Plant Family Guides: Tulipa - Tulips
Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocus: these are the spring bloomers everyone knows. But there are hundreds of other, lesser-known beauties to plant in fall. Some are small and delicate, others tall and ungainly. All are fabulous. Wait till you see them!
Many tulips are not strongly perennial and their floral display tends to decline from season to season. They bloom well the first year, but then peter out after a couple of years. But if you select the right tulip varieties, plant them in the right spot and provide the proper care, you can be rewarded with a magnificent spring display year after year.
Rock gardens offer the perfect home for an extensive array of plants including evergreens, deciduous shrubs, perennials, annuals, and flowering bulbs. A surprisingly large number of perennial bulbs do well in rock gardens, such as snowdrops (Galanthus), crocuses (Crocus), wild tulips (Tulipa), miniature daffodils (Narcissus) and plenty others charming bulbs. The following list of perennial bulbs thrive in rock garden conditions and you will be delighted to see them every spring or fall.
These are real early birds: they bloom before any other tulips. They catch the eye not only because of their extra early flowering but also because of their inflorescence and cheery range of colors. In addition, the graceful way the flowers open and their pretty foliage make them attractive before, during and after flowering.
The flowers are green as buds, and as they grow it may seem as if the tulips will remain entirely green forever. But as the flower matures and opens, resembling a parrot's plumage, the brilliant colors are revealed. This is when their black, star-shaped center and their bright yellow stamens become apparent.
Tulipa fosteriana is a wild species found in the mountainous areas of Central Asia. Although no longer being cultivated, numerous beautiful cultivars developed from it are still marketed. They differ from one another in height, but all have solitary, bowl-shaped flowers, 5 in. wide (12 cm), with a slender shape and large, sometimes striped, leaves. These tulips generally naturalize easily and come back year after year in the garden. They are well-suited to mixed borders and create impressive bedding displays. Bloom in early-mid spring.
No matter what their color, tulips will brighten up your garden and provide weeks of cheerful color. If you love Tulips and want to have a great spring garden that blooms from early season through late season, select Tulip bulbs that bloom across all three spring seasons. Exactly when the flowers bloom will depend on nature and the spring conditions in your area that year, but you should have a terrific garden that satisfies for months on end.
To achieve optimum flowering results, it is important to plant the bulbs at the right time.
A sampling of top-performing bulbs that can be counted upon to perennialize -- and, if happy where you plant them, will most likely naturalize, too, to come back to bloom for years.