Tulips and Their Garden Use

4/25/2010

One true sign that we are well into spring is the colorful display of Tulips, which represent the largest and most significant group of bulbs. Flowering from mid-April to mid-May, almost every color and bi-color forms are represented. What is confusing to many people is the classification of Tulips and how it relates to their longevity. For example, many of the hybrid forms that have resulted in controlled crosses such as
Single Early, Triumph, Single Late, and Darwin Hybrid types
need to be cultivated as annuals. They bloom for one season then the entire bulb is removed and you reorder new Tulips each fall for a new spring display. The above mentioned types are best used in bedding displays where they are planted in large masses in highly visible areas.
There are other native-origin forms of Tulips known as botanic types. They fall under the categories of Kaufmanniana, Fosteriana, Greigii, and Bakeri. These bulbs are used for their uniqueness and are less showy than the hybrid forms, but naturalize and provide years of enjoyment as perennials. The botanic types are best used in existing perennial gardens flowering in small drifts that disappear as the perennial garden unfolds later in the spring. When using Tulips it's important to understand the various classifications and how they can best be utilized in the landscape.

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