent Garden Flower Market

General Advice

When choosing tulips, look for strong green, healthy leaves. To condition them, firstly remove any excess foliage. Then cut the stems on a slant and place them in a clean vase with fresh water. Keep them in a cool place, away from direct sunlight and sources of heat.

Tulips continue to grow in water. So, if you decide to arrange them with other flowers, recess the tulips slightly in the design to account for them continuing to grow. You may also have to trim the stems daily to maintain the arrangement.

They're thirsty flowers. So you'll need to keep the container topped up with water. Also, be aware that their flower heads tend to lean towards the light.

Did you know that different coloured tulips have different meanings? According to Shane Connolly's book, The Language of Flowers… red tulips mean 'Declaration of love', yellow mean 'Hopeless love' and striped tulips mean 'You have beautiful eyes'! Perhaps the language of flowers is something to tell your customers about in the weeks leading up to Valentine's Day?

I hope you've enjoyed reading this month's Product Profile. Do visit the Market soon to see all the different varieties of this classic spring bloom. If you have any comments about tulips, it would be lovely to hear from you. Simply type in the boxes below…

Comment (6):

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Hi Flower Market Team Thank

Hi Flower Market Team
Thank you for sending report on Tulips-I love these -my favourites are the darker colours + parrots & fringed edged ones-just wish that I could get to the market to see them all-but at the moment I am unable to visit -maybe in a few weeks time .
Have a lovely week & enjoy seeing all the flowers & foliage.
With warmest regards
Rosie Sue J

Hi Rosie Sue - thank you for

Hi Rosie Sue - thank you for your comment and hope to see you in the Market in a few weeks time! There will still be lots of tulips for you to see!
A

Love tulips! Yes, I am the

Love tulips!
Yes, I am the Sue who emailed you!

Hi Sue - thanks for your

Hi Sue - thanks for your comment and yes I recognised the name! Kathyrn's coming back to your email right now.

Hello, What would be a guide

Hello,

What would be a guide price range for 40 British stems and 50 Dutch stems in January please?

Many thanks
Bex

Hi Bex - You would need to

Hi Bex - You would need to contact one of the traders directly for prices. They are very popular so most of the traders will have them. If you take a look above at the varieties you like the company names are all links to their contact pages, so you can contact them directly for prices on that specific variety. Best wishes, Kathryn