25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (2024)

Choosing the best tulip bulbs to plant can be challenging because each one seems more breathtaking than the next. These spring-blooming bulbs come in just about every color of the rainbow and range from the classic flower types to petal-packed peony tulips and frilly parrot types. Pick from these popular tulip varieties for an unforgettable spring show.

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Negrita

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (1)

This tulip variety's large deep purple petals look stunning in garden beds or borders, especially when planted with orange- or yellow-flowered spring-blooming plants. 'Negrita' has strong stems that hold up to wind and rain and make it an excellent cut flower.

Bloom Season: Mid spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 16 inches tall

Zones: 3-8

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Prinses Irene

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (2)

With uniquely colored blooms and floral fragrance, 'Prinses Irene' never fails to impress. The flowers have orange petals with vibrant purple markings in a classic tulip shape. It's also an ideal spring bulb for forcing into bloom early.

Bloom Season: Early to mid spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 14 inches tall

Zones: 3-8

Buy It: 'Prinses Irene' Tulip ($14 for 12, White Flower Farm)

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Sweetheart

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (3)

This fosteriana tulip variety has large lemon-yellow petals tipped with white. These long-lasting, fragrant flowers combine effortlessly with other bulbs and spring-blooming plants. Here, 'Sweetheart' is shown with 'Mercato' daffodil. You'll want to show off this beauty in a vase.

Bloom Season: Early to mid spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 18 inches tall

Zones: 3-8

Buy It: Sweetheart Tulip Bulbs ($14 for ten, Burpee)

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Zurel

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (4)

The boldly colored triumph hybrid 'Zurel' has large white blooms with deep purple streaks. It has strong, sturdy stems, perfect for creating stunning spring cut flower arrangements.

Bloom Season: Mid to late spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 20 inches tall

Zones: 3-8

Buy It: Zurel Tulip Bulbs ($8 for 10 bulbs, Hudson Valley Seed Company)

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Unicum

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (5)

Perhaps the best tulip bulb for a bold statement in spring, 'Unicum' offers bright red-orange flowers and gorgeous cream-striped foliage. This is one of the best perennial tulips that reliably comes back every year and bears several blooms per stem.

Bloom Season: Mid spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 1 foot tall

Zones: 3-8

7 Facts Every Tulip Lover Should Know

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Menton

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This single late hybrid variety is one of the latest tulips to bloom, so plan on it appearing in late April and May. 'Menton' bears pink flowers with orange and salmon tones, accented by white stripes. Its large flowers and long stems make it an excellent cut flower.

Bloom Season: Late spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 2 feet tall

Zones: 3-8

Fusilier

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (7)

A showstopper each year in the Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden, 'Fusilier' is a species tulip that produces up to four red-orange blooms on each stem. Plant these low-growing bulbs to add bright spring color to a rock garden, along a path, or at the front of a flower bed.

Bloom Season: Mid spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 1 foot tall

Zones: 3-8

Buy It: Praestans Fusilier ($12 for ten, Dutch Flower Bulbs)

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Estella Rijnveld

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (8)

Frilly and fabulous 'Estella Rijnveld' is a parrot tulip with bold red and white flowers with fringed and twisted petals. The large blooms and long stems make for beautiful cut flowers, but they don't hold up well to wind or rain, so plant this variety in a sheltered location.

Bloom Season: Mid to late spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 24 inches tall

Zones: 3-8

Buy It: Estella Rijnveld Tulip ($16 for eight, Breck's)

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Black Parrot

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (9)

Add a little smolder to your spring garden with the dark blooms of 'Black Parrot'. Its fantastically fringed and twisted petals make it one of the best tulip bulbs for show-stopping blooms. This parrot tulip resembles the colorful feathers of the tropical bird of the same name. However, their beak-shaped buds are what earned them their moniker.

Bloom Season: Late spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 20 inches

Zones: 3-8

Buy It: Black Parrot Tulip Bulbs ($30 for 12, The Home Depot)

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Montreux

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (10)

Kick off spring with 'Montreux', an early-blooming tulip variety that offers double, ivory-yellow flowers. Double hybrid tulips look almost like peonies, adding a soft, romantic-style flair to the garden.

Bloom Season: Early to mid spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 18 inches tall

Zones: 3-8

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Angelique

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (11)

Perhaps the best tulip bulbs for an elegant feel, 'Angelique' bears fragrant, double pink flowers that look like peonies. This sturdy beauty holds up well as a cut flower. However, double tulips' large, heavy blooms can be damaged by rains and strong winds, so plant them in a sheltered location or grow them in a container you can easily protect during storms.

Bloom Season: Late spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 18 inches tall

Zones: 3-8

Buy It: Angelique Tulips Bulbs ($30 for 12, The Home Depot)

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Pink Impression

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (12)

An all-around excellent Darwin hybrid tulip variety, 'Pink Impression' bears vibrant pink flowers in May. It's a spring favorite in the Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden because it never fails to impress. It's also one of the most popular varieties to grow for cut flowers thanks to its tall, strong stems and large blooms. With proper bulb care, these beauties will return year after year.

Bloom Season: Late spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 22 inches tall

Zones: 3-8

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Burning Heart

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (13)

No wonder striped tulips were among the most valuable during Holland's tulip mania in the 1600s. 'Burning Heart' is an exceptional selection with creamy blooms streaked with bold red. This Darwin hybrid tulip is one of the tallest tulips with flowers that can reach 6 inches in diameter when fully open. It's also one of the best perennial tulips, which means it will likely come back and flower again for several years after planting.

