There are numerous tulip varieties and each one has unique characteristics. Although tulips are one of the most recognizable flowers, people rarely know which variety is which. The colors, shapes, and time the flower blooms determines what variety of tulip it is. We are going to guide you through the top 10 tulip varieties and their characteristics as well as which hardiness zone they thrive in.
Darwin Hybrid Tulips
These tulips will bloom year after year making them a great perennial tulip along with them being a lovely cut flower. Darwin hybrid tulips have incredibly strong stems which means they can be planted anywhere in the garden, so there is no need to worry about strong winds and rain. This tulip also has large flowers that come in a range of colors and will bloom between mid-April to mid-May.
Double (Peony) Tulips
Getting their name from the fact they are multi-petaled, double or peony tulips resemble peonies. These tulips are mostly bi-colored and look fabulous when planted in groups. However, due to their delicate nature they should be planted in areas that are protected by heavy wind and rain. These tulips bloom in late spring and will thrive in zones 3 to 8.
These tulips have a very distinctive petal that is fringed at the ends hence the name, fringed tulips. Fringed tulips are becoming increasingly popular and often have a contrasting color on the ends to make them really stand out from the crowd. This type of tulip will bloom mid to late spring.
This variety of tulip is known by 2 names, fosteriana and emperor which is due to how large they are. Fosteriana tulips are not as popular here in the United States as Europe however, we think they should be as they have a special ability for naturalizing. These tulips are early bloomers so you will see them flowering early to mid-spring.
Greigii tulips are a bowl-shaped variety that are mostly recognized for their short stems and purple marked foliage. This type of tulip is also well-known for the two-tone shades on its petals which will bloom early to mid-spring much like fosteriana tulips.
This variety of tulip is another early bloomer with short stems however its petals are very different to the others. Kaufmanniana tulips are extremely colorful with contrasting centers to make it stand out in any crowded garden. Furthermore, these tulips grow well when compact so look beautiful when grouped around garden edges.
Lily-flowered tulips are graceful and elegant, they make beautiful cut flowers as well as great additions to your garden. They are recognizable due to their delicate petals that fold inwards, creating a lily shape, hence their name. As these flowers have such delicate petals they need to be planted where they are protected from heavy wind and rain.
Parrot tulips have very distinctive cup-shaped petals with vivid colors. These exotic looking tulips also have ruffled petals that are delicate and should be treated as daintily as possible. You might have to wait a little longer to see these bloom as they tend to grow mid to late-spring.
Also known as botanic tulips or Wild tulips, species tulips are great for naturalizing and are recommended in large quantities to fill up garden borders. They are the closest relative to the original tulip but have since been propagated to a large size. This variety will bloom early to mid-spring so is the perfect early bloomer for your borders.
The final variety on our list is the triumph tulip. Triumph tulips are the largest tulip available to purchase and look great in both borders and pots. The variety will bloom mid-spring so you would think they need some warmest to thrive but they are actually very cold-hardy which makes them extremely popular.