Big, bold and beautiful, these dazzling tulips are sure to brighten your gardens and neighborhood. Include a few or all ten to create a colorful display throughout the spring that is sure to delight you and everyone who passes by.
Welcome spring with Red Emperor, one of the earliest tulips to bloom. It’s not surprising it has remained popular for more than 80 years. Also known as Madame Lefeber, this heirloom tulip features extra-large, bright red blooms with a golden yellow base. As the flowers mature, they can be up to seven inches across.
From heirloom to flashy, it is easy to see why Monsella is one of the most popular tulips. The early blooming double flowers have fragrant layers of canary yellow petals with bold red stripes. A great choice for containers.
As early spring tulips begin to fade, the mid-spring varieties take center stage. To help plan for continuous color throughout the spring, consult Longfield Gardens’ Planning Guide for Tulips.
Tulip Ad Rem has scarlet red petals edged in golden yellow. As with other Darwin Hybrids, the flowers are enormous and this one also has a nice fragrance.
Blushing Apeldoorn is another mid spring bloomer with extra-large flowers. The blend of yellow, gold, orange and red on each flower make it a standout in any landscape. Plant the bulbs en masse to create a stunning display or pair them with daffodils to extend the show.
Change things up in mid to late spring with the hot pink flowers of Cosmopolitan. The goblet shaped fuchsia flowers are held high on 18 to 20” stems. Be sure to plant extras for spring flower arrangements.
Team up Cosmopolitan with the violet-blue flowers of Purple Flag. Or shake things up by pairing this lovely purple tulip with flowers that bloom in its complementary colors yellow and orange.
As temperatures climb, the late blooming tulip Sky High Scarlet really shines. Its huge tomato red blossoms hold up well despite the heat that often shortens late spring tulip displays.
You and your neighbors will enjoy watching the transformation of World Expression tulips. The flowers start out soft primrose yellow with scarlet red flames. As the blossoms mature, the petals whiten, and the flames deepen to a cardinal red.
Add a little Midnight Magic to your late spring garden. This double late tulip has multiple layers of petals in a blend of burgundy and garnet. Pair it with white for a formal look or energize the display by combining it with orange and yellow blooms. Be sure to cut a few of these large, rose-like flowers and enjoy their fragrance.
End the tulip season with a blaze of color. Sun Lover features vibrant orange petals with stripes of deep orange and red. The flowers open wider and wider each day and are a dramatic addition to any bouquet.
Order tulip bulbs in late summer for the best selection. Shipping starts in early fall and once the bulbs arrive, they should be stored in a cool, dark place until you plant.
Tulips grow best when the bulbs are planted in late fall, after the first hard frost and before the ground freezes. Those in mild climates (zones 8-10) will need to pre-chill their tulip bulbs in the refrigerator for 10 to 14 weeks before planting in the garden.
Once your tulip bulbs are in the ground, you can relax and wait for the beautiful spring tulip display. Your neighbors are sure to thank you for this colorful addition to the block.
Photo credit: photo courtesy of Longfield-Gardens.com
Cutline: World Expression tulip’s flowers transform from a soft primrose yellow with scarlet red flames to a whiter version of the blossom with flames of cardinal red.
Melinda Myers is the author of more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio program. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by Longfield Gardens for her expertise to write this article. Her web site is www.MelindaMyers.com.