Best Tulip for year after year returns?

slimwhitman(5b Kansas City)March 23, 2010

I love tulips, but I rarely use them because they rarely come back for me year after year. I have great luck with all the rest of my perennial bulbs, and I have thousands in the yard.

I know some tulips are better perennial performers than others. Do you have any recommendations?

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iris_gal(z9 CA)

The old Darwins have been recommended by Becky Heath. My Pink Impressions are showing great budding this 2nd year.

Kaufmanniana for shorter. Have read the Greggiis also.

I read Triumphs are very poor at naturalizing, no matter how cold the winter.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 5:54PM
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oath5(z6b/7a MD)

The greggiis are really good, I have a patch of red ones that have come back for about three years or so? "Little Red Riding Hood" is a great red!

I have, I guess a Darwin type that my dad planted over 10 years ago and it still comes up and blooms. There's another of the group that always sends up foliage but never blooms, I'm sure there are multiple tulips under there.

I think the trick is that the soil during the summer needs to be BAKED, no additional watering. Tulips come from Iran/Greece/Afganistan/Kazakstan etc after all.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 9:03PM
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I live near Dallas. The land where tulips become compost. I tossed a bunch of bulbs in my neglected compost pile. What a surprise! Several Red Ridinghood Greiggis were blooming there next spring. I also had another greiggi that is also very short and yellow return where I didn't pull the bulbs out.

I can count on clusiana "the lady tulips" returning year after year. I've had "Cynthia" for several years now and Lady Jane has returned also. Only 1 year thus far.

Here is a link that might be useful: clusiana species tulips here

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 11:47AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

The one that's survived longest for me is T. praestans 'Fusilier'.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 1:10PM
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My mother has a patch of red and yellow emperors that's almost as old as I am. But still, with tulips you can't expect them all to bloom every year, the one which are splitting don't bloom. A normal tulip lifespan involves blooming maybe 3 years out of 10 (although for about 3 of those years they are basically invisible because they're much smaller than a mature tulip). To get them blooming every year, you have to expect that only 30% of them are going to bloom each year.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 2:10PM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

flora uk...

I was just going to add T. Praestans 'Unicum' which has returned for me 5+ years now...

multi-flowered and variegated. What more could you want in a tulip? (well, scent, but that's what hyacinths are for)


    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 11:43PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

The Darwin Hybrids should do well as perennials in your garden.

The Species Tulips should also do well and are lovely little jewels.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 12:40AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I have multiple species tulips going on ten years old in my garden. Love them. Their foliage is less obtrusive as it dies too.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 2:53PM
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ontnative(5b Can/USDA 4)

Species tulips such as tulipa tarda seem to keep going forever, at least mine do. My fosteriana types such as Orange Emperor last many years, as do Red Riding Hood (Greigii) and Scarlet Baby (Kaufmanniana).

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 4:38PM
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