Q. I've been told that the bigger the tulip bulb, the better the flower. Is this true?
A. Not entirely. It is true, however, that, as a general rule, the bigger the tulip bulb the bigger the flower. But bigger does not necessarily mean better. The bulbs of a species tulip such as Tulipa tarda, for example, would appear quite tiny beside, say, a large Darwin Hybrid bulb such as 'Apeldoorn'. But these small species tulip are some of the most delicate and lovely bulb flowers you can grow. They're quite hardy as well. Tulip bulbs are sold by caliber or size. Within any particular type or variety of tulip, the larger bulbs will fetch a higher price than the smaller ones. For big showy displays, the larger caliber bulbs are certainly worth the price. However, some excellent bargains are to be had by buying lots of smaller caliber bulbs for brightening up a marginal spot in the spring yard.
Q. Do tulips prefer a sunny or a shady spot in the yard?
A. Tulips are sun as well as shade lovers. But when planting your tulips this fall, don't be fooled by the patterns of sun and shade in the fall garden! Remember that come spring, when tulips bloom, all the deciduous, non-evergreen trees in your yard will be beautifully leafless. There's a lot of sun in a spring garden!
Q. What are "botanical" or "species" tulips?
A. Species tulips, or "wild tulips" are those varieties which have not been bred or hybridized and remain essentially as they are found in nature. Botanical tulips are hybrids, but hybrids which remain very close to the original species. None of the bulbs we sell are truly wild, or gathered in the wild, since all tulips sold by the Dutch, including the species and botanical tulips, are actually propagated and grown in Holland. Species and botanical tulips are generally smaller than othertulips. They are especially prized for growing in rock gardens.