© RHS/Joanna Kossak



Botanical name: Tulipa

Common name: Tulip

Tulips provide a splash of spring colour in dazzling shades. Different flower forms add to this variety, with lily-, fringed-, parrot- and peony-flowered forms. They are ideal for filling borders, growing in rock gardens and for bedding schemes. A few smaller specialist tulips are best grown in a cool greenhouse.


In mid- to late spring, cup-shaped flowers rise on single stems above wide strap-like green or green-grey leaves. Flowers stalks emerge from cream-white bulbs covered by a papery brown skin.   


Tulips grow well in soil rich in organic matter. They like a cool moist conditions in spring, with a dry warm summer conditions for their summer 'rest' (dormancy). Most grow in an open position full sun, although some tolerate part-shade.  


Tulips like good drainage, so don't do well on very heavy clay soils where bulbs may rot if the ground becomes waterlogged.  

Did you know?

The species tulip, Tulipa sprengeri, was first introduced to cultivation in Turkey in the nineteenth century. Sadly, it is now extinct in the wild but still thrives in gardens, naturalising in part-shade on moisture-retentive soils. 

Growing guide

Browse tulips

Border tulips

Specialist tulips

Tulips by position in the garden

Tulips that last more than one year

Tulips with different shaped flowers

Tulips by flowering period

Tulips with special features

Tulips we recommend

Useful advice

Bulbs: planting

Bulbs: planting

Bulbs: propagation

Bulbs: propagation

Tulip fire

Tulip fire

Tulip viruses

Tulip viruses

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