Purple tulips are a boon to garden designers because they marry so well with other flower colours.
They make a dramatic foil for brighter blooms, such as zingy euphorbias, white camassias or lady’s mantle. Alternatively, a single variety can look stunning planted in swathes, weaving in and out of feathery grasses.
When planting your tulip bulbs, it’s a good idea to wait until November or even December, when the weather is colder. This will greatly reduce the risk of the bulbs becoming infected with fungal disease, tulip fire.
Feast your eyes on seven gorgeous purple tulip varieties, below.
Tulipa ‘Queen of Night’
While they might look similar, ‘Queen of Night’ (on the right) is combined here with the equally rich colours of ‘Black Hero’. ‘Queen of Night’ is a well-known single-flowered variety while ‘Black Hero’ has double flowers, almost peony-like in appearance.
Double, purple tulip ‘Black Hero’ (left) and single purple tulip ‘Queen of Night’ (right)
Tulipa ‘Arabian Mystery’
‘Arabian Mystery’ has gorgeous single flowers with plummy purple petals edged with white. It looks beautiful combined with forget-me-nots and hardy geraniums like Geranium phaeum.
White-edged, purple petals of tulip ‘Arabian Mystery’
Tulipa ‘Black Parrot’
‘Black Parrot’ is a rich, purple-red fringed tulip. The petals have a frilly appearance, which is great for introducing texture to plantings. Try combining it with white-flowered tulips like ‘Tres Chic’ and ‘Spring Green’.
Frilly-edged, red-maroon petals of tulip ‘Black Parrot’
Tulipa ‘Rems Favourite’
This cheery variety has bi-coloured flowers that are a mixture of white with darker streaks of purple. ‘Rems Favourite’ combines well with Persian fritillaries and full purple tulips.
Purple-streaked, white tulips ‘Rems Favourite’
Tulipa ‘Uncle Tom’
‘Uncle Tom’ is a stunning, peony-flowered tulip with cardinal purple flowers that have an almost globose appearance. Perfect for cut flowers and looks lovely growing alongside orange tulips like ‘Orange Princess’.
Purple-red blooms of tulip ‘Uncle Tom’
Tulipa ‘Cafe Noir’
One of the darkest tulips you can grow, the single flowers of ‘Cafe Noir’ are chocolate-purple. Make the most if its dark colouration by contrasting it with white tulips and daffodils.
Chocolate-purple blooms of tulip ‘Cafe Noir’
Tulipa ‘Magic Lavender’
With its vibrant, pinkish purple blooms, ‘Magic Lavender’ makes a stunning addition to spring beds, borders and containers. It looks beautiful planted en masse in large swathes or in lawns, providing contrast with fresh spring greens.
A bed of vivd pink-purple ‘Magic Lavender’ tulips
The flowering potential of most tulip varieties declines with age – often they won’t return at all the year after flowering. Get around this by replanting fresh bulbs each year or growing species tulips. If you’d rather wait and see if they flower again, leave them in and don’t cut off the old foliage until it’s dry and withered, or try lifting and storing the bulbs.