It's time to vote on our 2017 photo contest! Vote for your favorite photos of the year here!

Rembrandt tulips? Any in your garden?

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Hi, Bulbsters!

I have been enjoying the pics of everyone's tulips posted on the Bulbs and Photo forums and then became especially interested in the 'broken' or heirloom style tulips, also known as Rembrandt type tulips--all part of the very interesting tulip bulb history.

(Which OHG did a very nice write-up on here: )

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to make a thread of photos of similar style tulips (bi-colors, multi-colors, etc.) and if we are lucky, perhaps some DGers will have actual heirloom bulbs to share pics of...

To get started, here is a link to the Hortus Bulborum in Holland with some lovely tulip pics and more history, for those who can't get enough.

To my happy surprise I found this lonely little unknown in my garden this morning. It must have sprouted from a pot of bulbs I threw away last year.

Any other pics or comments on heirloom tulips to post?

Great gardening today! t.

Thumbnail by tabasco
Winchester, KY(Zone 6a)

Fun thread idea! I suppose this multiflowering Gregii, Quebec, would classify as having broken coloring:

Thumbnail by gemini_sage
Burlington, VT

Not sure if this qualifies, but Prinses Irene is one of my favorites. The purple and orange are pretty sassy, but any color is welcome in spring, right? Combines nicely with other midseason purple tulips, such as Purple Prince.

Even though some of the blooms are more yellow than orange, they're all Irene. Sometimes they tend toward yellow. Not sure why.

This message was edited Apr 18, 2007 2:08 PM

Thumbnail by davidvt
Winchester, KY(Zone 6a)

Oh I'd say Princess Irene is a great example, and what is that flamed beauty behind her? That one fits the bill beautifully too!

My very favorite broken variety I've grown is 'Sorbet'. I have several budding, but they usually open in May here, but this year who knows, lol.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Your cluster of Gregii 'Quebec' is so handsome--and I see a daff blooming in the background as a nice complement! I suppose Quebec blooms early, right?

I love 'princes irene', too. A sport of "Coleur Cardinal", another of my favorites. Some might find the orange and plum combination gaudy but they are a real visual treat in our garden, especially planted with coral bells. I wish I had more.

Thumbnail by tabasco
Winchester, KY(Zone 6a)

Oooh, what a great idea- Princess Irene with Coral bells, I'm thinking a variety with plum colored leaves (like 'Plum Pudding') would be striking! That little daff with Quebec is 'Katie Heath' and is just starting to develop her pink coloring. The daffs were planted around the first of December, so they are blooming late (that is the first bloom from 10 bulbs planted there, so the timing is off this year- of course!). When the color comes out I'll get a pic of them together; it actually looks like they will make a nice pair! I plan to combine them with Muscari 'Valerie Finnis' this fall at the new place.

I've given way to gaudy; I think it has something to do with middle age, LOL. Hot pink, orange, and purple, here I come!

Winchester, KY(Zone 6a)

Here are some highly variable Darwin Hybrids:

Thumbnail by gemini_sage
Winchester, KY(Zone 6a)

'Sorbet' is blooming! Here are a few blooms in a vase, and you can see the surrounding landscape of my new home behind them :)

Thumbnail by gemini_sage
Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Beautiful! Gem! That Sorbet seems to be a big favorite and a beauty. No tulips in my yard these days (crop failure).

You are going to have a wonderful time transforming that landscape. Looks like plenty of sunshine!

(I still have your mags in a box in my car. I guess I will have to send them to your new address! Let me know!)

Happy spring.

Denver, CO

I hate to do this your nice thread, Tabasco, but I have to insert a Tulip-virus PSA.

David in VT, It seems to me the reason some of your 'Princess Irene' are unusually coloured is that they are virused. It makes for truly interesting flowers, but it does slowly ruin the plant. The best thing to do is to dig out the plants and throw them away, I'm afraid. That will preserve your remaining uninfected samples. The thing is, the virus will spread via pollen to more and more tulips after a time, and can even spread to lilies. A friend of mine's garden is suffering from a real outbreak of it in late tulips of many sorts (her 'Sorbet' is really interesting, flames of flames.) and even Orienpet lilies. I had two plants (bulbs given to me as gifts) that came up with virused flowers in my garden this year, but I destroyed them before they opened. The virus is fairly common, and a lot of dutch stock is infected when you buy it.

On a lighter note, allow me to dredge through my pictures this year of my broken-style tulips...

Denver, CO


Thumbnail by ineedacupoftea
Denver, CO

Las Flame

Thumbnail by ineedacupoftea
Denver, CO

I don't like 'El Cid.'

Thumbnail by ineedacupoftea
Denver, CO

El Nino is six inches wide.

Thumbnail by ineedacupoftea
Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Yes, it is interesting that the virus creates much of the color variation in the antique tulips. The more modern hybrids seem to me to be fairly virus-free (or at least I thought so).

