Fosteriana Tulip 'Purissima'


Family: Liliaceae (lil-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Tulipa (TOO-li-pa) (Info)
Cultivar: Purissima
Additional cultivar information:(aka White Emperor)
» View all varieties of Tulips


Division 13 - Fosteriana


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


3-6 in. (7-15 cm)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Braselton, Georgia

Ewing, Kentucky

Croton On Hudson, New York

, Ontario

Reynoldsville, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Lafayette, Tennessee

Logan, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 13, 2015, pebble_thief from Logan, UT wrote:

Back when I lived in Southeast Idaho, these where one of the few tulip varieties that not only persisted year to year, but multiplied reliably. Many Darwin and lily-flowered varieties either slowly disappeared, reverted to simpler colors like yellow, red, or pink, or split into many small, non-flowering bulbs. Other varieties that multiplied well for me and kept their appearances included viridiflora tulips, purple 'Negrita', and black 'Queen of the Night'.


On Apr 19, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Fosteriana tulips are among the few hybrids that will usually perennialize in my climate (with rain in summer, Boston Z6a), if they aren't over-irrigated in summer. (Like all tulips, they are sensitive to moist soil in summer and can easily rot if they aren't kept as dry as possible when dormant.) With the Greigiis and the Kaufmannianas, they are among the first tulips to bloom, in daffodil season, April here.

This gets 12-18" tall.


On Apr 19, 2015, lokidog from Logan, UT wrote:

These tulips are not white! At least not for me here in high UV light with cold nights. I would call them primrose or light yellow. They started a soft yellow, and have aged to a cream with primrose contrasts. Nice tulip, just don't call them pure white as most descriptions do (probably all copied from the same source)! I also planted Narcissus - Pueblo and these have nearly the same color range - and are described properly. I would add a positive comment on these as well - as I actually quite like them - they are early, striking, and long-lasting. They stood up to a foot-deep snowfall and several hard freezes in bloom too - without much damage compared to other tulips.


On Apr 10, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Flowers open a soft yellow and fade to white over a few days.

Like other fosterianas, this blooms exceptionally early, with the daffodils. Unlike most tulips, it can naturalize and perennialize here on the east coast of N. America, despite our summer rainfall. (Tulips require a dry summer rest, and here we get too much summer rain for most tulips to prosper long-term. Summer irrigation can make tulips rot.)

All tulips are prime fodder for deer, voles, and other critters.


On Apr 4, 2009, saya from Heerlen,
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:

In autumn 2006 I've planted this pretty tulips in my new garden. Until now (spring 2009) they've flowered every spring. From the tulips in my garden they are the first to flower. These relatively big flowering tulips always make a great show. On days with less sun or in the evening they light up like candles. They've multiplied every year. From a original clump of 9 bulbs I've counted this spring 21 strong tulips close to 70 cm in height. Some stems have split into two stems and each carrying these huge flowers. I do not feed them so I guess they like it in my garden.


On Mar 22, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is my first year growing this- or any other- tulip. I've always been told tulips act like annuals in the southern heat, so I've never grown them; I have always longed to, though. Last year I found (thru researching) some tulips that are known to return in my clime. Thanks to Brent & Beckys, I have several tulips that I am now enjoying. I will (hopefully) come back here next year and change my rating to a pos. as this baby has returned for me.

At first I wasn't sure that I actually had this tulip. I did not know that this tulip changes color. It is a white tulip but started out soft yellow. It has since aged to white after a few days. It still retains a very dark yellow center- very pretty tulip. I must say that I have yet to detect any of its reputed fragrance.


On Apr 23, 2004, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

I liked the big blooms on this tulip and it blended in well with my other tulips. But they do not stand up well to the wind. The least little breeze and the petals drop.