For tulip lovers, this is the most important time of the year. Though they won’t flower until spring, now is the time to start planting. But with over 150 species and over 3000 varieties, how can you decide which tulips are right for your garden?
Below are some of the leading types of tulip plants that will bring a stunning mix of colour to your flowerbeds. Let us know if you’ve grown any of these types, or if you have any other recommendations for beautiful tulip variations.
Queen of Night
A popular variation of dark coloured tulips, the Queen of Night’s deep purple colour gives them an intensity that works beautifully as a shadowed effect to brighter flowers in a bed. They also last well in a vase for a mysteriously nocturnal indoor decoration.
The Queen of Night should be planted 15-20 cm deep in well-drained soil with 10-15cm of space around each bulb. They usually flower from late April to May and, if treated well, can come back for many years.
The Spring Green tulip flowers in late spring with a soft, fresh colour on cup shaped flowers. Ivory petals are striped with green up the centre, for a delicately mixed appearance.
These tulips are best grown in more shaded, sheltered areas of the garden, and should be planted around 10-15cm deep in well-drained soil. They bloom in late spring.
The large, yet narrow flowers of the Prinses Irene elongate their appearance from their short stems. Named after a Dutch Princess, the flowers have a beautiful sunset colouration that fades from deep purple centres to vibrant orange edges.
Suitable for growing in open areas, their sturdy stems hold them up through windy weather and spring showers. The plants should grow to around 30cm, coming in to bloom in mid April.
Ile de France
A hardy variation that’s easy to bring back year after year, the Ile de France is a much loved favourite thanks to its strong red hue that always stands out beautifully against green leafed bedding plants.
The triumph red flowers come out between April and May, from a plant that grows to around 50cm. The resilient plants can stand up to poor weather conditions so can be planted anywhere in the garden.
The Angelique tulip is known as a “peony tulip” for its non-traditional bowl shaped flowers, much wider than ordinary tulips. The more commonly seen variation mixes soft shades of pink and white, but the Orange Angelique adds an apricot hue that highlights the shape and contrasts nicely with the strong pink marks on the petals.
Known as a double late bloomer, these are usually the last tulips to flower in a year, growing up to 45cm tall.
A variation similar in size and shape to the Ile de France, the Apricot Foxx is becoming a popular tulip to grow around the world thanks to its beautifully soft colour scheme that mixes a central pink stripe that fades gently in to orange on the outside.
Growing up to 45cm, the Apricot Foxx flowers throughout April with a resilience that allows it to be planted in exposed areas of the garden.
The large, scented flowers of the Purissima grow on tall stems allowing them to stand out above other collections in a bedding display. Their snowy white flowers provide a fresh appearance that glows amongst colourful plants.
Best planted in areas with full sunlight, these are early flowering tulips, usually coming out from late March to early April. They grow to over 50cm tall and have a natural resilience that makes them easy to grow, year after year.
The stunning Early Glory tulip features sugar pink flowers in an elegant, tall shape. A classic addition to a springtime vase.
The strong stems of these plants hold them up through harsh weather conditions, making them suitable for planting anywhere in the garden. They blossom in mid-April and last well when cut and placed in a vase.
The closest thing to a completely black tulip available, the Paul Scherer has appeared after years of breeders’ attempts to create darker and darker flowers. The intense colour on a large, oval flower creates a stunning addition to bedding displays or flower arrangements.
The tall stems grow to over 50cm, but stand resiliently against rough weather conditions. The late blooms come out in May, and last excellently after being cut.