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Tulips Blooming in Spring

Pella Tulip Time is planned in advance to make sure that tulips are properly prepared and planted. Every year the tulips bloom at different times due to changes in the climate such as soil temperature and precipitation. Some years tulips bloom ahead of schedule or after the event.  In 2021, Tulip Time was scheduled May 7-8 but in by April 17, a majority of the tulips were already in full bloom. 

Pella, Iowa

Possible Guiding, Compelling and/or Anchoring Questions

  • What conditions must take place for blooming to occur?
  • Why would tulips bloom early?
  • Why would tulips bloom late?
  • When would we plant tulips?
  • How would dry/wet conditions change blooming conditions? How would a warm winter change the blooming of tulips?
  • Why do different varieties of tulips bloom at different times?

Classroom Suggestions

  • Build a model of a tulip’s life cycle over a year.
  • Research optimal growing conditions for tulips including soil temperature, soil characteristics, precipitation and shade.
  • Make a claim using soil temperature and the blooming of tulips together.
  • Research other plants that grow similarly and plants that can not grow in Iowa due to climate. 
  • Research multiple varieties of tulips and when they bloom.

Related Resources

Pella Historical Society and Museum: Tulip Time: Pella has an annual event that features tulips every spring where the community explodes with tulip blooms on every corner. The Life of a Tulip: Tulips have specific requirements in order to grow and bloom. 
Yard and Garden: Planting Tulips and Flowering Bulbs in Fall: Tips for planting tulips successfully. 


Iowa Core Alignment

Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate

Credit Info

Submitted by Kala Miller

Video provided by Pella Historical Society and Museum


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