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Creating the perfect bloom for Tulip Time

Posted at 8:12 AM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 08:21:01-04

HOLLAND, Mich. — This weekend thousands of people will visit Holland in awe of the beautiful tulips. Every year the flowers have to survive the ups and downs of our West Michigan weather.

"Tulips are really a resilient flower, they're planted as a bulb in they sleep all winter, they start growing their roots. As soon as the snow melts, you can find the tip starting to pop out," says Gwen Auwerda, Executive Director of Tulip Time.

Tulips can withstand our spring weather swings, but in order to have that perfect bloom for festival time, the tulips are picky like Goldilocks. Not too hot, not too cold. Temperatures have to be just right.

"They like 40 degrees or less at night in the month of April. 80 degree days help them pop out their color," says Auwerda, "It doesn't necessarily matter what the weather is, too hot for too long in April will cause them to bloom early and potentially not last during the festival, like what happened in 2012 when we had a stem fest."

The flowers only stay in bloom for three weeks, leading to even more pressure to get that perfect bloom for Tulip Time. Outside of weather though, there is one thing that can ruin the tulips too."

"Deer are the biggest issue we have with them. Deer like to dig up the tulip bulbs and got into one of our fenced-in areas here in the park earlier this spring, and caused a little havoc," says Auwerda.

Once the tulips start growing, though, the deer lose their interest and the fence can come down just in time for opening weekend.