With so many big, beautiful hybrid tulips readily available, it may not even cross your mind to look into the smaller, shorter botanical, or species, tulips. But to the true connoisseur, these little jewels are far more precious. Here are a few to try while there’s still time to get them into the ground.
Botanical Tulips: Jewels of the Garden
With their dainty proportions and showy blooms, botanical tulips are sure to bring surprising beauty and interest to your spring garden.
Species Tulips: Little Wonders1/11
Tulipa clusiana ‘Cynthia’2/11
Reflecting the shades of a sunset, these beauties pair well with their spring friends, the daffodils. Planting Tip: If you’re planting a lot of bulbs, get yourself a bulb planter, a tapered, cylindrical shovel that digs a bulb-sized hole with just a quick turn of the wrist.
Related: 9 Daffodils to Cheer Up Your Garden
Another bright yellow flower to brighten the garden, this one’s eye is enhanced by white tips. T. tarda thrives in well-drained soil. Planting Tip: Remember to examine bulbs before tucking them in—don’t bother using ones that feel squishy or dried out.
Related: Don't Forget to Plant these Bulbs!
Tulipa bakeri ‘Lilac Wonder’4/11
If you add 'Lilac Wonder' to your garden, in the spring you'll be treated to six inches of elegant mauve. Planting Tip: Bulbs are nature’s perfect packages—everything they need to grow rests inside their compact, convenient forms. They just require a bright, sunny location and a little soil preparation.
Tulipa hageri ‘Little Beauty’5/11
Boasting up to five bright pink blooms with contrasting purple centers, this bulb lives up to its name—Little Beauty. Planting Tip: Tulips should be planted six inches deep and six inches apart, with the tip pointing up.
Tulipa humilis ‘Alba Coerulea Oculata’6/11
Reaching about five inches in height, this "blue-eyed" tulip is noted for its flower's pretty, lavender-blue center that gives way to creamy white. Planting Tip: Closely related to wild tulips, botanical tulips are more readily perennial than their bigger siblings.
Tulipa humilis ‘Eastern Star’7/11
A canary-yellow center makes these magenta stunners hard to miss, despite their diminutive size. Planting Tip: If you live where it’s hot, store your bulbs in the fridge for a few weeks before planting, as they need to chill for a spell to really thrive come spring.
Tulipa clusiana ‘Peppermint Stick’8/11
As refreshing as a candy cane, this bulb flowers in early spring with red and white petals as striped as its namesake. Planting Tip: The dainty proportions of botanical tulips make them ideally suited for borders, rock gardens, and containers.
Along with its buttery yellow hue, T. urumiensis adds star-shaped flowers and dark green foliage to your early spring display. Planting Tip: The best blooms start with loose soil, so be sure to break up the soil and mix in compost when planting your bulbs.
Related: It's Bulb Planting Time!
Native to the Caucasus region, these unique tulips burst forth with spiny, flaming petals at the end of April. Planting Tip: You can plant through the last week of November, although some gardeners keep going until the ground is completely frozen.
With a pinch of effort and almost no upkeep, you can have the lush, beautiful garden of your dreams. The secret is to choose plant varieties that enjoy a little hardship. We’ve compiled the essential list of hardy flora, with tips for care and maintenance. Go now!