Best perennial tulips?

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

Tulips never last from year to year in my garden. What are the best types to come up year after year?

Savannah, MO(Zone 5b)

It's true in our part of Missouri too. Each year you have less and less.The weather in Mo. with thawing and refreezing takes its toil on tulips.Daffodils on the other hand will multiply if healthy. New bulbs each year growing means more flowers next year to enjoy. In time thin and transplant bulbs for more healthy plants.


Divernon, IL(Zone 5b)

Darwins - planted 8 -10" deep are your best bet.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Jmorth is on the money. After Darwins, single lates, lilyflowering and species are the best.


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

Maybe I just don't plant deep enough. I did plant Darwins, I like them. I usually plant the tulips with daffs, can the daffs go that deep also or is it too deep for them? Thanks.

One year afew years ago I planted some fringy tulips but then raised the garden after planting so figgured they would never come up. Well, they did (for years and years). Later I had to completely redo that garden so dug them up and replanted and now they are gone.

I plan on putting in lots and lots of daffs and tulips in a naturalized type look and it would be great if I could get them to last years.

Raleigh, NC

Did you read this recent thread? You are not alone....Seems to be a common problem!

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

I know that tulips would not be ever consifered a long lived perrenial, but geez. Lots of work to plant them so want them to last awhile.

Raleigh, NC

I agree!! Plus, the cost, but, oh, aren't they beautiful??? Some great suggestions in the post I linked as to which ones last the longest. Also, they suggest simply digging and drying the bulbs, then replanting. Alot of work, but might work.

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

I would not even consider digging them up. I just don't have the time or energy. Besides I would never find them as I don't mark were they are planted. Its all very cottage garden and I like the naturilized look. Oh, and there are daffs scattered amoung them.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I hear you Rita. I dig them up every year, but yes, it's a pain!


Winchester, KY(Zone 6a)

Rita, its helpful to not only plant them deeply, but plant them in areas that are dry in summer. Thats tough for me, because I like them intermingled among other plants in the garden that like summer moisture (I like the cottage style too). Among the hybrids, Darwin hybrids and Late Singles have been the best perennializers for me, but the species I've tried have been the most reliable- they even increase in my garden.

The "Impression" series of Darwin hybrids I've tried have returned particularly well.

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

I can do the plant deeply but the dryness is another matter. We usually get lots of rain and if not, I water, water, water. Planted between roses and daylilies, no way are they going to not get watered and no way around it :-((

Gilmer, TX(Zone 8b)

You might be surprised at what comes back. I planted tulips for the first time in 2007 for the spring 2008 bloom. I did not dig them up last fall. I figured they would never return so I bought more tulips to plant last fall.
This spring, the first batch came back full force and they had also multiplied. Despite my being told that my area/zone was not suitable for tulips to come back.
The tulips that came back for me were:
'Blue Diamond' and the plant files call them division 11 double late peony flowering tulips.
This year, I planted several other types, so we'll see what comes back in 2010!

Marble Hill, NY(Zone 6a)

Have you tried the early blooming types? I have Red Emperor from Bluestone that has come back for 3 years and Gold Coin (a Kaufmanniana Hybrid) that has come back 2 years without me digging them up. Both are actually increasing in spite of the squirrels.

Good luck

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

No, I don't think so. I usually plant Darwin Hybrids. Tried afew Parrot Tulips and some fringy things that I don't remember the name of. I might try some Red Emperor this fall.

Greenwood, IN(Zone 5b)

I have had best luck with Single Lates returning. Like MiniPony, I had much better return than I had expected or read that I should expect. Not all returned of course but a significant number. The watering may well be a big problem as dryness during summer really promotes return.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Rita, I had the same experience as Steve. I put the white single late Maureen in and couldn't get it out of the ground for two years. It was the only thing I didn't dig up. Imagine my surprise when in year three it returned and brought friends - I had three where there had been one. Maybe try just a few? Scheepers provides nice ones at a reasonable cost. That's where I got mine.


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

Maybe my problem is the watering. I plant my bulbs in between my daylilies and roses. Both get watered often if it does not rain. They need the watering to boom well. In fact one of the daylily beds has soaker hoses and I intend to put soaker hoses in the newly created daylily bed from this spring. These are the places I had planted tulips and intend to plant more this fall. I like to plant lots of daffs and crocus too but they seem to do better than the tulips.

