Member preview

Tulip Mania

My 5 Favorite Tulips

Tulip ‘Angelique’ resembles a peony and is stunning as a cut flower and in the garden.

Tulips Picks and Tips:

Visitors to my springtime garden often remark on the gorgeous and unusual tulips I grow. I cannot take credit for them, as I did not breed them, but I do look out for the most stunning varieties and combinations. Here are a few that I consider must-haves for my garden.

1. Angelique — Gorgeous peony-like blooms that are white with a touch of blush at the edges.

2. Princess Irene (aka Prinses Irene) — The unusual color combination of melon and plum mark this striking tulip and make it a favorite for cut flower bouquets.

3. Black Parrot — A dark maroon so rich and velvety you will swear it is black. This tulip also has wonderfully frilly edges and looks dramatic paired with most other bulbs.

4. Bleu Amiable — A soft, silvery lilac on a single, tall stem, Just one of these in a bud vase on my bedside table is all I need.

5. Spring Green — The palest yellow tinged with green highlights make this tulip a fresh addition to any yard and ideal to combine with brighter yellow and whites.

If you get too busy to plant tulips in the fall (or live in the deep South), don’t despair, you can purchase them in pots already forced into bloom at local garden centers and florist shops. This spring, take note of what kinds you like best and mark your calendars to order them in May and plant them in November.

Top Tulips Growing Tips:

Tulips and other spring-blooming bulbs are the ultimate “set it and forget it” plants. Just dig a hole in fall and plop the bulbs in, cover, and forget about them until they bloom in the spring. Tulips like a sunny spot in well-draining soil. They do not like sitting in wet spots or full shade.

Most public gardens and many veteran gardeners treat tulips as annuals and just pull and compost them after they bloom. They will return for you for a few years, but eventually will peter out. So just budget and plan to replace them every couple of years and experiment with new varieties while you are at it.

By the way, there is no need to cut the foliage back or tie it up. Just let it die back naturally. If the sight of dying foliage bothers you, just plant new spring annuals and perennials around them to fill in and disguise the decaying leaves.

Deer and squirrels can pester your tulips so apply an organic deterrent like blood meal, hot pepper spray, or deer repellent, if that is an issue for you.

Top Tulip Sources:

~ Your local independent garden center or nursery.

~ Brent and Becky’s Bulbs >

~ Harvesting History >

~ ColorBlends >

~ Old House Gardens >


Kathy Jentz is editor of Washington Gardener magazine and is a long-time gardening enthusiast. She can be reached at and welcomes your gardening questions on Twitter @WDCgardener.

Like what you read? Give Kathy Jentz a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.