Double Early Tulips
Earlier flowering cousins of Double Late Tulips, Double Early Tulips appear from early to mid April. They also have shorter stronger stems (12" 30cm) than their cousins, which are more able to support these huge double peony flowers, especially in wind. They don't like the cold though, and are only suitable or US zones 3 to 7.
Like Late Doubles, their flowers are long-lasting, large (4"/10cm when open) and double, meaning they have more than the six petals. Some are fragrant. All force well, and they flower at more or less the same time as Single Early Tulips, Greigii Tulips, Fosteriana Tulips, Kaufmanniana Tulips, and some Species Tulips (Botanical Tulips).
Double Late Tulips are all are related to Tulip Murillo, a pink double tulip registered in 1860.
Longer Tulip Displays
If you want earlier tulips too, you can "force" Double Early Tulips to flower at Christmas, or Mother's Day, for example.
If your bulbs are not pre-chilled, pot them up in soil mixed with vermiculite, rather than compost. Place bulbs close together with their tops just visible above the soil. Water them, then chill them (40-45°F/4-7°C) for about 15 weeks, keeping them moist.
When the tulips have produced roots, water them, and move them into a cool light room. When you see the first shoots, move them somewhere warmer, eventually placing them next a sunny window.
Double Early Tulips come in a slightly more limited range of colors than other tulip groups, the most common colors being red, white, pink, purple and yellow.
Tulipa Cardinal Mindszenty
White double flowers and a soft scent and faint green feathered markings.
Height is about 10" (30cm).
Probably the best white Double Early Tulip, Tulip Schoonoord has pure white buds with green stripes, which fade as they open out into massive scented (4") flowers, which have yellow centers. Foliage is light green.
Height is 12" (30cm)
Red Double Early Tulips
Red double early tulips include Tulip Abba, Tulip Abba Speciaal, Tulip 'Agesthis', Tulip 'Arie Alkemade's Memo', Tulip 'Arie Alkemade's Memory', Tulip 'Carlton', Tulip 'Carlton's Unicum', Tulip 'Dante', Tulip 'Eternal Flame', Tulip 'Goya', Tulip 'Eternal Flame', Tulip 'Flash Point', Tulip 'Rock and Roll', Tulip 'Romein's Beauty', Tulip 'Rock and Roll', Tulip 'Stockholm' and Tulip 'Viking'.
A fragrant Double Early Tulips with stunning crimson flowers. Petals have feathered white edges.
Tulip Orange Nassau
Gorgeous blood-red double tulip. Petals have orange rims which bleed into the petals over time.
Height is 8" to 10" (30cm).
Popular pure crimson double tulip.
Tulip Mr Van der Hoef
Stout fragrant canary yellow double tulip. It looks great with daffodils, in pots or drifts.
Looks good with daffodils and yellow Erythroniums, such as Erythronium 'Pagoda' or 'Sulphur'.
Popular bright yellow double tulip with central red streaks on each petal that spread as the flower ages. When open, flowers are huge - 6" across (15cm) and for a Late Double, quite tall too - 16" (40cm).
A nice double late tulip, which starts out bright pink and fades to a softer version. It has touches of white too.
Height is 18" to 24" (45 to 60cm).
Tulip 'Peach Blossom'
A lovely romantic early season Tulip with large overflowing pink and white flowers, which look like low-growing cabbage roses. They're very popular both as garden plants and cut flowers, and they force well.
Tulip 'Peach Blossom' may flower as early as March, making one of the earliest flowering double tulips.
Height is 12" (30cm).
One of the taller Double Early Tulips (16"/40cm), Tulip Dior has very full rose pink flowers with deep pink bases and yellow centers.