Perennial Tulips

I planted tulips for the 1st time three years ago. The following spring, the display was glorious. The joggers, dog-walkers and dogs all loved it. The next year only about a third of the blooms returned. I was so disappointed Is there any chance of having a reliably perennial tulip bed?

Tulips are only really reliably perennial in their native habitat of the Himalayas and eastern Turkey. They need extremely cold winters and hot, dry summers to come back year after year.

Both species tulips and Darwin hybrids are known to return. The darker hued Darwin hybrids do better than the pastel ones.

Plant your tulips in an area that gets good drainage and plant them deep, about eight inches from the bottom of the bulb to the soil line. Fertilize in the fall and spring. After the blooms have faded remove the spent flowers and allow the foliage to die back naturally. This helps the bulbs store up energy for next year’s bloom.

Here’s a short list of tulips that have been found to be successful repeat bloomers.

‘Apeldoorn’s Elite’ (Darwin Hybrid) red with orange-yellow
‘Ballade’ (Lily-flowering) violet with white edges
‘Beauty of Apeldoorn’ (Darwin Hybrid) orange-yellow and red striped
‘Candela’ (Fosteriana) yellow
‘Charles’ (Single Early) deep red
‘Couleur Cardinal’ (Single Early) violet-red
‘Golden Apeldoorn’ (Darwin Hybrid) yellow
‘Maytime’ (Lily-flowering) bright violet, white edges
‘Orange Emperor’ (Fosteriana) orange
‘Oxford’ (Darwin Hybrid) vermillion red
‘Plaisir’ (Greigii) red with white edging
‘Purissima’ (Fosteriana) white
‘Red Emperor’ (Fosteriana) red
‘Red Riding Hood’ (Greigii) red
‘Stresa’ (Kaufmanniana) yellow with red markings
‘tarda’ (species) yellow/white
‘Toronto’ (Greigii) salmon pink-red
‘turkestanica’ (species) white and cream
‘West Point’ (Lily-flowering) yellow