From tulips to chrysanthemums, our series “The Language of Flowers” explores everything from flower care tips to flower symbolism and meaning. Here, we explore the six most beautiful and unique tulip types.
You know it’s spring when those long, lovely tulip stems start peeking out of the ground! There are more than 1,000 different tulip species, and each of them brings its own touch of charm to springtime. In fact, so many species exist that scientists have grouped them into 15 main categories of tulip types, just to keep them in order! So in honor of our Tulip Spectacular, we’re celebrating the warmer weather by picking our six favorite tulip types. Read on to find out what makes each category of these spring blooms beautiful and unique!
Tulip Type No. 1: Single Tulip
The beautiful simplicity of these tulips is what makes them a favorite among gardeners and florists all over the world. In fact, our floral designers at 1-800-Flowers.com use Single tulips to create all of our spectacular tulip arrangements. Whether they’re solid-colored or bicolored with two contrasting hues, these flowers bring a bold pop of color to any home or garden. They can be found in virtually any hue, including red, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue, white and black. We love the gorgeous, deep color of the purple tulip so much that we even chose it as our signature flower!
Single tulips come in two varieties: early-blooming and late-blooming. Early bloomers start to spring up in late Mach and can grow up to 17 inches tall, and each flower can expand up to 3 inches wide. On the other hand, Single Late tulips typically bloom in May and can grow up to 30 inches tall, with a 3-inch-wide flower. Some of the most popular Single Early tulips include the Purple Prince, Diana, Prince of Austria, Cardinal Rampolla, Lac van Rijn and Keizerskroon. For Single Late tulips, favorites include the Antoinette, Blushing Lady, Queen of the Night, Avignon, Dreamland and Zomerschoon.
Tulip Type No. 2: Double Tulip
These tulips are double the fun! They come in pairs, and they have more than twice as many petals as the Single variety. They have so many petals that they’re sometimes called Peony-Flowering tulips because their full blooms look so much like pretty peonies. Because they’re so large, Double tulip blossoms are long-lasting, but they can also easily snap in bad weather. Staking is sometimes a must, especially during strong wind and rain.
Like their single-bloomed siblings, Double tulips exist in early and late varieties. Double Early tulips show off their blossoms in early April and grow up to 15 inches tall and 3 inches wide. Double Late tulips appear later in the season, around May, and can reach 24 inches in height. Some of the most beloved Double tulips include the Angelique, Peach Blossom, Uncle Tom, Orange Princess, Yellow Spider, Montreux, Crispion, MountTacoma, Miranda and Boule d’Or.
Tulip Type No. 3: Lily-Flowering Tulip
The most feminine of all tulips, these tall, curvy flowers are named for their lily-like shape. Their blossoms are narrower in the middle, and their long, pointy petals curl outward at the top. When they fully bloom, they form a star shape, just like the lily. Lily-Flowering tulips can reach a height of 24 inches, and they can come in any combination of pink, purple, peach, red, orange, yellow and white. They typically flaunt their full-bodied beauty in late spring, around May. The trendiest Lily-Flowering tulips are the Ballerina, Ballade, West Point, Mona Lisa, Holland Chic, China Pink, Tres Chic and White Triumphator—fitting names for such graceful and stylish flowers!
Tulip Type No. 4: Fringed (Crispa) Tulip
These tulips call for a celebration! Their fun, fringed petals make them look like adorable little party hats. The frayed edges of this flower can be either the same color as the rest of the blossom or they can sometimes have their own exciting color that contrasts the petals. Their blooming season is usually in late spring, and they can reach up to a whopping 30 inches in height. The frilliest, best-loved varieties of the Fringed tulip include the Curly Sue, Fancy Frills, Fringed Elegance, Burgundy Lace, Cummins, Hamilton and Lambada.
Tulip Type No. 5: Rembrandt Tulip
With the paint-like splatters of color across their petals, Rembrandt tulips truly look like a work of art. So it comes as no surprise that they were appropriately named after the world-famous Dutch painter. Although their one-of-a-kind looks and colors are truly something to admire, these tulips aren’t commercially grown anymore. Because the flowers’ speckled pattern was the result of a virus that could infect other tulips, they were taken off the market. And just as the case is with all other artwork, if you happen to find a Rembrandt tulip in a store, it’s most likely a knockoff—not an original.
Tulip Type No. 6: Parrot Tulip
Just like the fluffy, vibrant tropical bird they’re named after, ruffled Parrot tulips come in all sorts of bright colors and patterns. But even though these flower petals could pass for bird feathers, their curved shape even more closely resembles a parrot’s beak. The flamboyant Parrot tulip can reach a height of up to 24 inches, and they can be enjoyed in full bloom in the late spring—a perfect kickoff for the summer season! The Flaming Parrot, Estella Rijnveld, Black Parrot, Rococo, Salmon Parrot and Professor Rontgen are the most brilliant species in this tulip category.
Can’t get enough tulips? Here’s some info about the remaining beautiful tulip types, in a nutshell:
- Triumph Tulips: A cross between Early and Late single tulips, these cup-shaped flowers blossom up to about 3 inches wide and grow up to 20 inches tall. Making up the largest tulip division, Triumphs bloom in early midseason (usually around April).
- Darwin Hybrid Tulips: Darwin Hybrids are among the largest and tallest tulips: They can reach a height of 20 inches, and the flowers themselves bloom up to 6 inches wide. They come in every color and a variety of patterns, and their long, hardy stems make them perfect for cutting. These bloom mid- to late season, well into May.
- Viridiflora Tulips: Although they come in a variety of colors, all of these tulips have a hint of green on their petals. Viridiflora tulips grow up to 6 inches wide and 22 inches tall, and they usually bloom late in the season.
- Kaufmanniana Tulips: Also called Water Lily tulips for their striking resemblance to water lilies, these small and pointy flowers only grow to about 10 inches in height. The flowers are usually a deep red on the outside and a soft yellow on the inside, and they generally bloom in early spring.
- Fosteriana Tulips: The large size of these tulips (they grow up to 6 inches wide and 18 inches tall) has earned them the alternate name Emperor tulips. They sometimes have pointed petals, and they come in red, pink, orange, yellow and white varieties. These usually bloom in the early spring as well.
- Greigii Tulips: A bit on the smaller side, these tulips only grow up to 10 inches tall and 6 inches wide. Blooming in mid-spring, Greigii tulips are brightly colored (they come in shades of red, pink, yellow and white) and their petals are pointy and wavy.
- Species (Botanical) Tulips: Descendants of wildflowers, Species tulips are known for their sturdiness, long lifespan and their ability to multiply over the years. They can also bloom at various times during the season.
Do you have a favorite kind of tulip? Tell us which ones will be blooming in your garden this spring!