Tulip Meaning

Tulip Flower Meaning: Colors & History

Tulip flower meanings include fame, freedom, and perfect love. However, this is only the beginning! Other meanings are conveyed by specific tulip colors. In addition, bouquets and gardens of tulips have their own meanings. For example, a white tulip garden would symbolize heaven on earth.

Yellow and Orange Tulip Flower

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Tulip Flower Meaning through Color

Tulips are one of the most admired and beloved flowers around the world. Along with crocuses and daffodils, tulips are the first flowers to blossom each year. Sometimes there is still snow on the ground nearby. Tulips are perfect for gardens designed to bloom from the earliest possible date.

Red Tulip Meaning
Red tulips mean “believe me” and are a declaration of true love. The color symbolism for red flowers includes pleasure, desire and vitality. In addition, the color red represents the will to win, love of sports, and the survival instinct. Red flowers are stimulating and eye-catching. The intensity of red flowers creates movement and drama. 

Yellow Tulip Meaning
Yellow tulips mean “there’s sunshine in your smile” and cheerful thoughts. Yellow flowers symbolize the clearing away of the winter and stimulate clear thinking. The color meanings of yellow are enthusiasm, confidence, sense of humor, fun, optimism, and intellectuality. Yellow flowers mean friendship in the Victorian language of flowers. 

White and Cream-Colored Tulip Meaning
White tulips symbolize heaven, newness and purity. White flowers symbolize purity, contemplation and innocence. White awakens creativity and stabilizes energy, giving a general boost that amplifies all other colors.  Cream-colored tulips mean “I will love you forever.” 

Purple Tulip Meaning
Purple tulips symbolize royalty. Purple and violet colors soothe the mind and nerves. Some color psychologists say purple helps to relieve tension and dissipate anger and violence. Purple adds a sophisticated note to the color palette of a garden or bouquet. Deep purple indicates spiritual power. In some cultures, violet and purple are viewed as secondary colors of mourning. 

Pink Tulip Meaning
Pink tulips mean affection and caring. Pink flowers symbolize love and healing from grief, anxiety, or emotional trauma. On the psychological level, pink eases anger and feelings of neglect. Pink can assist in alleviating emotional scars. However, too much pink may result is hypersensitivity and emotionalism. On the physical level, pink stimulates the thymus and immune system. 

Orange Tulip Meaning
Orange tulips mean energy, enthusiasm, desire, and passion. Orange flowers raise the spirits and symbolize the quality of joy. Cheerful orange flowers convey warmth, fire, energy, and vitality. The color orange stimulates sociability and promotes emotional health. On the physical level, orange supports the health of the digestive system including the spleen, pancreas, stomach, intestines and adrenals. 

Multicolored Tulip Meaning
Multicolored tulips mean “you have beautiful eyes.” Tulips have been bred for hundreds of years to create striped and variegated tulips. The rarest tulip color is blue. Some types of tulips have a light violet color, but none can truly be said to be blue.

Tulip Bouquets for Celebrations

Tulip Flower Meaning and Holidays

Tulips are related to several holidays including Easter, Mother’s Day, baby showers and graduations. In addition, red tulips are often used as table displays at Christmas. Learn more below about the many uses of tulips for joyful celebrations.

Colorful Tulips for Easter Celebrations
As the heralds of spring, tulips are popular Easter flowers. In addition, tulips mean eternal life. To celebrate the cycle of growth and the return of warmth and abundance after the long winter, bright bouquets featuring yellow tulips, pink tulips, orange tulips, red tulips and variegated tulips are all perfect for centerpieces during the Easter season.

Pink and Red Tulips for Mother’s Day
For Mother’s Day, the first Sunday in May, tulips can be sent as either cut flowers or a potted plant. Pink tulips are ideal for Mother’s Day, expressing warmth and affection. Red tulips are another good choice. Other popular Mothers Day Flowers include carnations, daisies and yellow roses.

Orange Tulips for Spring Birthdays
The same symbolism of spring and eternal life makes tulips perfect birthday gifts for those with spring birthdays. The beauty and simplicity of a bouquet including tulips, especially orange tulips, makes a strong statement of joy and happiness.

Symbolic Tulip Flowers for Graduations
The achieving of a major accomplishment often sets the stage for the next step or level. This is a sign of growth and new opportunities that perfectly match the flowers that herald the new cycle of spring each year. Tulips are wonderful graduation gifts since these celebrations usually take place in the spring or early summer.

Pink, Yellow & White Tulips for Babies
As symbols of new life, tulips are a great choice for a baby shower or as a gift for a new baby. Pink tulips (for girls) and yellow tulips (for boys) are probably the best bets. If the gender of the baby is unknown, white tulips symbolizing heaven, newness and purity would be a great choice or orange tulips meaning energy and enthusiasm.

Red Tulips for Christmas
Although you might not think of tulips for the Christmas and winter holiday season, red tulips are a striking and somewhat exotic display, reminding everyone in the darkest time of the year of the coming of spring. Red tulips combine well with berries, green foliage and colorful sprays and can brighten up any holiday table or make a unique gift for those you love or an end-of-the-year thank you for business associates and clients. Consider displaying or gifting a cheery holiday bouquet!

