Fosteriana Tulip 'Red Emperor'


Family: Liliaceae (lil-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Tulipa (TOO-li-pa) (Info)
Cultivar: Red Emperor
Additional cultivar information:(aka Madame Lefeber)
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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)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Mid Spring



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

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:

Niles, Illinois

Macy, Indiana

Accokeek, Maryland

Ijamsville, Maryland

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Franklin, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

South Plainfield, New Jersey

Albany, New York

Croton On Hudson, New York

Portland, Oregon

Havertown, Pennsylvania

Vernal, Utah

Seattle, Washington

Vancouver, Washington

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 9, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Large flowers of true luminous scarlet (warm) red, 12-14" tall. Stems are a little short for cut flower use, but this is an excellent garden plant.

Like the other Fosteriana tulips, this blooms early, during daffodil season (April here in Boston Z6a). The cooler weather helps it last longer than the later-blooming tulips.

It's an excellent perennial and naturalizer here, where most tulips peter out in a year or two. (Tulips require a dry summer rest, and here in Boston Z6a we get too much summer rainfall for most tulips to perennialize. Summer irrigation can make tulips rot.)

All tulips are prime critter/deer fodder.


On Apr 16, 2011, 1xanadu from Imperial, NE wrote:

These were my father's favorite tulip. I remember them growing up in Denver, CO. That was in the 1950s-60s. Whenever I them I am reminded of my father who so loved them.


On Apr 10, 2010, sbarr from Albany (again), NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

Zone 5 - Albany, NY - long winters.


Come early April - these come screaming out of the ground, bright red. No, they're not the precise well behaved tulips that grace elegant beds. They're gaudy and I love 'em.

I live in a city where there are quite a few tulips, but few grow the red emperor, for whatever reason. With my clusters of bright red, we look like the painted whore in the neighborhood. *ha!* - 2 years running, I've had colleagues at work comment: OMG, I saw your tulips - they look wonderful.

If you want to put the first cheerful welcome to spring in the neighborhood, highly recommend.


On May 27, 2009, jlant from Saskatoon,
Canada wrote:

I live in Warman Saskatchewan and have had great results. Our Zone is a 2a to 2b and these come faithfully every year.


On Apr 9, 2009, Leehallfae from Seattle, WA wrote:

They bloom. What they are not is red. They are a sort of bubble gum pink.

If there is nothing else in the garden, these will do but if you want the glory of a true red, stick with roses.


On Apr 8, 2007, mcintoshcd from Accokeek, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

I live in Accokeek Maryland (just south of Washington DC, USA). I planted 30 red emperors last fall (2006) and they were amazing in spring 2007. When the sun hits them they glow and shimmer. The blooms lasted about three weeks. I planted them in an area that gets about 3 to 4 hours of progressive afternoon sun. I prepped the bed with my Mantis tiller and added a few bags of top soil and miracle grow soil to amend the clay.


On Apr 21, 2006, TBGDN from (Zone 5a) wrote:

This is the oldest tulip I grow. It was planted many years (at least twenty+) ago in a group of twelve bulbs along the front sidewalk. After a major foundation renovation and remodeling project, I discovered these dormant bulbs had been destroyed in the construction process. A year later to my surprise I found three tulips poking through the soil where the excavation had taken place. They have bloomed without fail to this day. A large shrub next to them has grown into their space. So they will be moved for the first time in 20+ years to a new location with more sun and less crowded conditions. I am amazed at their tenacity to survive and flower so freely. They are strikingly beautiful with vibrant red petals and black stamens. A yellow band circles the black center.


On Apr 26, 2005, kdjoergensen from Waxhaw (Charlotte), NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

One of the earliest and at the same time most beautiful tulips with really large flower heads. A real stunner. Highly recommended. One of my all time favorites. A very good perennializer in my area.


On Dec 16, 2004, Todd_Boland from St. John's, NL (Zone 5b) wrote:

This was one of the earliest fosteriana hybrids developed and it is still very popular today. Many of the new varieties that have been developed have had 'Red Emperor' as the parent. The flowers are huge; among the largest of any tulip. The colour is blazing red with a black center and yellow ring. Long-lived and highly recommended.


On Nov 15, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Bright fiery-red tulip. Fantastic when planted in large groups. Reaches a height of 16" and puts on a stunning display. Naturalizes well, too.