Top 10 perennial tulips

Following the excellent article by Val Bourne in The Telegraph entitled Top tulip tips from Great Dixter, we've recreated their Top 10 Perennial Tulips list for a garden full of tulips to enjoy year after year.

What is a perennial tulip?


Within this group we have all of our tulips that will likely return for 1-2 years after the initial bloom.  We can’t promise that it will be more, but it can be much longer.

 

Perennial tulips are a tricky subject. There are tulips that will definately flower for a number of years, but we are often reluctant to call them perennial. All plants are affected by growing conditions and leaving the tulip bulbs in the ground is not a guarantee of success.  

To understand it fully you need to see what happens to the bulb once the flower has finished. Tulips especially. The bulb splits into many little bulblets. A tulip bulb will need to be at least 9 cm in circumference to produce a flower the next year. These little bulblets can often be far below the size they need to be to gain enough energy, and consequently only produce a few leaves. 

Intricate tulips such as double tulips and multi-headed tulips need big bulbs to put on a good performance. You will be unlikely to see these reappear. 

This is also why species tulips are much more successful at reappearing each year. They dont require such a large source of food to produce new flowers.

We recommend you top up your perennial collection every 2-3 years.

 

The best perennial tulips 


The following are the most reliable tulips to put on a repeat performance. 

Species tulip
Darwin Hybrid
Fosterinana
Viridiflora


How to improve your chances for perennial flowers


To maximise the chance of reflowering remember to 

Remove seed heads
Clear dead petals
Let the leaves turn brown
Feed occasionally after flowering
Plant a little deeper (15 cm)
Use high quality soil
 

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