Seven species tulips to grow

Discover seven tough species tulips to grow, for a shot of spring colour.

If you find tulips difficult to grow, you may find species tulips easier. These are quite unlike their large-flowered cousins, which dazzle in their first year, then all but disappear 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.

Discover seven stunning species tulips to grow, below.


Tulipa platystigma

The rose-pink flowers of T. platystigma bear traces of orange running through the petals, becoming clearer towards the margins. Height 60cm.

Tulipa linifolia

This species thrives where summers are hot and winters are cold. It's ideal for rock gardens or container displays. Flowers in late-April. Height 20cm.

Tulipa humilis

Tulipa humilis is a sweet-scented and early-flowering species tulip to grow. Flowers from March to April. Height 10cm.

Tulipa armena var. lycica

Grow T. armena var. lycica in a sunny spot, as this species likes a hot, dry dormancy period in summer. Flowers in April. Height 25cm.

Tulipa tarda

T. tarda looks great in rock gardens and containers. Flowers in April. Height 15cm.

Tulipa acuminata

This is one of the oldest species tulips in cultivation. Combine it with with foliage plants to show off its spidery blooms. Flowers in May. Height 40cm.

Tulipa altaica

With bright yellow blooms, T. altaica is perfect grown on its own in pots. Flowers in April. Height 15cm.

Most species tulips hail from the mountainous regions of northern Turkey, so they can cope with extreme weather.


Kate Bradbury

Kate Bradbury says

As with cultivated tulips, give plants a good feed after flowering and mulch with organic matter. Allow the leaves to fully wither before removing. This will give them the best chance of flowering the following year.

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