Although uncommon today, tulipieres were massively popular among wealthy Europeans in the 17th century. They were designed to hold one tulip bulb per spout. Once placed inside in water, the bulbs would be forced to grow through the nearest opening, therefore, they are sometimes called “forcing bowls.” Tulips, at the time, were a luxury and a symbol of wealth in a home. I love the description of “tulip mania” from Terry Kovel King below:
“Tulip mania, a strange financial “bubble” in Holland in the 1630s, made a tulip bulb cost up to 10 times the yearly income of a skilled craftsman, according to some writers. So the flowers became a status symbol, and the very rich or royal bought huge flower containers to grow or show the flowers. Tulip mania ended in 1637, but the flowers remained popular. A vase that is still called a “tulipiere” has numerous holes or short tubes, which hold a flower or plant. Most sources today think these vases were used for cut flowers, but they originally were used to force tulip, hyacinth or crocus bulbs to grow and bloom in the house. Collectors can find rare early Dutch tulip vases, 19th-century Wedgwood or Staffordshire vases, or Continental and American examples, all with multiple holes or tubes.” -Terry Kovel King
Today, I use my blue and white tulipieres, reproductions by Mottahedeh, told hold cut flowers. I haven’t tried to grow bulbs in them yet but maybe someday! I love the way Jimmie Henslee, who was styling our home for a magazine’s video shoot last week, added wild flowers, hyacinths, and vines to the tulip arrangement for a softer and more romantic look.
It is harder to find tulipieres today but I have found some here ranging in price from $25 to $5000!