14 Tulip Varieties You'll Go Wild For

Meet the closest cousins to wild tulips—tiny gems that reliably return year after year.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colorblends.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colorblends.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Atlanta Botanical Garden

Photo By: Photo by Felder Rushing

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colorblends.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colorblends.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colorblends.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colorblends.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colorblends.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colorblends.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colorblends.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Colorblends.com

Tulipa tarda

Like many species tulips, Tulipa tarda offers two-tone flowers. Outer petals feature tones of brownish-purple, while blossom centers display yellow petals with white tips. Tulipa tarda was introduced in 1933 and grows 2 to 4 inches tall. Many species tulips, including T. tarda, naturalize readily to create larger colonies via offsets or baby bulbs that form alongside mature bulbs. To enhance this process, remove spent blooms and don’t permit plants to set seed.

Tulipa humilis ‘Violacea’

Give your garden a splash of deep rose with Tulipa humilis ‘Violacea’. Introduced in 1860, this beauty grows 4 to 6 inches tall. Open blooms feature contrasting black centers. Violacea is a slow multiplier. If you want instant drifts of color with it, plant many bulbs.

Tulipa clusiana v. chrysantha

This hot pink variety is one of the taller species tulips.

Tulipa clusiana

Clusiana and its hybrids are among the most dependable tulips for coming back year after year as perennials

Tulipa linifolia

You’ll be seeing red when you include Tulipa linifolia in your garden. This tulip is a true heirloom, introduced in 1884. Red flowers open wide in sun to reveal contrasting black blotches at the base. Plants grow to 6 inches tall. This tulip naturalizes well to form colorful colonies.

Tulipa bakeri ‘Lilac Wonder’

Pastel lavender petals appear in mid-spring on ‘Lilac Wonder.’ Blossoms open wide to reveal yellow centers. Introduced in 1895, this species tulip is one of the more widely planted ones. Many gardeners prefer to tuck this gem into light shade so that sun doesn’t wash out the pale lavender hue. Plants grow to 6 inches high.

Tulipa clusiana ‘Tubergen’s Gem’

This is another mid-spring bloomer that brings on the two-tone color charm. Petals feature canary yellow centers with red on outer petals. Plants are tall for a species tulip, growing 8 to 10 inches high. Pair with mid-season daffodils or red Greggii tulips for a stunning show.

Tulipa Whittallii Bend and Swoop Like Swans

Tulipa whittallii tulip features various shades of orange set off with a dark, round heart. When the sun shines through this flower, it looks like it is on fire. Excellent for rock gardens, front of borders, forcing and containers.

Tulipa turkestanica

Introduced in 1875, Tulipa turkestanica offers strong cold hardiness but doesn’t require prolonged cold to flower. It’s a good choice for milder winter regions. Plants grow to 8 inches tall and flower in mid-spring. Ivory blossoms open to reveal yellow centers. Like most species tulips, this bulb thrives in a rock garden or along the edge of a border.


Tulipa ‘Little Princess’

Short and sweet, ‘Little Princess’ brings big color to plantings. Flowers open in shades of orange that shift and darken as petals age. When blooms burst open in full sun, you’ll see dark centers surrounded with a ring of yellow. Plants grow to 4 inches tall. This species tulip opens at the start of late spring.

Tulipa batalini ‘Bright Gem’

‘Bright Gem’ was first registered in 1952, but the parentage traces back to 1889 in the Pamir & Alai mountains of Central Asia. Blossoms feature a bright apricot yellow with either a bronze or green tone on the outside. Yellow tints are brightest in colder zones, while milder winters yield a bronze to green tint. Plants grow 6 inches tall.

Tulipa praestans ‘Shogun’

‘Shogun’ brings the colors of sunset to life in the mid-spring garden. This is a larger species tulip, growing to 12 inches tall. It’s native to the Gissar Mountains of Tajikistan and thrives, like most of its kin, in well-draining soil. Each stem produces several flowers, forming living bouquets in the garden.

Sprenger's Tulip

Sprenger's tulip (Tulipa sprengeri) blooms in late spring, then scatters its seed about, naturalizing easily in the garden. Also unlike many tulips, it likes a bit of shade.

Tulipa kolpakowskiana

The name is a tongue twister, but it’s easy to describe this species tulip: beautiful. Native to Central Asia, it was first recorded in Europe in 1844. The sunny yellow flowers stand atop stems 8 inches tall. If the name is too hard to say, call this pretty tulip by the Swedish name, which translates “sun tulip.” Outer petals carry a hint of red.

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