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Red Emperor Tulip

SKU: AM015627
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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)
key features
Botanical Name
Tulipa fosteriana
Growing Zones
Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8
Bee Friendly, Easy To Grow, Cut Flowers, Container Planting, Good For Forcing
Light Requirements
Full Sun, Half Sun / Half Shade
Mature Height
14-16" tall
Bloom Time
Early spring


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!