If you find tulips difficult to grow, you may find species tulips easier. These are quite unlike their large-flowered cousins, which can frustrate gardeners by dazzling in their first year, then all but disappearing the next.
Species tulips are as reliable as daffodils and, while they're smaller and seem more delicate, they've got the stamina for long-lived displays.
Most species tulips hail from the mountainous regions of northern Turkey, so they can cope with extreme weather. With minimum care, they'll flower year after year, and many will bulk up into clumps after a few years.
Like cultivars, species tulips prefer growing in free-draining soil in full sun. Plant them in drifts for swathes of colour, dot them around a rockery, or show off their blooms with decorative mulches in pots.
Our favourite varieties
Discuss this plant feature
24/11/2011 at 15:29
I have found that tulips give a great show in my garden in the first year and then they diminish in both size and quantity from them on. What am I doing wrong and which variety is best to grow in pots so that they don't all fall over.
08/12/2011 at 19:26
These photos and descriptions are confusing, as they don't marry up on my screen. The flamed flower at the top is T. platystigma, from then on move the description to above the photo of the flower, there's no picture of T. altaica... These species tulips are much more reliable when it comes to returning year on year. I grow linifolia, various humilis varieties and tarda and they give a lovely show each year, tarda especially bulks up well for me.
09/12/2011 at 12:25
@Helenlittleash - thanks for highlighting the image problem. A few images on our our features pages have got mixed up in the transfer over to the new site. This will be fixed as soon as possible!
09/12/2011 at 14:50
I have the same Trouble with Tulips just don't return the next year Daffs are loads better