Who says you need to visit Holland to enjoy the best tulip varieties? This week, I am enjoying the spring blooms and wishing that I had planted some tulip bulbs years ago. So, here are my top five recommendations for tulips to grow in the UK.
I have selected these tulip varieties based on their award-winning statuses as well as their availability at Dutch Grown. This is a new company that I’ve recently discovered and become an affiliate partner at. If you decide to click on the links below and purchase one of their bulbs (there are daffodils, alliums, and many other flowers to choose from) I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Established in 1882, they have a huge range to choose from.
All images belong to Dutch Grown.
1. Tulip Kingsblood
This is a bright and cheerful red tulip – a classic! Tulip Kingsblood is late blooming in the last months of spring, and long-lasting with a tall and strong presence. They are recommended for landscaping and mass growing, rather than just a few bulbs here and there. So, if you want to fill a large flowerbed with tulips then they are a fantastic choice.
The vivid cherry-red colour reminds me of the colour of poppies, and they contrast really well with black or white coloured tulips in the spring. These tulips reach a height of around 60cm and are classified as fully hardy. An excellent choice for any garden in the UK.
2. Tulip Princess Irene
Another long-lasting and hardy tulip, Princess Irene offers all the sturdiness of Kingsblood but with a more vibrant show of colours. This tulip variety is a soft orange colour with burgundy flames on each petal, and an interesting, purple-shaded stem that contrasts nicely with lush green leaves.
Princess Irene is also a lightly scented tulip, so they make a great choice for cut flowers or small containers where you can really appreciate the individual blooms. Dutch Grown recommends this best tulip variety for window boxes and large pots on the patio, as they reach a maximum height of just 35cm.
3. Tulip Angelique
I absolutely love the soft romantic vibes of this award-winning tulip variety. Tulip Angelique is a great cut flower that reaches heights of 50cm in your garden. Unlike many classic tulips, this variety will grow multiple blooms per stem and has a more ‘full-bodied’ appearance. Each tulip bloom is double-petaled with light pink and white shades.
Rather than having smooth petals, they are slightly ruffled. This beautiful flower has earned the variety RHS’ Award of Garden Merit and deepens in colour as the flower ages, adding a darker apple pink on the edges of each petal. The only downside is that these tulips are quite short lived.
4. Tulip Black Parrot
How about something a little different, a little exotic? Enter, the Black Parrot Tulip. This variety has feathered petals in a very dark purple shade that’s as close to black as it gets. Again, this is a great cut flower and is late blooming, so it provides some interest in late spring when the daffodils have already faded.
Reaching a height of 50cm in flower beds, borders, or containers, you will also enjoy the greyish-green leaves, very sturdy stems, and wide flower heads. As the spring season goes on, the petals open more and more in the sun until they’re almost flat.
5. Tulip Orange Emperor
The last tulip on my list of the best tulip varieties is Orange Emperor. This award winner is an early bloomer, for a change, and has a unique shape. Each petal stays close and tight at the base of the bloom but widens at the top. The tangerine shade adds some warmth to the cool spring months and the flowers tend to be on the large side, so they look great in mixed flower beds or as a focal point.
I also like that this variety is particularly wind-resistant and has a strong stem reaching around 45cm, making it shorter and stouter than other varieties. When the flowers open fully, you can see softer yellow shades at the centre as well.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this list and found a new variety of tulip to grow in the UK! Most of these bulbs are best planted in the Autumn, so make sure you order (or pre-order) them from Dutch Grown in plenty of time. While your tulips are busy growing, it might be a good time to expand the vegetable patch too – read my article about Growing Garlic Bought from the Supermarket next.