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Tulip Classifications

In the early 1900's it became apparent that a classification guide was necessary to organize the numerous types of tulip cultivars available. The eventual result was the Classified List and International Register of Tulip Names published by the Royal General Bulbgrowers' Association.

Hardiness and General Culture. Unless otherwise noted, all tulips are hardy in Zones 3 to 8. Like most perennial bulbs, they need good drainage and enjoy full sun. In fact, the main reasons for tulip failure after the first season are (1) lack of adequate sun, (2) the destruction of foliage before it has ripened fully, (3) in warm climates planting too early in the fall and (4) too shallow planting depth.

Spacing. Tulips can be planted quite close together, up to 40 hybrid, top size bulbs per square yard. Wild tulip bulbs are much smaller than hybrids, and you can plant up to 60 bulbs per square yard. They'll actually grow like ground covers.

Tulip Bulb Sizes. We sell only the largest size hybrid tulip bulbs. Measured in centimeters around the widest part of the bulb, the largest size is 12cm/up (the "up" means that some bulbs in the lot will be larger than 12cm). The specie or wild tulips are generally much smaller bulbs, and we offer "Top Size" bulbs which are the largest size available for that particular cultivar.

Tulips for Southern States. It's true that Zones 9 and 10 are not prime locales for growing tulips, but there are some tulips that like it hot! We carry five wild tulips that don't need a cold period to flower, and naturalize faithfully.

Other tulips may also be grown in warm situations, but should be treated as annuals and given some special care. The trick is to give them a "cold treatment" for 8 to 10 weeks. This can be done quite easily by storing them in vented paper bags in a refrigerator. Remove any fruit in the refrigerator as ethylene gas given off by ripening fruit will kill the flower embryo inside the bulbs. Take them directly from the "fridge" to the planting site in November or early December. When choosing a site avoid southern exposures and plant in areas that get morning sun or partial shade so your flowers will last longer. Plant 6 to 8 inches deep with a 2 inch layer of mulch to help retain moisture and keep the bulbs cool.

Due to excessive shipping costs, we no longer ship to AK, HI or outside the continental U.S.