We’ve compiled a list of our top tulip picks. Fall-planted bulbs are usually available for sale in early-to-late summer, for delivery to you in the fall. Note that often times, the most popular bulbs will sell out fast!
If you're just starting out with bulbs, we suggest picking tulips that are known for their reliability and then working from there, adding more every year as you learn where they are happy.
One challenge to bulb buying is that when the bulbs come up for sale, last year’s bulbs are gone; their blooms are no longer visible in the garden. Where was that spot that needed more tulips? Taking photos for reference helps, or placing a garden marker in the area, with what you’d like to plant, when the bulbs are blooming, makes ordering and planting quick and easy.
About Perennial Tulips
Are tulips perennial? Some varieties are perennial, coming back for several years, but some are not. For those that are called perennial, they only cooperate if their habitat is ideal – cold winters, winter-spring moisture, sunny location, dry summers, and good drainage are the keys to success. Many gardeners who want sure-fire flowers, will treat tulips as annuals, meaning that they'll replant their tulips each year with no expectations of seeing them reappear the following spring.
Try splitting the difference at first, by planting a selection known for being perennial, and then adding in additions in the coming years. There is such a huge selection, it’s hard not to plant more each fall.
Tulip varieties that are the most reliable perennial bloomers are: Darwin Hybrids, Emperor, and the lovely wildflower type tulips; Greigii and Kaufmanniana.
Tulips can be planted for many effects. Formally, they can edge a path, entry, or driveway with almost military precision. Informally is where their wild side emerges. Mixed in with Crocus, Daffodils, Allium, Hyacinth, Muscari and other bulbs, you can create an ever-changing spring parade of color. Plant a bed of bulbs then top it off with our ‘Tulip Topper Wildflower Seed Mix’ (plant either in fall or spring). As the bulbs are growing, the seeds will sprout and create a lush green carpet around the bulbs. As the bulbs fade, the seedlings will grow up to cover them as they age, and with the last flowering bulbs, the wildflowers will begin to bloom with non-stop flowers all season long.
To enjoy tulips all spring long, choose Emperor, Darwin, Triumph, Lily-Flowered, and Parrot Tulip bulbs in an array of colors that pleases you. Mix them together at planting time, and plant them as a border, or fill a planting bed for maximum effect. You will enjoy an ever-blooming palate of color all spring long.
Or, how about choosing various types of tulips (and other bulbs too) in the same color range? They will subtly harmonize for a beautiful effect.
Tulip Types Explained