Tulips have long straight stems holding up big cup-shaped flowers and thick green leaves near the stem base, and are one of the most recognizable types of flowers, or are they? While that description fits for common tulips we see blooming everywhere in the spring, there are actually many types of tulip flowers, each with a distinct look. On top of appearance differences, tulips also vary significantly in height and bloom timing too. We hope that the descriptions below about a few of the types of tulips that we grow on our farm will help you answer the question "Is that a tulip?" next time you are walking through a spring garden.
Single Tulips are the traditional flower that we initially think of when we think of a tulip flower. They have the distinct cup shape to the bloom and 6 petals in total. Single tulips can bloom at any point in the spring and are often classified as single early, single mid-season, or single late to distinguish their bloom time.
These tulips have many petals and their blooms more closely resemble peonies or roses than traditional tulips. The blooms of Double Tulips can be top heavy so they may lean, but their blooms often last longer than single tulips.
Known as the toughest tulips of them all, Darwin Tulips are extremely hardy and will bloom each spring for many years in even the toughest of environments. They have the traditional cup shaped flower and in our experience the Darwin tulips have extremely large petals making for a showy flower.
These tulips often last the longest because Triumph tulips were created by crossing single early tulips with later blooming ones. The result was a traditional cupped shaped tulip that lasts a long time and can withstand spring weather such as heavy rain and wind.
We have heard them called "the Las Vegas showgirls of the springtime garden". The ruffled petals (similar to parrot feathers) and vibrant colours of Parrot Tulips make them a stand out in the garden for sure.
We have grown a few fringed varieties and they definitely have a distinct look with their cut petal tips appearing like fringe on a piece of clothing. Double or Parrot tulips can often be "fringed" too creating a very unique flower.
This season we grew a Viridiflora Tulip called "Artist" which had the green streak through the center of it's petals. That green streak is how this type of tulip gets it's name, because in Latin "viridiflora" means green flowered.
Now you know a little more about a few of the many types of flowers in the tulip family. Hopefully when you come across one of the unique tulip varieties you will know it is a tulip too even if it doesn't have the traditional cup-shaped look. You can also try growing some of the unique types of tulips along side the traditional tulip flowers in your own garden. Check out our tulip bulb collection, bulbs are available to order now for planting in the fall.