It's the Plants, Darling

The Lowdown on Eco-Tulips.
Now enter to win a dozen.

UPDATE:  We have a winner!  And it's Angela Treadwell-Palmer.  Randomly done by someone else.  I promise. EcoTulip2

Like so many garden writers, I'm curious about this new product.  Like, what's "eco" about it exactly? Is it legit or just eco-marketing BS?

Well, look whEcoTulip1o I ran into at DC's Green Festival – some Eco-Tulips and the nice young women who sell them. That led to lots of emails with owner Jeroen Koeman, who answered all my questions and agreed to come play with the blogs!  Raised in a "real Dutch Tulip Family", Jeroen has worked for growers in Holland and the U.S. and recently struck out on his own by bringing organically grown tulips to the U.S.  He also married his sweetheart a couple of weeks ago – a pretty good excuse for not attending the GreenFest himself.  (Here's the story of their romance on their wedding website.  Hint: It all started on Craigslist.)



Here's Jeroen's answer to that question: 

The organic bulbs are
stronger and have better pest resistance because they haven’t been in contact with
pesticides. Pesticides make plants weaker and less pest-resistant.
The bulbs are grown in
organic soil. Plants grown in organic soil can absorb a wider variety of
nutrients, which makes them stronger and more pest

And he helpfully sent me this study showing that organically grown tulips stay fresh in the vase two days longer than conventionally grown, but my Dutch is kinda rusty.

As for environmental benefits, Jeroen wrote:

Conventional tulip growers use about
50-100lbs pesticides per acre.

The biggest advantage for the
environment is that gardeners and especially farm workers don’t get exposed to pesticides. Plus, bees and beneficial insects do get a chance to survive with organic tulips.


Wanna give them a try?  The selection is here, and the winner gets a dozen of their choice tulips shipped to them pronto, with instructions.  To enter, just tell us in a comment which variety you'd like and I'll choose randomlyDeadline:  Tuesday, October a20 at 9 pm Eastern. 

Dear FTC:  No one at GardenRant is getting anything for writing this. Except if they have another Pick Your own Tulips day next spring, I'll be there and hoping to snag some freebies.  

Posted by on October 19, 2009 at 4:42 am, in the category It's the Plants, Darling.
Comments are off for this post

68 responses to “The Lowdown on Eco-Tulips.
Now enter to win a dozen.”

  1. I love tulips, but they don’t grow at all here in Florida where the soil doesn’t freeze. I do miss them, but then we have a whole selection of amazing bulbs that the rest of you can only dream about. A case of learning to love where you are…

  2. Marte says:

    I just planted 90 tulips on Saturday and would love more, but I’m afraid it would be too late to plant them here in zone 4 by the time they would arrive. If not, I like “silver dollar.” Organic tulips are probably better for the squirrels and rabbits anyway. 🙂

  3. Jo Ann says:

    I would like to give “Soft Design” a try.

  4. Hi Susan,

    I’d love to try Sevila.

  5. Roby says:

    I think the Roussilion is a handsome tulip.

  6. GenYgardener says:

    Sevilla would be nice.

    I do wish he would grow some heirloom varieties. They’re supposed to be hardier to begin with.

  7. Becca says:

    Yellow Flight! I try for a yellow/blue/white spring scheme and these would go lovely. I’ve gone away from using tulips(need to try species) due to the deer and their short life but I’d love to have them back.

  8. greg draiss says:

    Do the ships that carry these bulbs to the US burn bio-deisel?

    And tulips are not native species in the U.S.

    If we are complaing about how far our food travels to reach our plates shouldn’t we do the same with things that are not necessary to sustain life including plants in our gardens?

    The TROLL

  9. Nell Jean says:

    Every year I used to chill and plant tulips, to prove that I could successfully bring them to bloom in a warm climate. In the spring, I would write in my journal, “No more tulips.” A subsequent entry would read, “If you must, then plant purple.”

    Purple Prince is my choice, always purple. They will need aa period of refrigeration, but will have time to bloom after chill.

  10. Eva says:

    How about some of those Lilystar? I don’t know how they’ll do in my garden, but I’m willing to try! 🙂

    Thanks for posting about these guys. I’ve been wondering about them.

  11. Hi Marte,

    I read you are afraid that it is too cold to plant more tulips. You can plant tulips as long the soil isnt’t frozen. Even in the cold zones planting is possible in December. Plant 8 inch deep and apply a 2 inch layer of mulch, this will help protect the bulbs from freezing and give them time to make roots.

    The Tulipman

  12. Pat says:

    Roussilion would make my garden glow next spring.

