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What is this To help gardeners understand which plants will grow well for them, the entire USA has been segmented into ‘Plant Hardiness Zones’.

Red Emperor Tulip




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Tulips will be available for pre-order in March

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Shipping begins in September based on ground temperatures, coldest zones first. Learn More…

An all-time world favorite, Red Emperor boasts huge, bright red blooms that open wide to show off brilliant yellow and black blotches in the center. Great for naturalizing and cutting. (Tulipa fosteriana)

Zones 3 - 8
Easy to Grow
Easy to Grow
Cut Flowers
Cut Flowers
Light Requirements
Full Sun
Full Sun
Half Sun / Half Shade
Half Sun / Half Shade
Mature Plant Size 14-16" tall
Bulb Spacing9 bulbs per sq. ft.
Bloom Time Early spring
Size Bulb Size: 12 cm

Plant Information

This is the No. 1 favorite of many gardeners. And no wonder. They are inexpensive, foolproof to grow, the blooms are early and enormous, and they come back year after year. Most experts talk about how tall' the blooms are, but if you've ever grown them, the real spectacle is after they've been open awhile, and the petals begin to flatten out until the whole bloom looks a lot like a huge red poppy. And inside? Brilliant yellow and black blotches, making the display a real knock-out.

The Emperors are great for cutting as well, and they'll open wide for you in a vase, just like they do out in the yard. It's not uncommon for the wide-open blooms to be over 5' across.

Emperor tulips are old hybrids, but have been one of US gardeners favorites from the beginning. The famous antique print shown below is not a Red Emperor, but an even earlier hybrid that looks very much like it, and shows the wide-open bloom habit with yellow center.

No tulip display is complete without Red Emperors. And if you've never planted them, you're in for a real treat. If you want a long period of bloom, a combination of early Emperors and late-blooming Darwin Hybrids will give you a full bloom look for over a month. And if you just love red, mix these with Oxford, the red Darwin Hybrid, and you can't miss.

And one more tip. Be sure to plant a few Red Emperors just for cutting. If you cut the stems, chances are they won't 'come back' next spring, but who can resist? Just two or three Red Emperor Tulips in a vase create a self-arranging bouquet your friends won't believe. These huge tulips actually keep 'growing in the vase', elongating and opening their brilliant red flowers with dramatic yellow/black centers. In a few days, you'll have a floral spectacle in your house, as these amazing flowers open wide and look more like huge red poppies or waterlilies than tulips. Something you'll never enjoy if you leave them all out in the yard!

About the famous Emperor Tulips: Early in the 20th Century, a talented Dutch hybridizer named Lefeber worked long and hard with a wild tulip called 'Tulipa fosteriana' from Central Asia. It is red, and from it, he hybridized the group that became known as the Emperor Tulips. From the very small wild form, the enormous-flowered, world-famous Red Emperor was introduced in 1931, and is what we now call a member of the 'Fosteriana Tulip' group. In fact, Red Emperor's official variety name is 'Madame Lefeber' in honor of the original hybridizer's wife.

White Emperor, Orange Emperor and a few others now make up this classic group. Every year millions of Emperor Tulips are planted worldwide, and are favorites for mass plantings in parks, botanical gardens, and other public places. They bloom early, are all the same height (shorter than later tulips), and the huge flowers open wide before they fade, almost like huge poppies.

Since the Emperors are closely related to a wild species, they are much more 'perennial' than most tulips, making them even more valuable.

In America's current Top Ten list for popularity in the US, compiled by the Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Centre, Red Emperor, even though it's now 73 years old, stands tall at No. 7. The second most popular Emperor is White Emperor, and these two are often planted together; the red and white combination is a spring favorite all over the world.'

Associated SKUs
31TUL10 (Bag of 10) - Out of stock.
8BULK100 (Bag of 100) - Out of stock.
31TUL300 (Bag of 300) - Out of stock.
Common Name Emperor Tulip Red
Botanical Name Tulipa fosteriana Red
Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Ships As Bulb, Rhizome, Tuber
Light Requirements Full Sun, Half Sun / Half Shade
Flower Color Red
Mature Height 14-16" tall
Bulb Size 12 cm
Bulb Spacing 9 bulbs per sq. ft.
Planting Depth Plant 5" deep
Bloom Time Early spring
Plant Type / Life Cycle Perennial
Planting Time Fall
Soil Type Loamy Soil, Drought/Dry Soil
Soil Moisture Average, Well Draining
Advantages Easy to Grow, Cut Flowers, Containers
Poisonous or Toxic to Animals Yes - Bulbs, blooms, leaves, and stems all contain toxic compounds, which are most concentrated in the bulb.
Ships to Hawaii, Alaska & Canada No

Planting & Care

Daffodil Bulbs Comparison

What is a "Quality Bulb," and Why Does Bulb Quality Matter?

