What would the garden be like without tulips? These familiar, mostly hardy, spring-flowering bulbs come in a wide range of colours and, as well as being popular in the bed or border, make excellent cut.
Suitable site and soil. They do best in well-drained and fertile soil – preferably alkaline – in a sunny site.
Cultivation and care. Plant out bulbs about 15cm – 6in deep and 15cm – 6in apart in mid to late autumn. Deadhead bulbs and remove petals from around the plant. Bulbs can be left in situ but it is best to lift them after the foliage dies back and store them in a cool dry place until replanting time.
Propagation. Increase from offsets obtained when bulbs are lifted. Species of tulip can be grown from. ‘ Recommended varieties. The range to choose from is huge. Tulips from the Darwin hybrid division give a good splash of colour in spring bedding. These grow about 60cm – 2ft high and spread about 20cm – 8in; of these T. ‘Gudoshnik’ is yellow and pink with red spots and T. ‘Apeldoorn’ is deep red. Of the lily-flowered types, T. ‘Captain Fryatt’ is the colour of red wine and grows to 45cm – 18in. The Parrot types have unusual fringed and T. ‘Fantasy’ is rose-pink with a green stripe. T. tarda is a good and attractive species that grows to only 15cm – 6in high and has white flowers with a yellow centre; it looks good in a rock garden.
Pests and diseases. Prone to attack byand eelworms and a number of viral and fungal diseases.
There are 14 or 15 divisions of tulip, of which three are distinct from the broad mass of tulips: parrot tulips, with fringed flowers; lily-flowered tulips with pointed petals; and double tulips.