Old House Gardens
From America’s Expert Source for Heirloom Flower Bulbs

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Page 6 of Heirloom Tulip Bulbs       << Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6
SILVER STANDARD, 1760        Rarest
A lot has changed since 1760 (heck, the United States wasn’t even the United States back then), but ‘Silver Standard’ is still one of the world’s most exciting flowers. A true broken tulip, it’s a dazzling combination of purest white boldly splashed with red and guaranteed to leave you and your garden visitors standing open-mouthed in awe. Last offered in 2010, Single Early, 12-14”, zones 4b-7a(7bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Chart to compare.
TU91Add to basket:1/$12.503/$345/$5410/$10025/$225
SPAENDONCK, 1893        Web-Only & Rarest
Many spectacular broken tulips bloom in our trial garden, but it seems EVERYONE wants to take ‘Spaendonck’ home with them. With its shapely blooms swirled with crimson, lilac, and rosy-purple on cream, it’s a fitting tribute to Cornelis van Spaendonck (1756-1840), Dutch flower painter and director of the great Sevres porcelain works. Single Early, 12-14”, zones 4b-7a(7bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Chart to compare.
TU997Add to basket:1/$12.503/$345/$5410/$10025/$225Limit 25, please.
THE LIZARD, 1903        Rarest
Weird name, cool flower. With “much rich beauty to commend it” (in the words of the 1929 Scheepers catalog), this true broken tulip is a swirling tapestry of “all shades of deep lilac and dark reddish rose” feathered and flamed on creamy yellow and white. “The whole is rich and strange” — and glorious! Single Late, 20-24”, late-blooming, zones 4a-7a(7bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Chart to compare.
TU977Add to basket:1/$12.503/$345/$5410/$10025/$225
TOURNESOL RED AND YELLOW, 1769        Rarest
This voluptuous, nearly 250-year-old double tulip has billowing red petals edged with a mellow, butterscotch yellow, making it colorful enough for Victorian carpet-bedding yet lovely enough that it was once a leading cut-flower at London’s stylish Covent Garden market. Today it’s exceptionally rare, and we’re thrilled to be able to offer it! Double Early, 10-12”, zones 4a-7a(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Chart to compare.
TU956Add to basket:1/$10.503/$28.505/$4510/$8425/$189Limit 25, please.
WAPEN VAN LEIDEN, 1760        Rarest
Did Benjamin Franklin grow this legendary tulip? He could have! Its lively rose and white petals are illuminated by a broad yellow flare at the base, and its antique shape echoes the pointed-petaled tulips of Elizabethan herbals. Wapen means “coat of arms,’ and it was to Leiden in the late 1500s that Clusius brought the first tulips ever grown in the Netherlands. Single Early, 12-14”, zones 4b-7a(7bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Chart to compare.
TU71Add to basket:1/$10.503/$28.505/$4510/$8425/$189Limit 25, please.
WHITE TRIUMPHATOR, 1942
When Ryan Gainey, the godfather of romantic Southern gardens, called to say this was one of his favorite tulips but he was having trouble finding true stock, we knew we had to offer it. Touched with the slightest hint of spring green, its long white petals twist and reflex just slightly, languidly, cool and elegant. Lily-flowered, 24”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart to compare.
TU932Add to basket:5/$9.5010/$1825/$4150/$76100/$141
WILDHOF, 1953
Although we’re still mourning the loss of ‘Alabaster’ and ‘Diana’; (both commercially extinct, though counterfeits are rife), when this sparkling white, mid-season, mid-century RHS Award of Garden Merit winner blooms here, we feel a lot better. Triumph, 18-22”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart to compare.
TU929Add to basket:5/$910/$1725/$3950/$72100/$133
WILLEM VAN ORANJE, 1933        New
It’s back! “Amazing!” raved our good customer Tracy DiSabato-Aust, author of The Well-Tended Perennial Garden, when this vibrant double first bloomed for her. It’s a warm, coppery peach with Renoir-like shadings of rose and cream, a sport of our best-selling ‘Peach Blossom’, and named for the father of the Dutch Republic on his 400th birthday. Double Early, 11”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart to compare.
TU60Add to basket:5/$14.5010/$27.5025/$62.5050/$116100/$215
ZOMERSCHOON, 1620        Rarest
A true survivor from the days of Tulipomania, this legendary broken tulip may be the most beautiful tulip we’ve ever grown. Its long, pointed petals are exquisitely patterned with shades of strawberry on cream. Try one yourself and you’ll understand how people could once have traded fortunes for tulips like this – in fact, for this very tulip. 16-18”, zones 4a-7a(7bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Chart to compare.
TU03Add to basket:1/$19.503/$53.505/$84Limit 5, please.