Still, I will try all the suggestions as I do love the look of tulips in the spring. Mostly, I like the early and mid season tulips as I want them flowered so that the folliage can die down about the same time as the folliage on my daffs. By that time the daylilies have grown enough to hide whats left.

Plus its a matter of my outlook. Instead of wanting the longest possible season of tulips, so looking for early to extra late, tulips, the other spring flowering bulbs give me my kick start to spring color just when I am going crazy from a long winter. I want the flowers early, right alongside and after my daffs. Come May, there is a lot flowering around here and it goes on well into late August. So I want my early spring color from my bulbs.

Greenwood, IN(Zone 5b)


One thing you could try is to plant the tulips on a slope or other raised area with really good drainage - since you have a multi-level yard - and make sure the soil where the tulips will be has a high sand content by amending it - this will ensure really good drainage and maybe promote better return for you. That way you wouldn't have to give up so much on the watering you need for your other plants.

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

Alot of them are in raised beds. Amending with sand would be the opposite of what I do, I turn compost into all my new beds and topdress with compost when I feel the bed needs it.. My roses and daylilies would not like the sand so that would not work for me.

The slope idea is a good one though as I have a great slope in the front yard that I have been working on. It has some daylilies in it now and lily bulbs. Afew days ago I dug out and moved 9 lilac shrubs that I had at the top of the slope but I just did not like the grouping there, did not look good to me. Plus I want the space for lily bulbs, daylilies and iris. So I will be working on that garden section also.

I guess I will just have to look around for spots less watered and live with poor return in other areas. I do have plans to do a raised round island bed in the lawn in my drivewayside yard. I am still in the planning stages but so far thinking two levels with the bigger area in the taller circle. Bearded iris in the lower bed circling all around. Wanted a place to put zinnias and another place for bearded iris as the bed sections I have to use so far are two small places in the front yard. Heavy planting with the spring flowering bulbs in the higher part and zinnias in for the summer. I put them in amoung my daylilies last year, but that was a poor choice as the zinnias grew large and wanted to take over. The zinnias would require minium or no watering and it should be good for bulbs. But so far, this does not exist yet, just in my head.

Clinton, CT(Zone 6b)

I thought I tore out the Red Emperor tulips from Van Engelen last year. After pulling them up, I tilled deeply, enriched the soil and planted dinnerplate dahlias. To my surprise, as many Red Emperors appeared this spring as I planted there in the fall of 2007. Can't figure out how I missed the bulbs. The triangular bed is surrounded by paths and only 200 or so sq ft. Same thing happened in a smaller spot in back which I overplanted with strawflowers.

Falls Church, VA(Zone 7a)

I've had good luck with the Greigii varieties overwintering here and multiplying nicely, but not in an invasive way. They also spread around, as in some pop up where I've never planted them! I don't consider this a problem... ;-) and if you like the cottage look, it probably wouldn't bother you.

Here's a link to some of the varieties available:

When I succumb to the pretty pictures and sale prices in the late fall, I will buy some of the others, and plant them somewhere almost as annuals, like in a wine barrel, or some such thing.

I have had others come back, but never anything like the first year's display, so I just don't count on it.

North Chelmsford, MA(Zone 6b)

Have you considered species tulips? They're smaller, of course, but many of them multiply by stolons, believe it or not. My favorite is dasystemon, yellow and short, which faithfully brightens my garden each year. The Greigiis do well, as someone has noted. I have 'Toronto' in full bloom as I write, with two or even three blooms per stem. Clusianas are earlier and open up wide in the sun. McClure & Zimmerman has a great catalogue that includes species tulips.

Sherman, CT

To my complete surprise, a dozen of last year's Exotic Emperors reappeared in my garden a few weeks ago. They're big, beautiful, and very long-lasting when cut. Bought from Scheepers, I think.

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

Update on the idea of perennial tulips. In fall 2010 I planted lots of tulips, mostly early single and darwin types. So spring 2011 was glorious. Now in spring 2012 many have come up again but there are not as many as last spring. The odd types I tried that were not darwins or early singles did not come up at all, just dissappeared. I think those were Triumph types.

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