Old House Gardens makes the case to plant the antique versions (theirs are from Hortus Bulborum) but they do add the disclaimer:

"Much as great wines and cheeses are shaped by micro-organisms, the exquisite patterning of broken tulips is caused by a benign virus that causes the colors to break or separate without harming the bulb. It’s spread by aphids and other sucking insects, so plant these tulips away from other tulips and especially lilies."

For anyone interested in another perspective on the tulip breaking virus history, here's an interesting link from the Wakefield North of England Tulip Society: Just click on the left column on 'Tulips'.

I think it's interesting that OHG compares the broken tulips to fine wines and cheeses!

Denver, CO

The virus can be spread to other tulips, including new ones. Bees will carry the pollen great distances. I wouldn't entirely agree that TBV is "benign," it does slow them down enough that they are more susceptable to other problems, I understand.
I did see 'Queen of Night' with the virus once, I must admit it was absolutely stunning.

Seattle, WA


Just purchased and planted 35 "Rembrandt Assorted" color tulips, along with "Split-Crown" assorted Daffodils.

Will be a stunner if they bloom at the same time.


Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Hi, Leehallfai--

I am wondering where you found the the rembrandt assorteds?...

I hope the daffs and tulips bloom at the same time, too.

I hope you will post some pics of your Rembrandt Assorteds.

And let us know how it works out. t.

Shenandoah Valley, VA

I had the real Rembrandt tulips years ago, growing right next to other tulips and never saw any spread of the virus, then or later. They were so pretty.

I assume the ones from Old House Gardens are the real Rembrandts? I didn't think they could be sold any more since all the other catalogs have the ones without the virus that are simply streaked and broken colored tulips.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Yes, I am not clear on which are true rembrandts and which are simply hybrids. I researched all of this last year when this thread began, I now I forget what the conclusions are.

I do remember that there was a rembrandt tulip club in England that had the 'real deal' and of course, OHG has listed them as authentic...

They are elegant tulips to have in the garden or a doubt about that!

Shenandoah Valley, VA

Apparently the ones Old House is selling as "broken" are true Rembrandts, at least according the to their catalog listings. The ones I had were much more complex in their feathering and coloring than the hybrid ones now being sold everywhere else as Rembrandts.

editing to add
Apparently they aren't the true old Rembrandts there either. I'm finding too many references online saying that is illegal to sell them, which is what I thought.

"Rembrandt Tulips, 1610. These are the famous mottled or "broken"-color tulips that launched a frenzy of trading, culminating in the near collapse of the Dutch economy in 1637. The era became known as "Tulipmania."

The tulips were called "Rembrandts," stemming from the abundance of tulips in famous Dutch Master paintings in this era, which was known as the Golden Age of Dutch Painting. Curiously, tulips were not a prominent theme in Rembrandt's own work.

The broken colors in Rembrandt tulips--no two were ever alike--were caused by a plant virus. Today, actual Rembrandt tulips are no longer available (they're illegal), but you can buy one of the Dutch "look-a-like" varieties, a light color tulip with deep red, purple, or oxblood colored stripes or "flames." Some modern day varieties include: "Union Jack," "Cordell Hull," "Shirley," and "Sorbet.""

" Renée Beaulieu, horticulturist and editor of the White Flower Farm Bulb Book, replies: Broken tulips, with feathered or flamed patterns on the petals, were a major impetus behind Tulipmania, the speculation in tulip bulbs that seized Holland almost 400 years ago. Those displays, called color breaks, were indeed caused by a virus. The pathogen may create glorious flowers, but it also weakens the bulbs, eventually killing them.

Today, Dutch agricultural inspectors visit all growing fields to ensure that tulips with any symptoms of virus are dug up and disposed of, because aphids can spread the disease to other bulbs. It’s illegal to grow the old Rembrandts commercially in Holland because of the potential threat to a huge industry."

This message was edited Oct 26, 2007 9:20 PM

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Here is the link to the Tulip Society in England:

I think they grow the old tulips in England in private gardens and about the only way they are disseminated is through club trades.

The OHG tulips may very well be authentic. They may have obtained them from other growers (not Dutch) perhaps the English. The quotation from the WFF Bulb Book says it's illegal for the dutch growers to grow them in Holland but growers could possibly be growing them elsewhere...?

They are very rare it looks like and the mainstream tulip suppliers are certainly negative on them. Wide planting of them could really be a threat to the industry.

Greenwood, IN(Zone 5b)

I have a few - they're in a really dry area.....I'll see if any come back next spring. Occasionally I will get tulips to return though not a high percentage.

Thumbnail by SteveIndy
Greenwood, IN(Zone 5b)

Oops that picture was blurry

Thumbnail by SteveIndy
North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

I plan to be buying the Rembrandt mix from Scheepers this year.

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or register to post.

Upload Images to your reply

    You may upload up to 5 images