SITE AND SOIL: Well-drained soil is necessary-thrives best in full sun.

PLANT DETAILS: Planting time November- December (earlier planting can result in frost damage). Planting depth 6 in.

Spacing: 5-8 in.

PROPAGATION: Remove bulblets at lifting time. Dry, store and replant in late autumn.

T. kaufmanniana varieties and hybrids are dwarf (6-10 in.) and bloom in March. These Water-lily Tulips are ideal in the rockery, the flowers opening into colourful stars. Do not lift in winter-leave them to spread. Well-known varieties include ‘Heart’s Delight’ (white-edged red) and ‘Stresa’ (red and yellow).

T. fosteriana varieties and hybrids are short (12-18 in.) and bloom in April. They are grown for their enormous flowers which can reach a span of 10 in. when fully open. Support for such giant blooms is often necessary. Best known is ‘Mme Lefeber’ (’Red Emperor’) – others include ‘Princeps’ (red. Sturdy stems) and ‘Easter Parade’ (yellow).

T. greigii varieties and hybrids are dwarf (8-12 in.) and bloom in May. The flowers are long-lasting – the leaves are often mottled or streaked with brown. A good plant for the rockery – examples include ‘Cape Cod’ (red and yellow), ‘Red Riding Hood’ (red) and ‘Plaisir’ (cream and red).

T. clusiana is known as the Lady Tulip – 8 in. tall and flowering in April. A marked contrast to the many bold and brilliant Tulips – the leaves are grass-like and the slender blooms are white with pink streaks on the outside of the petals.

T. praestans is grown for its pillar-box red flowers borne 3 or 4 to a stem. It grows 1 ft high and flowers in April.

The spring garden and the coloured catalogues of nurserymen abound with Tulips -there is no need here to sing their praises nor to illustrate the scores of varieties which are available. Tulips will succeed in any reasonable garden soil which does not become waterlogged. The Garden Hybrid group is by far the more popular – these are grown as bedding plants, going in after the Narcissi and are then lifted when the foliage turns yellow. The dry bulbs are stored in a frost-free place. The Species group has fewer friends although there are many splendid varieties, including dwarfs for the rockery – some can be left in the ground over winter.


SINGLE EARLY TULIPS 9-16 in., flowering early-mid April. Strong-stemmed and useful for early display, but blooms are smaller than later-flowering varieties. Flowers open flat. Examples are ‘Keizerskroon’ (yellow and red), ‘Brilliant Star’ (red), ‘Couleur Cardinal’ (deep red, scented) and ‘Bellona’ (golden yellow).

DOUBLE EARLY TULIPS 9-16 in., flowering mid April.

Strong-stemmed and useful for early display – the many-petalled blooms are long-lasting. Petals are r sometimesfrilled.Examplesare ‘Peach Blossom’ (rosy pink), ‘Orange Nassau’ (orange), ‘Marechal Niel’ (orange-yellow) and ‘Schoonoord’ (white).

TRIUMPH TULIPS 16-24 in., flowering end April-early May. Strong-stemmed and useful for beds which will have to be cleared for summer-flowering bedding plants. Look like small Darwin Tulips. Examples are ‘Garden Party’ (pink-edged white), ‘Apricot Beauty’ (salmon-pink), ‘Korneforos’ (red) and ‘Sulphur Glory’ (yellow).

DARWIN TULIPS 24-30 in., flowering early-mid May. Strong-stemmed – the most popular of all garden Tulips. Large flowers – the Darwin Hybrids are even larger. Examples are ‘Apeldoorn’ (orange-red), ‘Clara Butt’ (pink), ‘La Tulipe Noire’ (blackish purple), ‘Zwanenburg’ (white) and ‘London’ (pink).

LILY-FLOWERED TULIPS 20-24 in., flowering end April-early May. Strong-stemmed – with Darwins, the favourite Tulips for garden bedding. Long flowers with pointed petals re-flexed at the tips. Examples are ‘West Point’ (deep yellow), ‘China Pink’ (pink), ‘Queen of Sheba’ (orange and red) and ‘White Triumphator’ (white).

COTTAGE TULIPS 24-30 in., flowering early May.

Old-fashioned Tulips with long, egg-shaped blooms.

Can be mixed satisfactorily with Darwin Tulips.

Examples are ‘Rosy Wings’ (pink and white), ‘Golden Harvest’ (yellow), ‘Marshal Haig’ (red and yellow) and ‘Greenland’ (pink, cream and green).

REMBRANDT TULIPS 20-24 in., flowering mid May. ‘Broken’ Tulips – petals are flecked or streaked with another colour. The cause is a harmless virus – some-times called Bizarre Tulips. Examples are ‘Absalon’ (yellow and red), ‘Cordell Hull’ (white and red), ‘Victory’ (yellow and brown) and ‘Gloire de Holland’ (violet and white).

PARROT TULIPS 20-26 in., flowering mid May.

Weak-stemmed – some support may be needed. Large flowers with frilled petals – bi-colours are common.

Examples are ‘Texas Gold’ (red-edged yellow), ‘Black Parrot’ (blackish purple), ‘Firebird’ (vermilion and white) and ‘Fantasy’ (pink and green).

DOUBLE LATE TULIPS 16-24 in, flowering lafe May.

Some support needed to protect from wind and rain.

Very large flowers – sometimes called Paeony Tulips.

Examplesare ‘Eros’ (rosy pink, scented), ‘Nizza’ (yellow and red), ‘Moonglow’ (yellow) and ‘Symphonia’ (red).

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