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Tulip Meanings for Special Occasions

Tulips As Get Well Gifts
Due to their association with spring and new life, tulips make wonderful get well flowers. Send a bouquet with pink tulips to symbolize your affection and caring or send yellow tulips to bring cheerfulness to those recovering from illness. Orange tulips can be a great pick-me-up and source of inspiration for those who are ill.

Tulip Meaning in Romance
Tulips are second only to roses for love and romance. Send a bouquet featuring tulips when you want to send something memorable and unique to your Valentine. Try a bouquet of pink tulips or red tulips to express your affection and love. Other good choices for Valentine’s Day flowers include yellow or multicolored tulips.

Pink Tulip Meaning

Tulips Symbolize Love for Weddings

Tulips have a surprisingly long history of use as wedding flowers: table centerpieces, general wedding décor, and bridal bouquets. Note that cut tulips can wilt, so the stems should be relatively short. The flowers kept in water as long as possible.

Celebrating a Spring Wedding
Tulips are an elegant and classical choice for weddings, particularly a spring wedding. Tulips with variegated colors and ruffled tulips can create a striking, modern look for a wedding centerpiece.

Using Potted Tulips at a Wedding
Potted tulips or tulip bulbs can be given as wedding favors, especially red tulips symbolizing the love of the newly wedded couple. Pink tulips are also a wonderful choice for wedding flowers.

Tulips as Sympathy Gifts

White tulips, peach tulips, green tulips and purple tulips have become popular choices for sympathy flowers. A bouquet with white tulips symbolizes the eternal rest of the departed. A white casket spray of tulips is both beautiful and elegant, especially when combined with white roses, carnations or lilies.

Tulip Colors for Sympathy Gifts
A bouquet with peach tulips conveys both affection and sympathy. An arrangement including green tulips expresses the assurance of the resurrection. A wreath with purple tulips expresses heartfelt sympathy.

Tulip Name Meaning

Tulips are originally from Persia and were brought to the Netherlands in the 17th century. Approximately 150 varieties of tulips grow in the wild, especially in mountainous, cold regions. 

Tulips and Middle Eastern Turbans
The name for tulips comes from the headdress worn by many Middle Eastern peoples known as a turban or taliban. In Latin, this translates to “tulipa.”

The History of Tulipmania

Beginning in 1634, “Tulipmania” ruled in the Netherlands. Tulips were a symbol of wealth and status. Bulbs were traded like currency. A bed of tulips could buy a small house. Some highly prized tulips were even more valuable. A single bulb could be traded for a large house, land, furniture, and more.

Highly Prized Tulip Hybrids
Once the tulip was hybrid, a vast array of colors and petal forms were created. The most highly prized tulips had breaks or stripes in their coloration. Striped tulips were actually the result of a virus transferred by aphids, which made their appearance unpredictable.

Crash of the Tulip Market
When the tulip market crashed dramatically in February of 1637, it was similar to the stock market crash in the 20th century. Thousands of businessmen were ruined when the bubble burst. Tulips were now being sold for 1% to 5% of their former prices.

Tulips as the National Symbol of Holland

Tulips, however, remain the foremost national symbol of Holland, rivaling wooden shoes and windmills. An entire tourism industry is built around “Tulip Time.” For example, Amsterdam celebrates National Tulip Day the third Saturday of January. To see tulips in full bloom, plan a visit between late March and early May. Amsterdam also holds an annual Tulip Festival with more than 880,000 tulips blooming in 85 locations around the city.

Growing Tulips

Where to Plant Tulips
The bulbs should be planted at a depth that is three times their height. Tulips generally prefer sun but also do well under trees that give them partial shade in the hottest part of the summer. Tulips are planted in the fall and bulbs are generally available between July and November. The huge rainbow of tulip colors available make them a certain fit for any garden.

Fertilizer and Water for Tulips
Tulips need to be fertilized twice a year, especially in the spring before they blossom. Tulips also need lots of water, with watering once a week at the bare minimum. Also be aware that rabbits, squirrels and voles will uproot and eat tulip bulbs if they can.

Growing Tulips in Small Spaces
Tulips can also be grown in pots or small containers for those who have limited garden space. A terra cotta or ceramic pot is preferable to plastic. Plastic pots may overheat or have insufficient drainage. Since tulips prefer sun and will do well on sunny porches or balconies.

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TULIP ARTICLE SUMMARY

Tulips are beloved the world around! This article covers tulip meaning for all kinds of celebrations and holidays. Tulips are heralds of spring that come in many colors. Each colors also has symbolic significance. Learn more about tulip meaning for modern living.

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Author Kathleen Karlsen

Kathleen Karlsen is a musician, artist, writer and speaker. She is the author of two books (Flower Symbols and Vocal Medicine) and over 200 articles. Kathleen, her husband Andrew, and their five children live in Bozeman, Montana. More about Kathleen Karlsen.

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