Specie Tulips Are Picture-Perfect in Miniature Gardens
Discover the Class of Tiny Tulips
The Original Tulips
You might think you know tulips.
After planting lily-flowered, Darwin Hybrids, Early and Late types, Double and even Rembrandts, you may feel as though you have a good understanding of the world of tulips. But the specie types, those which are closest to the way most tulips look and grow in the wild, may be a new look for your spring garden.
We could call them "the original tulips".
They can be naturalized, which means planted in a manner that mimics nature and maintains itself and multiplies. They are low growing and many types can grow in grassy areas. Like all those which grow from bulbs, the foliage must be allowed to grow until it withers on its own.
SPECIE TULIPS -DIVISION 15
The many specie tulips are thrown together in the 15th group of tulip divisions. They may or may not be in commercial cultivation, and have a much smaller flower and size as a general rule. While they may have cultivars available, most do not.
Wildflowers of the tulip family.
Species Tulips Are Division 15
Tulips are divided up into fifteen groups (called Divisions) in horticulture. The species tulips are listed under the 15th Division.
Wild and Free Appearance
Tulip Divison 15
Wild or Botanical Tulips
Kauffmaniana tulips, pictured on this page, are among my favorites.
Botanical tulips or specie types are tulips as they appear in the wild, including both wild varieties and selections developed from them. Native to a very wide range as different as Southern Europe, Israel, North Africa, Anatolia, and Iran to the Northwest of China. 
The species group of tulips are suitable for naturalizing, which is a practice of leaving plants to themselves to multiply into a stand that looks as though it grows wild in nature.
Most of the botanical tulips are quite hardy, as far north as Zone 3 for many of them. These types of tulips are usually diminutive in size, and should be planted with other miniature growing companions in situations like a rock garden.
They can also be shown to their benefit in containers or raised beds.
Or More Cultivated Look
Compare Hybrid vs, Species
- As is true of all hybrids, they are specially pollinated so that they will not come true from seed. Since almost all of the tulips we plant in garden are purchased as bulbs this is not a problem.
- Hybrids are usually taller than species types
- Hybrids have many colors and combinations not found in the species
- Species are smaller in flower and foliage, as a general rule
Include in Your Fairy Garden
Picture some tiny Tulipa humilia in a fairy garden. The pink color, low height, and miniature foliage would scale beautifully with other small plants and decorative items.
Botanical Parts of Wild Tulips
Ways To Use These Dainty Flowers
- Consider creating a rock garden to showcase a number of little beauties of the specie tulip varieties
- Have an herb garden with low growing thymes? Plant some tulips underneath to brighten the spring landscape
- Edge a walkway with a selection of botanical tulips that grow similar heights and have coinciding bloom times.
- A dooryard garden with botanical tulips in spring followed by miniature forms of hosta for the rest of the growing season.
- These delicate and graceful tulips would make perfect container plants for an early show with violas and small leaved ivies.
Butter and Egg Color
Tulipa 'Tarda' is a little tulip with a bright butter and eggs personality. Its April blooms on short plants bring a spot of yellow and white into the spring garden. They remain closed on cloudy days, but respond to warmth and sun with a flat wide open bloom. Hardy, and multiplies well.
Tulipa tarda has been cultivated in Holland since 1590.
Tulipa batalinii ( Batalinii Tulip ) is frequently found under T. linifolia. This specie tulip has single, soft yellow flowers on 6-10" stems in April.
Little 4 inch tall tulip in a big color, "Little Beauty". Brings the beautiful color that tulips are known for to containers, outdoor fairy gardens, rock gardens, and anywhere that you can view them up close.
Tulipa 'Violacea' is called a "crocus-tulip" which clues you in to its stature and appearance. Like many of the species tulips, it blooms early in the season. Its native origins in Kurdistan indicate that it is hardy. This little tulip has a bright violet red color.
Tulipa hageri 'Little Beauty' For The South
Tulipa hageri 'Little Beauty' is a pretty little tulip, a cherry red color with blue centers, it blooms in May in most gardens. Hardy and liking a sunny spot with a fairly dry summer dormancy, it will multiply when happy. Can be naturalized and used in rock gardens.
Tulipa hageri 'Little Beauty' is a good choice for southern states.
Tulipa Violacea Pallida is also known as "Tulipa humilus 'Alba Coerulea Oculata'". It is a lowgrowing white tulip with a bluish eye.
This tulip needs sun, is hardy, and blooms at the beginning of the tulip season in March.
Lilac Wonder tulip, Tulipa bakeri, is a very pretty pink and would be a nice addition to a fairy garden. It is also known as subspeicies of T. saxatilis.
It is one of the most popular of the the botanical tulips group, for good reason. The wide and substantial flower makes a good impression considering the small size of the plant.
Specie tulips are useful for heritage gardens, and many are known from the 1600s.
As Cut Flowers
Specie Tulips are charming in the garden, but for vases, it is the Darwin Hybrids that hold court with their very large blooms and tall stems.
Still, if you are making a small bouquet like a tussy-mussy the little wild tulips would be charming. Large flowered, short-stemmed blooms like the Greigii could be floated in a bowl, or secured into a base of Oasis.
Peppermint Stick Tulip
Peppermint Stick Tulip, And More
Tulipa clusiana is also called "The Peppermint Stick Tulip" and "The Lady Tulip". It is a very old variety originally from Iran and Afghanistan. At least that is what was originally thought. It seems now to be placed as coming from Spain. Wherever its origination, it is a beautiful little thing with lots of history.
Tulipa clusiana 'Lady Jane' is a selected variety, These species bloom midseason and are very slender and delicate looking, but sturdier than they appear.
Tulipa clusiana var. chrysantha 'Tubergen's Gem' is a deep golden color brushed with bronze.
Although I grew these species in a former residence, they seem to be very difficult to find nowadays. The Dutch growers are no longer producing many of these old lesser known types of tulips.
T. Praestans Unicum
Tulipa Praestans Unicum is a striking tulip which gardeners will love. It has the added attraction of cream variegated foliage.
Tulipa sylvestris is also known as the Florentine tulip and is native to the Mediterranean. Sometimes called the "woodland tulip", it spread by stolons and some consider it invasive.
Tulipa saxatilis species tulip is a rose-lilac color with a yellow center. This tulip dates back to 1825, which makes it ideal for heritage heirloom plantings. It is good for the south and naturalizes well.
Leaving plants to themselves to multiply into a stand that looks as though it grows wild in nature. These bulbs would look lovely if they liked their situation enough to naturalize.
The Best Guide To Specie Tulips - How to Grow and Select For Your Garden
Great cultivation advice and guidance on how to select specie tulips for your garden. If you are thinking about adding these little jewels to your spring garden plans, be sure to purchase this book to get the most from your choices.