Darwin Hybrid Tulips - the Perennial Tulip
Darwin Hybrid Tulip
Darwin Hybrids are tall. Up to 28 inches (70cm) high, and they have giant billowing single flowers - 6 inches (15 cm) across - which explode from perfect pyramid-shaped buds, usually in pure colors. They flower late, in late April to May, around the same time as the rather more flamboyant Parrot Tulips, as well as Triumph Tulips and Single Late Tulips.
They may also overlap with Lily-flowered Tulips, Double Late Tulips, Viridiflora (Green Tulips) and some Fringed Tulips.
Buying Tulip Bulbs has more information on flowering times.
They're versatile too. In borders and vases, their pure brilliant colors will steal the show, and in lawns and meadows, they'll come back year after year, even withstanding strong winds. In fact, they naturalize so well, they are also known as the Perennial Tulip. That's because they're bred from the old Darwin Tulips and Fosteriana Tulips, which also naturalize very well.
Here are some of the best.
Tulipa Hakuun (White Cloud)
A new variety, Tulip Hakuun is now the whitest of all Darwin Hybrid Tulips. Large snow white blooms are borne on 22 inch stems, which will stand up to most winds. A stunning border tulip and cut flower.
Tulip Hakuun (White Cloud) was bred in Japan.
The classic red Darwin Hybrid Tulip, Tulip Apeldoorn is well known around the world. Vibrant cherry petals open to reveal a black heart edged with yellow. Tulip Apeldoorn grows to 20 inches.
Tulip 'Golden Apeldoorn'
A show stopper, Tulip 'Golden Apeldoorn' has gigantic canary yellow flowers on tall 24" stems (60cm). A contrasting black centre makes them great for cut flowers, which will last well.
Tulip 'Ivory Floridale'
Tulip 'Ivory Floridale' has ivory buds which open into big lemon-cream flowers. Height is 60cm (24").
Tulip Daydream brings drama to a garden as its golden buds open into massive soft orange flowers with infinite shades of apricot in between. Very fragrant and a good natural multiplier or perennial tulip, its beauty and reliability have been recognized by the Royal Horticultural Society, which has awarded it the Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Plant in drifts for maximum multicolored effect.
A giant of a tulip, Tulip Parade has huge red flowers on strong 26 inch stems. Reliable and robust, it has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
Tulip Ollioules has huge blousy rose-pink flowers edged with silver, borne on 22 inch stems. In fact these flowers are among the largest of all tulips, but they open from tightly packed goblet-shaped buds.
Tulip 'Apricot Impression'
This is a large impressionistic tulip with soft pink and apricot streaks on strong stems at a height of 22" (55cm).
To avoid the municipal park carpet-bedding look, where all tulips are the same height, mix these tall varieties with shorter ones that flower at the same time, for example, some Single Late Varieties and Triumph Tulips. Planting them in small groups, will also give a more naturalistic effect.
For best results:
- plant bulbs deep (8") in well-drained soil.
- After planting, keep the bulbs well watered, but not soggy. You don't want the bulb to rot.
- After flowering, allow the leaves to die back naturally, and feed next year's bulb. This usually takes about six weeks.
- Dead head the seed heads, so all the energy can go into making new bulbs.
- Feed in the autumn (fall) with a low nitrogen fertilizer or in the spring, when new shoots appear, with a high-nitrogen feed.
- You'll have most success if you live in a climate with warm or hot summers and cold frosty winters. If your winters are mild, you may have more success with Species Tulips, many of which do not need a frost to trigger flowering.