  13. Hi Nell,

    Actually Purple Prince is our strongest variety! Were you already succesfull or do you need some tips of the Tulipman? Sounds like you have a touch of Tilpomania in your blood….any Dutch descent?

  14. Lily-flowered tulips are not only elegant, they are performers in the garden. I mean that in the theatrical sense. At different times of day, their opening and closing petals become balletic in form. I’ll take ‘Lilystar’, please and thanks.

  15. Diana says:

    Silver Dollar it is.

    But truth to tell, I’m really in love with the almost black purple varieties.


  16. For all gardeners in warmer climates. When day temperatures in January don’t exceed 70 degrees, you can have blooming tulips in early spring! Use pre-cooled bulbs and plant mid January. Enjoy!

    The Tulipman

  17. Jenn says:

    All are beautiful! I’d go for Soft Design, if you please, just gorgeous!

  18. Kate says:

    I’d love to try Ninja. I just got a bunch of daffodils, my first bulbs, but no tulips, yet. I read somewhere that daffodils multiply while tulips dwindle over the years. Since I’m just starting my gardens, I had to go with the daffodils first.

  19. Hap says:

    Hey Susan,
    Thanks for finding this supplier! We have never carried tulips, since we couldn’t find organic or sustainably grown, now perhaps we can. And you have to admire them for only shipping late and pre-chilled to warm climates, so that their customers have success. I look forward to dong business with them.

  20. Shannon Currey says:

    Soft Design gets my vote. Very happy to hear about this company. Will definitely check them out on the next bulb order.

  21. Lisa, Ontario says:

    Ohhhhh…Lilystar please. I love that shape. I am tulip-less at the moment. I moved this summer and have been very busy buying up discount shrubs so I have something to look at come the spring. It would be lovely to have some flowers too.

  22. gardenmentor says:

    For once my reaction was akin to the Troll’s…

    I have to wonder: does it make more sense for me to buy traditional bulbs grown in the Skagit Valley, less than an hour from my own garden. Or buy organic bulbs grown in Holland and transported by train, plane, automobile, boat or whatever all the way to Washington state?

    My hope: Skagit growers jump on the eco-tulip wave so I can get local, organic bulbs soon.

    Thanks for sharing. This is a good beginning 🙂

  23. Benjamin says:

    Purple Prince (because I used to live just down the road from Prince’s compound, Dutch windmill, and recording studio).

  24. Hi Hap, you are definetely right!In warm climates (also DC aera) you will have more succes when you plant late and use pre-cooled bulbs. I advice to plant not before mid November in the DC area. It is still way too warm, tomorrow 75 degrees! When you are more South wait till mid January. Be sure you buy Pre-cooled bulbs when you plant this late!

    The Tulipman

  25. Ellen Frost says:

    Rose of Apeldoorn please…

  26. Nina says:

    I’d like to try the Ninja… take out the ‘j’ and you have my name! It would take a ninja of a tulip to bloom here in Austin anyway!

  27. lisa says:

    oh, yeah…the silver dollar beauties are sweet.

  28. Aimee says:

    Thank you for the post – I just divided my existing tulips and was excited to hear about these organic bulbs. Silver Dollar is gorgeous – I’ve always been a sucker for white tulips 🙂

  29. Kay says:

    Soft Design for me too!

  30. Kaarina says:

    This is such a great find- thanks for the post- wonder if they can get here in time!

  31. Ryan says:

    i must have Ninja! it’s a nickname of mine, plus it is quite nice looking.

    Silver dollar is also really nice.

  32. greg draiss says:

    Thank you gardenmentor!!!!

    You see I am not that insane after all!

    I would choose the Skagit Valley tulips. Beautiful area of the country. The total footprint of regular tulips over organic imported ones would be far less indeed

    The TROLL

  33. Anna-Marie says:

    Oooh – Soft Design is lovely!

  34. TC says:

    Oh no! “Tulipomania” all over again!. No monocultured tulips for me please. However, a few Semper Augustus will do nicely.

  35. Hey, Susan! Thanks for the insight on these babies. I didn’t get to plant ANY bulbs this year, and so I’m desperately tulip deprived. If your random generator picks me, please send some Gabors my way. — Jessica

  36. Patti in NNY says:

    Wow, I think it was harder to choose a variety than it would be to write a poem.

    I’ll choose Soft Design with my fingers crossed.

  37. Raffaella says:

    Roses of appeldorn look lovely, thanks for the contest and a lovely blog 😉

  38. Kathleen says:

    Rose of Appeldorn (sp?), pretty please.

