Choosing the right variety of tulip is dependent on several things. You will need to have some idea as to where you are going to plant your tulips, what colors and varieties you like, and what time of the season you want them to bloom. This article was written to help you make a wise decision on purchasing and growing tulips.
Tulips come in many types and colors. Purple tulips, red tulips, pink tulips and yellow tulips are the most popular tulip colors. There are many varieties that have mixed colors that will produce varied effects when planted together in a bed. You may choose contrasting colors, or harmonious colors. Keep in mind that tulips will bloom at different times and be different heights. If you plan your garden well, you will have varying heights and bloom times that will give you color throughout the season. Be sure to plant your shorter varieties in the front and taller ones to the back of them. This will give you a stair step effect that will give you an eye-catching tulip bed.
Tulips are classified according to their time of flowering and type of flower. Here is a list of the main types of Tulips and their flowering time:
Kaufmanniana Tulips flower in March, and have widely opened flowers on short stems. They are also called Water-lily tulips.
Gregii Hybrid Tulips flower in April and have cup-shaped flowers on short to medium stems and chocolate-striped leaves.
Early Single Tulips flower in April and have cup-shaped flowers on short to medium stems.
Early Double Tulips flower in April and have double flowers on short to medium stems.
Mendel and Triumph Tulips flower in late April and have single flowers on medium stems.
Darwin, Darwin Hybrid, and Cottage Tulips flower in May and have single flowers on long stems.
Lily-flowered Tulips flower in May and have single flowers with pointed reflexing petals on long stems.
Peony-flowered Tulips flower in May and have double flowers on long stems.
Parrot Tulips flower in May and have very large single flowers, the petals of which are wrinkled and frilled.
Multi-flowered Tulips flower in May and have medium to long stems and single flowers, the petals of which are marked with green.
Species Tulips are wild kinds, varying in character and suitable for rock gardens.
Tulips prefer a good, loamy soil and an open, sunny position. Prepare the soil by thoroughly digging and working in plenty of well-rotted manure or garden compost and finish by adding bonemeal at 3 oz. per sq.yd. Plant bulbs at least 4 in. Apart in September, October, or November with a trowel, in holes 4 in. deep and large enough to allow each bulb to sit firmly on the soil.
Lift tulips in June and July when leaves have died down and store them in shallow trays in a cool, dry place until replanting time. If beds are required for summer flowers, lift the tulips as soon as they have finished flowering and replant them close together in a convenient place so that they can complete their growth before final lifting and storing for the summer. Bulb clusters can be separated into individual bulbs before replanting, but plant undersized bulbs in a reserve bed.