If you’re asking this question, you’re probably trying to find out whether you can expect your tulips to keep flowering year after year. The answer to the ‘Are tulips perennial’ question is ‘Yes and no’. Confused? Let’s explain. The botanical definition of ‘perennial’ is: a plant that lives more than two years. In this sense, tulips are perennial. But will they keep on producing those stunning flowers in the seasons after their initial blooming? Probably not. Here’s why:

Your tulips received special care
Dutch growers have perfected the art of preparing tulip bulbs for one, truly spectacular blooming season. There’s a lot more to that than most people would ever imagine. Apart from growing them in the sandy soils they love, we give them a scientifically formulated and perfectly timed feeding program. Their first blooms are removed before they can fade and withdraw energy from the bulb. Thereafter, we let them grow for 6 weeks, relying on our cool weather to give them the ideal conditions. Now we lift our bulbs and keep them in controlled conditions designed to emulate the hot, dry summers they prefer.

You got only the top grade
At grading time, we select only bulbs with a circumference of 12cm for release onto the market. That’s the top grade and we know that the bulbs will give you only the best blooms. 12cm is as big as a tulip bulb can get. After that, it begins to propagate itself by splitting up into two or more smaller bulbs. So why don’t you get even more gorgeous tulips next year? Well, those smaller bulbs are either too small to flower yet, or can just manage a flower that isn’t anything like as stunning as the blooms you had last year. Meanwhile, as your tulips aren’t getting the perfect balance of conditions, many of the bulblets rot away. The rest could take years to reach flowering size – if they survive at all.

We’re not promising anything but…
Some Tulips offer you a better chance of getting a second or even a third blooming. If you’re hoping to get repeat flowering out of your Tulip bulbs, choose the Darwin Tulips Mix or one of the Darwin hybrids such as Apeldoorn (red), Daydream (peach and orange), Banja Luca (red and gold) or Floradale (ivory). The less striking species types are also more likely to keep on flowering, but unfortunately the blooms aren’t nearly as exciting.

The bottom line
We really can’t promise you repeated flowering from your Tulip bulbs. It is possible that you’ll get it right if you choose the right varieties and treat them well, but we’d rather say that you shouldn’t expect success. That way, you won’t be disappointed if you try and fail and you’ll be thrilled if you actually succeed. A word of caution: be careful of anyone who makes the false promise that Tulips keep on flowering year after year. It’s simply not something one can promise truthfully! For the most reliable and spectacular Tulips, you should get fresh, Dutch-grown bulbs every year.