  39. Leslie says:

    I’d try Soft Design…it looks like it would be happy here which many tulips are not.

  40. So many are lovely, but if I have to choose, I choose Roussillion

  41. Hi Gardenmotor,

    I would say talk with the grower in Skagit Valey and ask him to start organic!I would like to grow organic bulbs here in VA, but the climate is not suitable.

    The Tulipman

  42. Hi Troll,

    I think cargo ships don’t use biodiesel yet… I wonder what will be a lower foot print; a 4000 mile boat trip from Rotterdam to Norfolk or a 3000 mile road trip from Skagit Valley to Norfolk? I go for pesticide free bulbs!

  43. joene says:

    Dahling … I have a fenced in area protected from deer that would look absolutely fabulous accesorized with Gabors.

  44. Eco tulips ? = Greenwashing.
    Why not just call them organically grown ?
    There is nothing Eco conscience about shipping bulbs across the ocean and continent.

  45. Kat says:

    Sevilla, they’re so pretty, so traditional, so nice…

  46. Cathy M says:

    Soft Design looks like a great tulip. Thanks for researching the “eco-ness” of these particular bulbs!

  47. Rosemary Whitehouse says:

    I am already dreaming of Soft Design making their Spring appearance.

  48. Jenn says:

    I would love to try planting the Yellow Flight tulips!

  49. Definitely Ninja! Who wouldn’t want ninja tulips?!

  50. Sheila says:

    I’m really curious if these eco bulbs are better than the bulbs I have in my garden. If selected, Purple Prince is my choice.

  51. Helene Clapperton says:

    Plant them deeply and they will be a better chance of them coming back year after year.

    Tulip planter in MD.

  52. Meg S says:


    who doesn’t need stealth tulips in the garden…although, I don’t think they’re especially stealth…

  53. Pete says:

    if your readers are looking for more information on USDA plant hardiness zones, there is a detailed, interactive USDA plant hardiness zone map at

  54. k's grandma says:

    Awaken my soul from the dreary depths with flowers of spring. Here’s hoping. . .

  55. Hello Sheila,

    People don’t realize how much pesticides are used to grow bulbs. I worked myself on several non-organic tulip farms (grew up on a non-organic tulip farm in Holland). To answer your question: When I was a tulip bulb (yes sometimes I feel like them..) I would definitely grow better in organic soil with wide variety of nutrients instead of an infertile soil polluted with pesticides….

    The Tulipman

  56. Sheile, If you aren’t the lucky winner of a dozen tulips I will send you a dozen Purple Prince to let you experience the better quality of organic tulips. Please do let us know how many days the organic tulip last longer in your garden!

    The Tulipman

  57. marlene says:

    A tough decision here, but Silver Dollar would be a great addition to my white garden.

  58. Donna the Dragon Lady says:

    When someone develops a tulip that blooms every year and grows and divides into more tulips, sign me up – until then . . .

  59. Shannon Haubrich says:

    I am smitten with Rambo. THe colors would stand out so beautifully in my garden and they would give me my first try at tulips. 🙂

  60. Claire Splan says:

    Tough choice, but I’d go with the Van der Mark.

  61. Christina Fisher says:

    Ninja look interesting.

  62. I just planted about 500 tulip bulbs yesterday and have another 150 to go. I added in 200 daffodils for the perennializing effect that tulips just won’t do. It is lovely to see someone else’s expensive annual tulip display. There are a fair number of repeat tulips that add to the annual planting before they disappear so I never know what is going to come up. Add in varmint predation on tasty tulip bulbs and the thought of an organized color scheme is impossible as a spring display in a shrub and perrenial border that can not be cleaned to a blank slate for bulbs.

    I doubt I will ever splurge on tulips for my own garden. Free puts things in a whole new light. I could dig a hole for a dozen Lilystar and not care if they don’t come back the second year.

  63. Anna Dougherty says:

    Rambo is my choice

  64. Susanna Ashton says:

    Hi – I’d love the silver dollar!


  65. SJ says:

    I like the Rose of Apeldoorn – peony & parrot type tulips are my favorites.

  66. Becky says:

    Lilystar looks beautiful!

  67. Kathleen H says:

    Vibrant color in early spring – just what a Minnesota gardener needs! Roussillion looks great!

  68. JAS says:

    You can mail-order organically grown tulips, daffodils and scads of other bulbs, corms and perennials from a certified organic nursery in Oregon, Stargazer Perennials. Nice folks, great stock, and I’ve been really pleased with everything I’ve ordered. No ties to them – just a very satisfied organic customer.