by Gini Sage
Tulips are one of the most beloved of the spring bulbs, available in a myriad of colours, forms and sizes.
The classification of tulips is according to time of bloom, parentage and flower form. For early season bloom, try Single Early (12-16”) or Double Early (12”) cultivars. In the midseason range are Triumph (16-20”) and Darwin Hybrids (24”). Among the late season are Single Late (long stemmed and large flowered), Bouquet (3-6 branches, each with its own flower), Lily-flowered (22” with pointed arching tips on the blooms), Fringed (24”, with fringed petals), Viridiflora (24” with green-edged petals), Rembrandt (streaky colours), Parrot (large, twisted blooms) and Double Late (or peony flowered).
Most of the tulips on the market today should be planted in moist, well-drained soil, 8” deep and in full sun. The newer hybrids should be lifted and replaced after three years, as the bloom quality and quantity will decline in subsequent years. Species or Botanical tulips and their hybrids, which are closer to the original wild tulip, are smaller in stature (6”), and although not as showy as their hybridized cousins, are suitable for naturalizing. They require a fast-draining, light-textured soil that is not too fertile, in full sun, and will continue to thrive and spread in years to come.
Article originally published in the Uxbridge Horticultural Society Newsletter, April 2007