Tulips are among the most popular of spring bulbs, loved for their brilliant colours and shapes. They look fabulous in borders, especially when combined with other spring-flowering plants such as wallflowers, primulas, flowering fruit trees and spring shrubs. They do well in a sunny spot, in well-drained soil – if you don’t have this, find out how to grow tulips in problem places.
Find out all you need to know about growing tulips in our tulip Grow Guide.
Tulips also grow extremely well in pots – find out how to layer spring bulbs in a pot.
Plant bulbs in autumn for a show of spring flowers. Most tulips do not come back reliably year after year, so if you want a reliable display, treat them as annuals – dig up the bulbs once they have finished flowering in spring, and store until the following autumn. Watch our video guide to lifting and storing tulip bulbs. Alternatively, replant fresh bulbs every autumn, ringing the changes with new colour combinations or tried-and-tested favourites.
Here are 10 of the loveliest tulips to grow.
Tulipa ‘Mondial’ is a white-flowered double tulip, which blooms early in the season. The fragrant flowers resemble paeonies. They are best planted en masse, where their white blooms can complement more colourful blooms.
Tulipa ‘Bestseller’ is a lovely tulip, bearing orange flowers with hints of red and yellow. Growing to a height of 35cm, ‘Bestseller’ is perfect for growing in a mixed herbaceous border, especially among plants with contrasting flower colours.
Tulipa ‘Typhoon’ is a cup-shaped tulip with petals that taper to a fine point at the tips. Growing to a height of 50cm, ‘Typhoon’ is perfect for growing as part of a spring container display, or in drifts at the front of a mixed herbaceous border.
Flowers of Tulipa ‘Cairo’ are a wonderful burnt orange, with a delicate fragrance. Grow them in a mixed herbaceous border with other orange-flowering plants, or use them to contrast with reds and purples.
Tulip ‘Van Eijk’
Tulipa ‘Van Eijk’ is a Darwin hybrid tulip. These are all single-flowered and brightly coloured varieties, with long-lasting flowers on strong stems. ‘Van Eijk’ has vibrant, dark pink-red, weather-resistant blooms.
Tulipa ‘Monsella’ is a double-flowered tulip, bearing yellow flowers with red ‘flames’. Grow it in a mixed, herbaceous border among other tulips and different coloured flowers, or as part of a spring container display. ‘Monsella’ makes an excellent cut flower.
Tulipa ‘Bastogne’ is a wonderful tulip, bearing bright flowers on strong stems. Grow it in a mixed herbaceous border among white, yellow and purple flowers, or on its own in a large pot. ‘Bastogne’ makes a fantastic cut flower.
Tulipa ‘Angelique’ is a very pretty tulip that bears fully double, peony-like flowers. It makes a lovely cut flower. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM). Shelter from wind and rain.
Tulip ‘Jan Reus’
Tulipa ‘Jan Reus’ is one of the earliest of the dark-flowered tulips to bloom. Flowers are compact and velvety, and work well in cut flower arrangements. Unlike many tulips, ‘Jan Reus’ is more likely to flower for several years after the initial planting.
Tulipa ‘Bessie’ bears dark purple, open cup-shaped flowers with a green-white centre. It makes a fantastic cut flower.