favorite mail order tulip bulbs?

nikki717(7)August 13, 2014

Hello all,

I am thinking about planting a small mass of Orange Princess double late tulips in the fall and would like to know if anyone has favorite places they buy from. I don't really like many flowers (preferring various shades of green trees and shrubs) but this is one of them, although I've only ever seen them on the internet.

Anyone have any insight they'd like to share?

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laceyvail(6A, WV)

I don't grow tulips because of voles and deer, but for bulbs in general, you can't beat Scheepers, or their catalog for larger orders, Van Engelen.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 5:48AM
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Campanula UK Z8

I tend to use wholesale companies here in the UK where prices are eye-wateringly cheap....but I don't think that option is so easily available in the US since they source most of their bulbs from Europe. Nonetheless, I generally plant a few hundred tulips every year because in my sandy soil, in full sun, they will perennialise (able to create similar conditions to their Turkish and Middle Eastern origins). I also tend to concentrate on the hotter colours (pale yellow and white tulips just don't do it for me at all). As it happens, the class most often expected to naturalise tend to be the Darwin tulips which tend to come in these hot colours (and a few pinks). For the last decade or so, I have been on a species tulip odyssey - they tend to be reliably perennial in the right conditions, smaller but brilliant, and grow extremely well in my sunbaked scree beds. My absolute top choice for the past few years has been the elusive and last to flower - t,sprengeri. As well as flowering late, they are the only tulip which will grow in a degree of shade - even in a woodland clearing....and are slow, but easy from seed. mabe have a look at some of the 'lady tulips ' - t.clusiana - colours range from a pale pink and white to a buttercup yellow with scarlet reverses. The petals open wide in sun and they are graceful and easily naturalised. Or, try t.batalinii - not only are the flower forms graceful, but the foliage is a particularly penetrating glaucous blue-green....with no problem returning in subsequent years.
I have come to the conclusion, from US reviews, that Scheepers or Van Englene tend to be more reliable than Brents and Becky's.
My top orange has been Prinses Irene although the red and gold Queen of Sheba or Abu Hassan can produce a stunning display (I add in the brilliant fuschia pink Barcelona for an especially vivid flash) - go for at least 30 in a group - nothing looks sadder than 3 or 4 tulips in a forlorn little clump.
There are some smaller, reliable multi-headed types which might sit well in foliage - one is a paler primrose/cream....and there is the vary large Floradale Ivory or Vancouver which can look rather good with mertensia, brunnera and pulmonarias.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 6:54AM
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I don't grow tulips, since they're an annual waste of money...but I do love the fringed ones for their flower form.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 7:37AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

I second Scheepers. I buy almost all my bulbs from them.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 8:39AM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

Another vote for Van Englen/Scheepers. That's my go-to source too.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 9:46AM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

Van Engelen/John Scheepers here too.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 11:13AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

decades ago.. i used brecks ...

wonder if they are still around...

go figure.. see link


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 12:16PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I don't invest in tulips in my zone, either. Too expensive for such a short, annual show. They sure are pretty, though!

Brecks has a scary bad reputation, be sure to do your homework before buying from any company.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 3:19PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

really.. in the 90s i had no problem with them ..

wonder what happened in 15 years.. lol ...

go with what rhiz said ... or confirm at that garden watchdog place ...


    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 4:01PM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Add my name to the list....I bought from John Scheepers last season... mostly Greigii tulips. The sister company, VanEngelen, is great if you're ordering 50/100+ of a variety.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 8:22PM
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As well as John Scheepers, I use Brent and Becky's bulbs.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 10:48PM
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I've purchased from van engelen and brent and Becky's. Van engelen has lower prices but I have had wrong items from them also callas with whiteflies once. I still order from them though.

Brent and Becky's is more expensive but the bulbs have always been large and healthy.

Locally, costco has the best prices in bags of decent bulbs.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 11:13PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

:( wish I had a Costco, much damage would be done...

Van Engelen for big quantities, Brent and Becky for smaller, also I've heard lots of good things regarding Colorblends for large quantities.

I love tulips. My neglected thin soil must mimic their native middle east.... they do well year after year for me.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 9:18AM
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arlene_82(zone 6 OH)

Newbie gardener here, so not sure if my two cents is worth the copper it's printed on, but I ordered 3 types of tulip bulbs from Brecks last year (a Triumph mixture, Queen of the Night, and some type of Parrot whose name escapes) and had good luck this spring as all but one bulb came up. Felt I got my money's worth, anyway. I do recall that they kept pushing back the ship date for the parrot tulips and if they had arrived much later then it probably would have been too late to plant.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 12:03PM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

I used to buy Costco bulbs by the hundreds until I had bad luck with them 2 years in a row. Rotten bulbs, bulbs that were the wrong kind, and some that just never came up. A pity because the price and convenience were hard to beat.

Now I just stick with Van Englen. The one time I got the wrong tulip, I called them in the spring and they just put a credit on my account for the entire amount of the wrong bulbs. I appreciated how easy that was!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 12:59PM
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I do find the selection at van englen great! I am going to try out several smaller daffodils this year as the foliage of some if my bulbs is just now dying down. I am hoping to find varieties that have less noticeable dying leaves through the summer.

Last fall was my first with costco bulbs and all went well. Those bags just find a way into my cart...I try to be sure I actually count the total number of bulbs I am buying as a reality check! Last spring I tried some spring bulbs but they were dried up in the bag. Costco has always been good about returns though. Not sure how they'd deal with the wrong fall bulbs though...hmm.

When I have had wrong items from van engelen, they have sent replacements, resulting in now hundreds of odd ball daffodils in my woods. I kind of wish now I had just received a refund.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 3:17PM
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So this is the second time Ive posted something on the forums and not been notified that I had a response. And here there have been LOTS of responses! I waited for a few days and then I forgot all about it. Eek. My apologies everyone for posting a question and then not checking back in!! And thank you all for your input. I'll be trying one of the top two mentioned and let you know how it goes : )

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 11:33PM
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