Flower bulbs come in a wide variety of sizes. It is important to get the largest, best quality bulbs you can find. Larger bulbs help to ensure success, producing larger and stronger plants with more flowers.

Several flower bulbs are part of the onion family, and because of this I like to use Onions as a representation of how important bulb size is. Which of the onions on your shelf go bad first? The smallest ones! Larger onions are more resilient, taking longer to dry out/rot and can withstand swings in temperature better. Flower bulbs are the same. Larger bulbs will withstand disease, draught, large amounts of moisture, and colder temperatures significantly better than the smaller ones.

Here at American Meadows we are committed to providing you with the highest quality bulbs. This means we do everything we can to source the largest bulbs possible. Below is a comparison of bulbs purchased from three different retail stores:

Each of the glass tubes contains 20 Dutch Master Daffodils. Starting from the left, the first tube is what is sold here at American Meadows, the middle tube was purchased at a local “Home Supply” box store, and the third is another online retailer. The difference is easily noticeable.

The next picture is the same comparison, but with Tulip Bulbs:

Again, our bulbs are quite a bit larger than other retailers.

Other things to be aware of when it comes to bulb quality is making sure they are firm and without signs of external damage or cracking. Do your best to avoid bulbs that are already growing and have shoots or freshly grown roots. This is difficult when purchasing online, but if you are ordering through a reputable company, they should be checking for these things regularly.

Next time you are looking to buy bulbs, think about how much time you put into planning and planting your garden and then anxiously waiting for your flowers to grow and bloom. Don’t be disappointed after all that effort by planting sub-par bulbs. Buy the largest, firmest, disease free bulbs you can afford, and you will have the best possible results.

Further Reading:


Shipping begins in September based on ground temperatures, coldest zones first.

As soon as your order is placed you will receive a confirmation email. You will receive a second email the day your order ships telling you how it has been sent. Fall bulbs are shipped at the proper planting time for your hardiness zone. Perennial orders may arrive separately from bulbs and seeds. If your order requires more than one shipment, there is no additional shipping charge. See our shipping information page for approximate ship dates and more detailed information. If you need express shipping or have any questions, please call Customer Service toll-free at (877) 309-7333 or contact us by email.

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Reviewsby PowerReviews


by PowerReviews
American MeadowsRed Emperor Tulip

(based on 3 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars



  • 4 Stars



  • 3 Stars



  • 2 Stars



  • 1 Stars




of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Reviewed by 3 customers

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


First in my garden this year. Beautiful and long lasting.


from Shelburne, Vermont

About Me Getting Started

Verified Reviewer


  • Accurate Instructions
  • Attractive
  • Hardy
  • Healthy


    Best Uses

    • Garden
    • Outdoors
    • Spring

    Comments about American Meadows Red Emperor Tulip:

    These tulips were first in our garden and lasted a very long time. They looked gorgeous and healthy, and created a dramatic effect as our garden came to life after the long winter. I'm new to gardening, and these were really easy to plant with the instructions provided.

    • Primary use:
    • Personal



    from Chesapeake Beach, MD

    About Me Avid Gardener


    • Accurate Instructions
    • Attractive
    • Easy To Grow
    • They Are Beautiful


      Best Uses

      • Garden
      • Outdoors

      Comments about American Meadows Red Emperor Tulip:

      I ordered red emperor and white emperor tulips from American Meadows. They were shipped in a timely manner, and I planted them in November as instructed, which was 5" deep and in groups of 9 per square foot. I put about a teaspoon or two of bone meal in each hole. The result: In April, I have an awesome floristic display of emperor tulips!!!

      • Primary use:
      • Personal

      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)


      beautiful large red flowers, hand size


      from frederick, md



          Best Uses

          • accent
          • Color

          Comments about American Meadows Red Emperor Tulip:

          Put them on our slope, beautiful very large red blossoms, long lasting.

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          Q & A

          Plant With These:

          USDA Hardiness Planting Zones

          To determine if a plant is sufficiently cold hardy, the USDA created numbered zones indicating winter low temperatures; the lower the zone number the colder the winter.

          • If the coldest winter temperature expected in your area is -15°F (zone 5) then any plants rated zones 3-5 will survive the winter temperatures in your area.
          • If you live in very warm winter areas (zones 9-11) plants with zones 3-4 ratings are not recommended. The lack of freezing winter temperatures do not provide a time for winter dormancy (rest).

          Find Your Planting Zone:

          Enter your Zip Code to find your USDA Planting Zone

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