Different Types of Tulips Explained

A beautiful, brightly-coloured, spring bloomer, the tulip is one of the most popular, distinctive, and versatile flowers, but did you know that there are over 3,000 registered varieties?

Dwarf types are perfect for pot work and rockeries, doubles and singles are great in spring beds and open areas. Whereas taller species, such as darwin, lily, parrot and triumph, are best for spring borders and landscaping.

Their versatility and beautiful flowers are some of the many reasons why tulip bulbs are such a popular flower to plant. Here we outline some of the most popular types of tulips and the notable differences between them.

Triumph Tulips

Triumphs make up the largest group of tulips. Offering the widest range of colours, they can add a fantastic splash of colour to any garden.

With medium-length stems, triumphs are best used for forcing and short-term bedding. They also look great in containers, as long as they are protected from freezing.

Triumph tulips should be planted between September and December, and they flower in April and May.

Darwin Tulips

Darwins are bold and elegant tulips which are used extensively in landscaping projects to create a spectacular display of vibrant colour in mid-spring.

With tall stems, darwin tulips compliment most garden perennials and shrubs, and can be planted towards the back of your borders.

Darwin tulips should be planted between September and December, and they flower in May. They usually perform well for many years, making them one of the best perennials.

Examples of darwin tulips include banja luka tulips (red and yellow), and pink impression tulips (shades of pink).

Dwarf Tulips

With shorter stems, dwarf tulips are less susceptible to damage from strong winds. They look great planted at the front of borders, in containers, or near hedges or trees.

Early bloomers, dwarf tulips should be planted between September and December, and they flower in March and April.

Examples of dwarf tulips include pinocchio tulips (red and ivory), and the first tulips (red and yellow).

Double Tulips

Available in a range of colours, including creams, yellows, pinks and reds, double tulips are striking with a bold, double peony shaped flower.

Double tulips are perfect for landscaping in spring beds and borders, in containers and tubs, and as a show flower planted en masse.

Double tulips are different as standard tulips tend to have just six petals, whereas double tulips have several rows of petals, creating a fuller flower that is similar to a peony in appearance.

They should be planted between September and December, and they flower in April.

Examples of double tulips include voicemail tulips (red and white), and sunlover tulips (orange and yellow).

Lily Tulips

Lily tulips look elegant and graceful, with their pointed, reflexed petals. They make a wonderful show variety for landscaping displays, planted in groups or drifts.

One of the later bloomers, excellent for bedding and cutting, lily tulips should be planted between September and December, and they flower in May.

Examples of lily tulips include claudia tulips (purple and white), and elegant lady tulips (violet-red and yellow).

Parrot Tulips

One of the more exotic tulips, the parrot tulip adds fantastic colour to any individual display, themed planting scheme, or landscaping display.

They are cup shaped and have ruffled petals which are often patterned with vibrant markings.

Parrot tulips are best planted in groups or drifts between September and December, and they flower in May, so they are also great for bedding and cutting.

Examples of parrot tulips include rococo tulips (purple and green), and texas flame tulips (red and yellow).

For expert advice on selecting or growing tulip bulbs, please get in touch with our team at Boston Bulbs on 01775 769333, or email sales@bostonbulbswholesale.co.uk.

The Boston Bulb Company has over 40 years of experience in supplying only the finest quality horticultural products from farmers and growers throughout the UK and Europe.

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