WHY GROW TULIPS? Nothing says “Spring” better than these diverse, colorful, elegantly simple flowers. They are truly icons of the season.

HISTORY – Tulips came to Europe from Turkey in the mid-1500s and zoomed to superstar status during the Dutch “Tulipomania” of the 1630s. Most prized then were “broken” tulips, feathered and flamed with contrasting colors by benign viruses. Every year we’re offering more of these rare jewels from our friends at the Hortus Bulborum.

In the early days, tulips were generally grown as mixed collections of choice individual specimens. Then with the rise of Victorian bedding-out in the mid-1800s, short, bright Single and Double Early tulips were massed in cookie-cutter beds in the lawn. Reacting against that style, early-twentieth-century gardeners favored taller, later-blooming, pastel tulips for their perennial borders.

SIZES, ETC. – We offer the largest bulbs available, 12+ cm, though species bulbs are naturally smaller. All are Dutch-grown (except two) and fall-shipped.

TULIP ARCHIVES – For customer raves, stories behind the bulbs, links, books, news, and more, see our Tulip Newsletter Archives.

TULIPS AS CUT FLOWERS – For tips for longer lasting bouquets, see our Bulbs as Cut Flowers page.

GETTING TULIPS TO LIVE FOREVER – Well, almost. Though they have a reputation for being short-lived, we know of tulips that have been blooming beautifully for decades. Here’s how to get the most out of yours.

For a start, you need to be in zone 7 or colder. (Gardeners in warmer zones can grow tulips as annuals, but you’ll need to chill them in the refrigerator for 8 weeks before planting.) Then most important, we’ve learned from experience, is keeping them DRY in SUMMER (as in their native homes). Try this: plant a few where you never water in summer – or near a thirsty shrub or tree – and see how well they return.

Beyond that, the basics include well-drained soil (improve heavy soil, or try raised beds), lots of sun, regular fertilizing, and – this is very important – letting the foliage ripen to yellow to feed the bulbs for next year’s bloom. Some authorities recommend deep planting, especially in the South – to 12 inches – but we say 6-8 inches is plenty.

Then there’s this age-old method: dig them up every summer, store them in a cool dry spot, and replant them in the fall. You’ll end up with more bulbs every year, guaranteed.

Some varieties just last better, too – often Single Earlies, Single Lates, Lily-flowered tulips, and species.

And there’s a good reason why OLD VARIETIES OFTEN PERENNIALIZE BETTER: they were bred for gardens, not for commercial pot-flower and cut-flower uses as most modern tulips have been.

Tulips do best when planted in mid- to late fall, after the soil has thoroughly cooled. Later is better than earlier with tulips. If necessary, store in open bags in a cool, dry spot (or the refrigerator – NOT the freezer).

Neutral to slightly alkaline soil is ideal, though tulips are very adaptable. Set bulbs about 6 inches apart from center to center (or closer for a lush look). For each, scratch a tablespoon of bulb fertilizer into the surface soil (slow-release 10-10-10 is ideal). Use no manure. Water well and make sure the bulbs have reliable moisture throughout their growing period, from planting in the fall through the ripening of their foliage the following summer.

PROTECTING TULIPS FROM ANIMALS – Tulips, unfortunately, seem to be a favorite on most animal menus.

If animals dig your newly-planted bulbs try covering with plastic bird-netting, wire-mesh, a window screen, or burlap bags for a couple of weeks till the inviting smell of freshly-dug earth disappears.

If animals burrow to your bulbs, try lining the planting hole with wire-mesh, plant in wire-mesh boxes, or plant in buried pots covered with a square of chicken-wire.

Moles often disturb bulbs as they dig for grubs. Killing the grubs (try beneficial nematodes or spraying your lawn with bitter, organic Mole-Med) will reduce the moles – and this will discourage voles and mice which often use mole tunnels to munch on bulbs.

If animals eat spring growth, cover it with chicken wire for a few weeks (while they are hungriest), sprinkle blood meal around it, fence them out, or – our most successful solution – spray it with bitter, non-toxic Ro-pel, available at many garden centers. Bulbs can be dipped in Ro-pel before planting, too.

To return to the beginning of Tulips, click here.

Page 6 of Heirloom Tulip Bulbs       << Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6
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