Tulip Varieties: Mid-Season Flowering Tulips
Tulips that usually bloom in April or early May are considered mid-season or mid-spring flowering tulips. Three divisions are usually considered mid-season flowering tulips: Darwin hybrids, triumph, and parrot. The genus Tulipa includes over 100 different species of plants with more than 4,000 varieties. Although they are associated with the Dutch, they are not native to Holland. They are originally native to southern Europe and Asia. They were introduced to China and Mongolia by the Turkish Empire and eventually made their way to the Netherlands several hundreds years ago.
Over the years, there have been different ways of classifying tulips. As species were crossbred, divisions had to created or merged. Most recently, the Royal General Bulb Growers Association of the Netherlands adopted a classification system with fifteen different divisions. Tulips were then assigned a division based on several factors including their time of bloom and parentage.
Because of this, the divisions can generally be categorized as early flowering, mid-season flowering, or late flowering.
Darwin Hybrid Tulips
Darwin hybrid tulips were created by in 1943 by crossing Fosteriana tulips with Darwin tulips (which are now part of the single late class). They grow about 30 inches high and are some of the tallest long-stemmed tulips available. The flowers are also large, approximately 6 inches in diameter when they open. Immature blossoms usually look like a pyramid. Flowers are available in shades of white, pink, yellow, orange, red, purple, and black. They come in solid, speckled, and striped varieties.
TIP: Our expert gardening advisor, Susan Patterson suggests, "Provide support for tall tulips by staking."
If you want to grow tulips for cut flowers, these are amongst the best to grow. However, because of their size, they need to be grown in a spot that is sheltered from the wind. They are good for beds, borders, and indoor forcing. Darwin hybrids are also one of the better perennial tulips because they come back looking great for years. They don't decline in appearance after the first couple of years like other tulips can. However, it is important that you do not remove or cut the leaves after they bloom if you want them to come back.
TIP: Susan advises, "Do not feed tulips immediately after they flower."
They are hardiest in USDA Zones 3 through 7. Some popular varieties of Darwin hybrid tulips are Ad Rem, Apeldoorn, Apeldoorn Elite, Banja Luka, Big Chief, Burning Heart, Daydream, Golden Apeldoorn, Golden Oxford, Ivory Floradale, Kingsblood, Ollioules, Olympic Fame, Oxford, Parade, and Pink Impression.
Triumph tulips are the result of crossing single early tulips and single late tulips. They are the largest division and come in every imaginable color. Their flowers form the traditional tulip shape on top of sturdy stems that make them durable in stormy weather. They flower in late April about 10 days before Darwin hybrids do, and grow about 10 to 16 inches high.
Triumph tulips are considered the absolute best type of tulip for indoor forcing, and make excellent cut flowers because they have a long vase life. They are hardiest in USDA Zones 3 through 7. Some popular varieties of triumph tulips are Apricot Beauty, Arabian Mystery, Barcelona, Bastogne, Beauty Queen, Calgary, Dreaming Maid, Don Quichotte, Francoise, Gavota, Happy Generation, Helmar, Jan Reus, lle de France, Negrita, New Design, Passionale, Pays Bas, Peer Gynt, Prinses Irene (Princess Irene), Shirley, Strong Gold, Wendy Love, White Dream, and Zurel.
Parrot tulips have large flowers with curly, fringed edges and twisted petals that almost resemble feathers. However, they get their name from their bud, which tends to resemble a parrot's beak. As the flowers are exposed to the sun, they open wide until they almost flatten out. Blooms are available in shades of white, pink, peach, yellow, orange, red, and purple. Many are bi-colored and almost all are very vibrant.
Most of these tulips were developed from mutations of late flowering and triumph tulips, so their bloom time varies between mid to late season. They can grow between 12 to 28 inches high and are hardiest in USDA Zones 4 through 7. They are very sensitive to bad weather and do not stand up well to wind and rain. A few tulips of this variety are scented. Some popular varieties of parrot tulips are the Apricot Parrot, Black Parrot, Blue Parrot, Estella Rynveldt, Fantasy, Flaming Parrot, Green Wave, Orange Favorite, Rococo, Red Champion, Texas Gold, Yellow Sunshine, and White Parrot.
You can encourage tulips to bloom if you feed tullips twice a year, once in the early spring just after you see them popping out of the ground and again before they bloom. Conserve moisture and protect tulips by spreading a 2 inch layer of mulch over the planting area.
TIP: Susan adds, "Cut back foliage after it has turned yellow and is limp."
Pinching dead flowers before they go to seed will encourage blooming for next year. Water new tulip bulbs unless you expect a good rain.
TIP: Susan suggests, "Divide bulbs every 3 years by digging up and taking off the offsets. New bulbs will flower in 1 to 3 years."