Last updated on December 2nd, 2011
UTTERLY DELIGHTFUL IN A ROCK GARDEN, and easily forced for indoor bloom, are the too-little planted species tulips. Unlike their tall, familiar Dutch descendants, these ancient travelers from the Middle East are compact like the crocus, with small flowers in rich colors. ‘Dasystemon tarda,’ pictured above (click to enlarge), currently brightens my Music Room window. This one is distinguished by its sweet scent and white-edged, lemon-yellow flowers. Here are other tiny tulips you can tip-toe through, either indoors or out:
‘Little Beauty’, with ruby-red and cornflower-blue blossoms, lives up to its name. (photo: Easy To Grow Bulbs)
‘Lilac Wonder’ with lilac-pink petals and a bright yellow center, is choice (photo: Easy to Grow Bulbs)
Irresistible too is the violet and yellow ‘Eastern Star’ (photo: John Scheepers, Inc.)
Indoors, species tulips are extremely easy to force for winter bloom; plant 5 bulbs to a 4-inch pot, and then follow the directions outlined here.
For an early spring picture outdoors, mass the bulbs beneath shrubbery or in a rock garden. Use at least 50 bulbs per variety for best effect. You will find that species tulips have better perennial potential than their larger relatives. Plantings, of course, are made in autumn.
Species tulips are hardy in zones 4-8.
I’m putting both ‘Little Beauty’ and ‘Eastern Star’ on my autumn wish list. How about you?
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Hard to believe these beautiful little things became, through breeding, the famous tulips of today.
Kevin, Thanks for the heads up. I would never have known about these species tulips. I checked both links, and Scheepers seems to have the biggest selection. I'll order for next year's garden.
Kevin, I have Lilac Wonder in my little rock garden. They are STUNNING in April! And they pop up long before the big Dutch tulips.
I did tip toe through my garden today with a glass of wine toasting the birthday of Frederick Chopin!!!!!!!!!!
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Anne – I completely forgot about Chopin's birthday! Looks like a champagne toast is in order!