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Why Tulips Grow So Well In The Netherlands

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The climate and geology of the Netherlands is known to be a near-perfect fit for the flower, and a key reason that the Dutch now lead the global Tulip trade.

Tulips grow best in maritime areas, preferably not further than 75 kilometers (50 miles) from the coast. In the Netherlands, the area most like this is near the coast of the North Sea. The best types of soil are the sandy-clay grounds in the provinces of South and North Holland, Flevoland and the Noordoostpolder. In particular, the maritime climate and the vicinity of water provide optimum conditions for growing Tulips.

Holland’s location on the 52nd degree of latitude and near sea level also plays a significant role. Due to the combination of the maritime climate and the location, there are relatively mild winters and summers. Winter temperatures (from December until April) average between 2 and 4 degrees Celsius (35-40 degrees Fahrenheit), which fits well with the need to for lower temperatures for at least three months while not being too cold. 

On average, the annual temperature in the Netherlands is 9.8 Celsius (48 F), the ideal temperature to grow Tulips. In spring, the average rain precipitation is 60/80mm (2.5″ – 3.5″) per month, and in dryer periods there is still plenty of water stored in the small canals and ditches in order to irrigate and sprinkle the plants.

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