Top 10 Tulip Favorites

Our top tulips were chosen for their wide variety of color, size, and bloom time.

There’s nothing quite as welcoming in a winter-weary backyard as a bright sea of tulips ruffling in a spring breeze. Perhaps the most beloved bulbs of all time, tulips come in endless combinations of color, shape and size. And they bloom at so many different times that you can plan to have tulips all season long.

Becky Heath of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs knows just about every new and old variety on the market. We asked her to help us narrow down our search for the best of the best tulip bulbs. We organized them by category and included bloom time as well. Use this list to help choose your favorites for planting next fall.

  • Tulips
    ANNE GILBERT/ALAMY

    Best Lily-flowered: Ballerina

    Zones 4 to 8

    Like long-legged dancers practicing pirouettes, these elegant tulips gracefully sway in the breeze on tall, strong 16- to 20-inch stems. Their sweetly scented petals, with blood-red exteriors and orange-and-yellow edges, may put you in mind of flickering flames.

    Why we love it: It’s incredibly hardy, with a lengthy bloom time and striking colors.

    Bloom time: Late spring.

  • Prinses Irene

    Best Bicolor: Prinses Irene

    Zones 3 – 8

    Although orange and purple might not be an obvious color combination, this peculiar pairing works perfectly here. The very fragrant, outrageously bright blooms have a pale-purple flame rising up the center. The stately stems grow up to 18 inches tall and look lovely in a bouquet.

    Why we love it: We’re crazy about odd color pairings, and this one is royally unique. Try it with Jolly Joker pansies, another orange-and-purple beauty.

    Bloom time: Early to mid-spring.

  • Tulips
    Brent and Becky's Bulbs

    Best Multiple Flower: Happy Family

    Zones 3 to 9

    Grow happy little tulip families with this fun variety. The petals are purplish-pink and sometimes have a fine white line. This wonderful multiflowering tulip has one large flower, one medium flower and several small blooms: an entire family on one 14- to 16-inch stem!

    Why we love it: Gardeners adore getting more bang for their buck, and this tulip reliably grows several blooms per stem.

    Bloom time: Mid- to late spring.

  • Professor Rontgen
    Brent and Becky's Bulbs

    Best Parrot: Professor Rontgen

    Zones 4 to 7

    Fancy fringed parrot tulips grab a lot of attention, and this one boasts heavily frilled and scalloped petals in a striking color combo. Rose, lemon-yellow and mandarin-red petals flecked with green grow on 17- to 21-inch stems.

    Why we love it: The petals are extremely full and showy with their exotically frilly edges.

    Bloom time: Mid- to late spring.

  • Yellow Present

    Best Cottage-style: Yellow Present

    Zones 3 to 8

    At first blush, this tulip may not seem all that special, but it’s truly a gift to your garden. Very strong and stout, it stands up to tough weather on its 12- to 14-inch stems. And if you look more closely, you’ll see that its creamy yellow exterior and sunny golden interior make quite the pretty package.

    Why we love it: It is one of the toughest Triumph tulips available and is more perennial than many others.

    Bloom Time: Mid- to late spring.

  • Tulips
    Brent and Becky's Bulbs

    Best New Variety: Mystic van Eijk

    Zones 3 to 8

    This new Darwin hybrid is a wonderful combination of old-fashioned pink and dark pinkish-red flames, making it a fascinating addition to your late-spring garden. The long-lasting blooms on 16- to 18-inch stems look lovely in bouquets.

    Why we love it: These strong, sturdy stems are healthy and one of the best perennial tulips, flowering for several seasons.

    Bloom time: Mid- to late spring.

  • Tulips
    JOHN GLOVER/ALAMY

    Best Mini: Lady Jane

    Zones 3 to 8

    The candy-striped petals are a delicious rose-red with bright white interiors. Growing only 8 to 10 inches tall, it’s ideal for spring beds and borders—and you’ll like its tendency to return year after year.

    Why we love it: On sunny spring days, the flower opens fully to expose its brilliant white interior.

    Bloom time: Mid- to late spring.

  • Pink Impression

    Best Traditional: Pink Impression

    Zones 3 to 8

    The most popular tulips tend to be the standards, like this beautiful pink one. Simple yet stunning, it blends several shades of rose and stands large and impressive on strong 20- to 22-inch stems.

    Why we love it: As a Darwin hybrid, this tulip is more perennial than others. It is large, showy and really stands out in the garden.

    Bloom time: Mid-spring.

  • Monsella

    Best Double Bloom: Monsella

    Zones 3 to 8

    With its sweet scent and riot of color, this double early tulip turns heads in the garden. Canary-yellow petals are streaked with blood-red flames. It’s a tough little flower, growing on strong 12-inch stems, and quite long-lasting in the garden.

    Why we love it: It’s among the earliest double tulips and also forces without much fuss.

    Bloom time: Early spring.

  • Perestroyka

    Best Tall: Perestroyka

    Zones 3 to 8

    This giant egg-shaped tulip is a stunning late bloomer. When it first opens, you see scarlet, muted orange and yellow, but from a distance the flower is a lovely, dusky salmon-rose color. At 24 to 30 inches, it towers over most other blooms.

    Why we love it: It grows tall and strong, making it an excellent cut flower mixed with other late-spring blooms in a bouquet.

    Bloom time: Late spring.

  • More From Birds & Blooms
  • Tulips

    Best Lily-flowered: Ballerina

  • Prinses Irene

    Best Bicolor: Prinses Irene

  • Tulips

    Best Multiple Flower: Happy Family

  • Professor Rontgen

    Best Parrot: Professor Rontgen

  • Yellow Present

    Best Cottage-style: Yellow Present

  • Tulips

    Best New Variety: Mystic van Eijk

  • Tulips

    Best Mini: Lady Jane

  • Pink Impression

    Best Traditional: Pink Impression

  • Monsella

    Best Double Bloom: Monsella

  • Perestroyka

    Best Tall: Perestroyka

Trackbacks

Add a Comment

Want more garden tips for your backyard?

Get ideas and advice for a beautiful landscape with our free Gardening newsletter!

Enter your email address: