Join the RHS today and support our charitable work
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Free entry to RHS members at selected times »
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Help us achieve our goals
Join the RHS today and support our charity
I have forgotten my password
Register for free to receive our newsletters, add comments to blogs/articles and to save content.
See what events are on near you and browse your bookmarked pages.
Tulip fire is a fungal disease of tulips caused by Botrytis tulipae, which produces brown spots and twisted, withered and distorted leaves. It is so named because plants appear scorched by fire.
Tulip fire. Image: RHS, Horticultural Science
Tulip fire is caused by the fungus Botrytis tulipae. It is closely related to the grey mould pathogen Botrytis cinerea. Leaf symptoms are visible from when leaves emerge in late winter until they die back in summer.
The disease only affects tulips.
You may see the following symptoms:
Tulips are also sometimes affected by grey bulb rot caused by another fungus, Rhizoctonia solani. This causes similar symptoms to tulip fire. Usually bulbs infected with Rhizoctonia solani fail to emerge, but if they do, they may be distorted in a similar way to tulip fire. However, they won’t show the fuzzy grey fungal growth.
There are no chemical controls available to home gardeners for use against tulip fire.
Botrytis tulipae is closely related to the grey mould pathogen Botrytis cinerea. B. cinerea has a very wide host range, but B. tulipae is one of a number of species which attack specific plants, in this case only Tulipa spp.
This fungus spreads in two ways:
BulbsBulbs: plantingDisposing of diseased materialGrey mouldNew Disease Report by RHS Scientists - new disease affecting tulipsTulipsTulip viruses
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.