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Top 10 Showstopping Tulip Bulbs to Plant for Spring Color

Plant these tulips in fall for an explosion of color when spring arrives. They'll look spectacular arranged in a bouquet or in a vase.

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La Belle Epoque

Type: Double (peony flowered)

Bloom time: Late spring

Double tulips—both early and late—present extra flower power. The blooms grow up to 4 inches across, and many offer interesting scents.

Why we love it: La Belle Epoque has a fresh color palette. Dusky rose, peach, caramel and butterscotch tones ripple quietly throughout this beauty, which pales over time. Here’s 5 more great new bulbs to plant in fall for spring blooms.

Where to buy it: Brent and Becky’s Bulbs

Mary Ann

Type: Greigii

Bloom time: Early spring

Low-growing greigii tulips are native to Central Asia. Their striped, wavy leaves are as big an attraction as their cup-shaped flowers, which splay wide open in sun and then close up at night. Some gardeners find greigii to be more long-lived compared to other tulip types.

Why we love it: Mary Ann is a head turner, with magenta and white petals that mature to pale pink and raspberry. Blue-gray-green leaves are delicately striped with burgundy.

Where to buy it: Longfield Gardens

Check out 7 sensational sources for flower bulbs.

Midnight Magic

Type: Double (peony flowered)

Bloom time: Late spring

Double early tulips light up any spring landscape with fresh color but are subject to whims of rain and wind. The double late tulips extend the growing season with longer-lasting bloom power. Double tulips, both early and late, often resemble peonies.

Why we love it: Midnight Magic, a double late type, offers fragrance from its deeply saturated red to burgundy petals. It works well with yellow, white or orange tulips in the garden or a vase.

Where to buy it: Longfield Gardens

Check out the ultimate guide to planting spring bulbs.

New Design

Type: Triumph

Bloom time: Midspring

Triumph tulips bridge the bloom season between single early tulips and Darwins. Best considered as annuals, triumphs are the largest category of tulips, blooming in a wide variety of colors.

Why we love it: Silky pink petals are enhanced with a creamy base on the outside and darker pink on the inside. But the leaves, rimmed with ivory to palest pink, really set New Design apart.

Where to buy it: Brent and Becky’s Bulbs

Discover 8 early-blooming flowers for spring.

Estella Rijnveld

Type: Parrot

Bloom time: Late spring

Parrot tulips, as their name implies, are puckered, fringed, scalloped and feathered—a bit like the plumes of the flamboyant bird.

Why we love it: Estella Rijnveld may be an heirloom but it’s still exciting. The flurry of red-and-white petals wave in the breeze like a cheerleader’s pompom on a stem.

Where to buy it: Longfield Gardens

Next, check out 10 of the best daffodil bulbs to plant this fall.

Yume no Murasaki

Type: Lily flowered

Bloom time: Mid-to-late spring

Lily-flowered tulips grow with sharply pointed petals similar to the style favored in the Ottoman Empire, adding an elegant touch. Even when closed, the vase-shaped buds look exotic.

Why we love it: The rich purple flair of Yume no Murasaki opens to show a white base, especially on sunny days.

Where to buy it:

Critters eating your tulip bulbs? Try these deer-resistant bulbs for spring blooms.


Type: Viridiflora

Bloom time: Late spring

Viridifloras—from the Latin words for green and flower—boast vivid green stripes along the centers of their petals and rank among the longest-lasting tulips, blooming up to three weeks.

Why we love it: The unusual coloration of Artist, one of the first viridiflora tulips, shows ingenious elegance during the life of the bloom, and transforms from bright orange with green and purple markings to peach, olive and lavender.

Where to buy it: Longfield Gardens

Learn why fall is the perfect time to plant perennials.

Exotic Emperor

Type: Fosteriana

Bloom time: Early spring

Fosterianas, also called emperor tulips, are descendants of wild tulips from Central Asia. And some of their tenacity remains in these early-spring favorites that reliably return year after year.

Why we love it: Exotic Emperor, with its elegant semi-double creamy blooms, becomes paler over time, enhanced by licks of yellow and green on its exterior petals. Bonus: Exotic Emperor does well in pots.

Where to buy it: Longfield Gardens

Ready for fall? Check out 9 fun outdoor container ideas.

Banja Luka

Type: Darwin hybrid

Bloom time: Midspring

Darwin hybrid tulips are big, bold and brassy. Introduced in the U.S. in the 1950s, they are a cross between single late tulips and early fosteriana tulips, with large, sturdy flowers that rebloom several years after their first big burst.

Why we love it: Banja Lukas shine with gold petals streaked with orange-crimson. Plant them with solid purple tulips to pair in a vase.

Where to buy it:

Love daffodils? Experts explain why your daffodils may not bloom in the spring.

Lilac Wonder

Type: Species

Bloom time: Midspring

Species tulips form a huge group of wild types from which all modern tulips were developed. The small, tough plants are ideal for rock gardens or places with excellent drainage.

Why we love it: With unusual rosy lilac petals and a deep yellow center that glows like a searchlight, Lilac Wonder is a true charmer, reaching only 6 to 7 inches tall.

Where to buy it:

Can’t get enough tulips? Here are 10 more tulips that you’ll love.

Deb Wiley
Deb Wiley is a freelance writer and editor from Des Moines, Iowa. She loves plants that attract birds to her garden.