Plant Family Guides: Tulipa---Tulips Guides
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.
With their double row of petals, the Double Early Tulips look almost like peonies. Their bowl-shaped blooms reach 3 in. (8 cm) across and come in a wide range of colors ranging from red to yellow or white. They often exhibit a contrasting color, offering a striking display in the garden in early-mid spring. Some are even fragrant!
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.
What makes Lily-Flowered Tulips different from other tulip varieties are their slender flowers with often pointed, recurving petals. The flower stems are thin and not very sturdy, making them susceptible to wind damage. Most bloom in late spring, and a few in mid-spring. Some make good cut flowers, others are fragrant. But all are incredibly beautiful and should be considered in your seasonal plantings.
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