Tulips are a type of flower that stands out with its unique appearance and is easily recognizable worldwide. They belong to the Liliaceae family and consist of about 75 wild species that are bulbous flowering perennials. In the past, tulips required cold temperatures to bloom, but now they can be grown year-round thanks to modern farming techniques. However, our focus is not on the history of tulips but on their fascinating variety.
While the classic tulip with its slender bulb and vibrant color is well-known, there are many other lesser-known species with stunning blooms that vary in shape and color. These species are often unassociated with the typical Dutch tulip. To expand your knowledge of this remarkable flower, we’ve compiled a list of the most significant tulip types for you to explore.
Starting with standard tulips…
Our initial pick is likely recognizable to most people. While there are several species to choose from, the typical variation appears just as you would envision. These are the kinds that are commonly available in the tulip section of your local grocer or florist, as well as scattered throughout local gardens during the Spring months. Although there are various subcategories for standard tulips, we’ll leave those detailed terms for the more experienced gardeners.
Tulips are perfect for a variety of reasons as a classic cut flower. Firstly, their familiarity has resulted in associations with happiness, Springtime, and positive emotions that have been passed down through generations. This makes them a fantastic gift! Additionally, most standard tulips have a consistent, pure color, which makes them an excellent addition to any floral arrangement. The occasional exception to this single-color rule is often stunning; bi-colored tulips come in lovely, complementary combinations. Moreover, standard tulips are relatively inexpensive despite being such a gorgeous flower.
Upon laying your eyes on the double bloom flower, its name immediately makes sense. Unlike regular tulips with just one layer of petals, this type boasts multiple layers of petals which is why it is also known as peony bloom. However, for simplicity’s sake, we’ll refer to it as double bloom. These flowers are a unique addition to any bouquet, giving it a full and luxurious appearance. They also blend well with other flowers, creating a complex and striking arrangement. It’s worth noting that some varieties of double bloom tulips are only available seasonally, so if you have a specific occasion in mind, plan accordingly or consider exploring other flower options. Another noteworthy tulip variety is the parrot tulip.
Parrot Tulips are an exceptional type of tulip that stands out from the rest of its family. The name “parrot” is derived from their resemblance to tropical parrots, featuring ruffled petals with multiple colors. One of the most distinct traits of parrot tulips is their rapid growth, resulting in larger blooms that pose a challenge for breeders. Despite their size, they require strong stems to avoid bending. Moreover, all parrot tulips have multi-colored petals that open into stunning, textured blooms, adding a unique and fascinating touch to any arrangement. Due to their unusual appearance, parrot tulips may not always be immediately recognizable as tulips, prompting friends to inquire about their identity. This effect is due to the untamable and quickly growing nature of the plant, which constantly shifts and resists strict categorization.
The term “fringed” perfectly describes the appearance of this particular type of tulip. While they have a similar shape to regular tulips, their petals have frayed edges which give them a soft, almost tattered look. This unique feature creates an interesting visual depth that makes these flowers stand out in any color they come in. If you want to showcase their fringed appearance, consider pairing them with simpler, more slender flowers in a bouquet. Alternatively, you can let them shine on their own as a statement flower.
Additionally, bi-color standard tulips are another type of tulip that can add visual interest to a bouquet. As the name suggests, these tulips have two distinct colors on their petals, which can create a stunning contrast between the two hues. When choosing bi-color tulips for your arrangement, consider the other flowers and colors you’ll be using to ensure they complement each other well. With their bold, vibrant appearance, these tulips are perfect for adding a fun pop of color to any bouquet.
The Bi-Color standard tulips offer more diversity than the solid colored traditional tulips. Despite being slightly pricier, they still maintain the classic tulip shape in their flowers. One stunning example of this is the Prinses Irene tulip cultivar, featuring orange blooms with stunning purple markings.
These stunning tulips are known for their tall stature and delicate, pale colors that are uniquely streaked with bold red or purple “flames”, earning them the name of Rembrandt tulips. Interestingly, the original Rembrandt bulbs resulted from a virus that damaged the flowers, but now a non-viral variety is widely available. Although the original bulbs are no longer sold, the modern Rembrandts are just as striking as their predecessors. Another type of tulip worth mentioning is the Fosteriana tulip, which boasts large blooms in warm shades of yellow and orange.
The stunning tulips we see today actually originated from a wild tulip species discovered in the Central Asian mountains. What we now know as Emperor tulips boast vibrant hues and wide petals that make them a sight to behold, despite varying in height. These tulips are best showcased in large planting beds and will continue to bloom each year. They are also referred to as Kaufmanniana Tulips.
The Lily Flowering Tulips are a stunning variety that differs greatly from the typical tulip. Their short size makes them an excellent choice for rock gardens and containers. These flowers boast pointed petals that open fully in the sunshine, resulting in a flat appearance similar to waterlilies. This resemblance has earned them the nickname Waterlily Tulips. In addition to their unique appearance, these blooms are also notable for their impressive size, with some measuring up to 8 inches across.
In the season of late spring, one can witness the exquisite beauty of tulips flourishing in their full glory. Amongst these are the Viridiflora tulips that have long pointed petals and a unique arch at the tips. Similar to the Kaufmanniana tulips, these flowers have a lily-like appearance with six-pointed star shapes from above. The limited availability of varieties is compensated by the striking shape of the blooms. The Aladdin cultivar, represented in the image, showcases vibrant red petals with an interesting yellow edge contrast.
These tulips are special because they have a distinct green streak on each petal that contrasts beautifully with the main color of the flower, as seen in this pink example. Viridiflora tulips are also highly valued for their lengthy blooming period, making them a fantastic choice for gardeners who want to enjoy their beauty for as long as possible. This particular photo features the Groenland variety. Another noteworthy type of tulip is the Darwin Hybrid.
These tulips are a result of crossbreeding between two types of tulips – Fosteriana and Darwin. They are known for their impressive height, making them the tallest among all tulips. The blooms of these hybrids are also noteworthy, with a diameter that can reach up to 6 inches. Darwin Hybrids are popular for their vivid hues and are often considered the top choice for cut flowers.
Unlike some tulip varieties that lose their charm after a few years, Darwin Hybrids stay beautiful year after year, provided you do not remove their leaves post-bloom. An example of this is the Daydream cultivar, which boasts striking yellow petals with apricot-colored edges. These tulips belong to the category of Single Late Tulips.
As their name suggests, these charming tulips blossom later than other types of tulips and are popularly known as Cottage tulips or Mayflowering Tulips. They boast a classic cup shape and are available in an extensive range of colors, giving competition to the Darwin hybrids for the position of the tallest tulip. Among them are the stunning Single Late Tulips from the Esther variety, characterized by their pink petals with silver borders. Additionally, there are also Greigii Tulips to consider.
The tulips featured in this image from Wikimedia are known for their short stature but large blooms that come in bright colors like red and yellow. They are perfect for rock gardens or containers due to their size. Additionally, the leaves of these tulips often have stripes or spots, which adds to their unique appearance. Learning about the many different varieties of tulips has been a delightful surprise for us, as we now understand the vast range of appearances this innovative breed can take on.