From Cargo Handbook - the world's largest cargo transport guidelines website
Infobox on Tulip
Example of Tulip
Origin -
Stowage factor (in m3/t) -
Humidity / moisture -
Ventilation -
Risk factors See text


Description / Shipment / Storage / Risk factors

Scientific Name and Introduction

Tulipa cvs, hybrids. Tulips, one of the classical cut flowers, were the source of tremendous interest when they were first brought to Holland from the Mediterranean countries where they are native.

Quality Characteristics and Criteria

The entire tulip plant, with bulb attached, is harvested when the petals show 50% colour. It is preferable to harvest in the early morning when temperatures are lower, and to cool the harvested flowers immediately. Purchase when flower colour is just visible and only by cultivar name since postharvest characteristics vary greatly.

Grading and Bunching

Tulip blooms are graded for uniform maturity (degree of opening), stem length, and freedom from defects. Defects include flower bud blasting, greening of flower buds, and toppling. Bulbs are then removed, and the bases of stems are cut to ensure adequate water uptake. Tulips are typically bunched in groups of 10.

Ethylene Sensitivity

Tulips show no response to ethylene, nor any response to inhibitors of ethylene actions or synthesis.


No pretreatments are required for tulips.

Storage Conditions

Tulips should be stored at 0°C to 1ºC with 85% RH, upright to prevent stem bending, and with bulbs attached. It has been reported that flowers stored dry in bunches can keep up to 7 weeks if sealed in polyethylene bags or kept in boxes over-wrapped with polyethylene. Desiccation of tulips can be a serious problem, causing collapse of the stem below flowers. Control of RH and proper re-hydration following storage can minimize the problem.


Tulips may be packed in hampers or in regular fibreboard flower boxes. Stems and blooms should be securely wrapped to prevent bruising and breakage. Tulips packed horizontally must be held at proper temperature of 0°C to 1ºC to avoid gravity-induced bending.

Special Considerations

End-user life is very species and cultivar dependent, as is the flower maturity stage when sold. Some people may get dermatitis from continual handling of tulip flowers. Preservative solutions are recommended; benefits vary from 0% to 150% increase in vase- life, depending on cultivar, flower food brand, and water quality. Do not place in the same bucket with daffodils that have been just re-cut, as the mucilage exuded by daffodils can reduce the vase-life of tulips. Tulip flower stems (scapes) often continue to elongate after harvest and will often grow out of the arrangement. Stems should be maintained in an upright position during handling to prevent stem bending.

Sources used
BMT Consolidated Manual on (Dutch) Flower Bulbs, cut flowers/greens and potted plants.