Bloom Season: Mid spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 22 inches tall

Zones: 3-8

Peony Tulips Are The Crossover Your Garden Needs—Here's How to Grow

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Big Smile

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (14)

After growing 'Big Smile', you'll understand why it earned its name. The big, golden-yellow flowers are perfect for cutting and the best tulip bulb to plant for a cheery way to close the season. This single late hybrid has long stems and looks most stunning when planted in groups or with other spring-blooming bulbs.

Bloom Season: Late spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 26 inches tall

Zones: 3-8

Buy It: Big Smile Tulip ($13 for 12, Breck's)

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Tulipa tarda

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (15)

One of the best tulips for naturalizing, this wild species offers thin leaves and golden flowers with white-tipped petals. Because Tulipa tarda is a species tulip, it tends to reliably come back every year and blooms longer than most hybrid types.

Bloom Season: Early spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

Size: To 4 inches tall

Zones: 3-8

Buy It: Tulipa tarda ($9, K. van Bourgondien)

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Tubergen's Gem

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (16)

Sometimes called the candlestick tulip, 'Tubergen's Gem' has rich red outer petals and sunny yellow inner petals, resembling a candle flame. This low-growing species tulip is one of the best choices for naturalizing, meaning it will slowly spread around the area where you plant it.

Bloom Season: Mid spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 10 inches tall

Zones: 2-10

Mix Houseplants and Spring Bulbs in an Easy-to-Make Dish Garden

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Tulipa linifolia

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This short but sweet species tulip is easy to fall in love with. Tulipa linifolia produces bright red blooms early in the season. When its petals open, they reveal a dark, purple-black splotch at the base of the flower. Also known as flax-leaved tulip, this low-growing wild type naturalizes well, so plant it once and enjoy it for many years to come.

Bloom Season: Mid spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 6 inches tall

Zones: 3-8

Buy It: Linifolia ($7 for ten, Dutch Flower Bulbs)

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Lilac Wonder

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A dainty yet distinctive pink tulip variety, 'Lilac Wonder' flowers open to reveal a bright yellow blotch at the base. It's a reliable perennial variety that often produces more flowers yearly.

Bloom Season: Mid spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 6 inches tall

Zones: 3-8

Buy It: Lilac Wonder Tulip ($10, Breck's)

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Tulipa kolpakowskiana

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (19)

An heirloom species tulip, Tulipa kolpakowskiana offers small, bright yellow flowers with red streaks on the outer petals.

Bonus: It often produces more than one bloom per stem.

Bloom Season: Mid spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 8 inches tall

Zones: 3-8

Buy It: Kolpakowskiana ($8 for ten, Dutch Flower Bulbs)

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Tulipa turkestanica

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (20)

This fragrant species tulip bears up to 12 white blooms with golden centers on each stem. Tulipa turkestanica reliably returns each year where the bulbs are hardy and grows well under deciduous trees and shrubs.

Bloom Season: Early spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 10 inches tall

Zones: 4-8

Buy It: Tulipa turkestanica ($11 for ten, DutchGrown)

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Persian Pearl

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (21)

Count on 'Persian Pearl' to return every year. This colorful little beauty offers magenta-rose blooms with a bright yellow center that's revealed on warm, sunny days. It's also a deer-resistant plant.

Bloom Season: Early spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 4 inches tall

Zones: 3-8

Buy It: Persian Pearl Tulip Bulbs ($22 for 25, The Home Depot)

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Queen of Night

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (22)

Appearing in late spring, 'Queen of Night' offers some of the darkest flowers found in a tulip. Its velvety, deep purple flowers make it one of the best tulip bulbs to plant for contrast along a colorful flower border or in a fresh flower arrangement.

Bloom Season: Late spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 2 feet tall

Zones: 3-8

Buy It: Queen of Night Tulip Bulbs ($27 for 12, The Home Depot)

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Burgundy Lace

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (23)

Deep wine-red blooms and fringed petals give 'Burgundy Lace' a delicate beauty all its own. The rich color stands out among most other spring-blooming plants, and these tall tulips have very strong stems that hold up well in rain or wind.

Bloom Season: Mid to late spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 26 inches tall

Zones: 3-8

Buy It: Burgundy Lace Fringed Tulips ($7 for 12, Holland Bulb Farms)

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Fancy Frills

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (24)

This pink-flowered tulip variety lives up to its name with its lacy-looking petal edges. Plant these bulbs with blue grape hyacinths for a stunning color combination.

Bloom Season: Mid spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 16 inches tall

Zones: 3-9

Buy It: Fancy Frills Fringed Tulip ($8 for 12, Holland Bulb Farms)

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Red Riding Hood

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (25)

This sturdy greigii-type hybrid tulip may be on the short side, but it's impossible to miss its bright red blooms. The mottled purple foliage provides the perfect foil for the vibrantly hued petals and echoes the dark centers.

Bloom Season: Mid spring

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 10 inches tall

Zones: 3-8

Buy It: Red Riding Hood Tulip ($15 for ten, Breck's)

25 of the Best Tulip Bulbs to Plant in Fall for a Spring Garden (2024)

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