How To Choose: Annual and Perennial Tulip Varieties
Officially, Tulips are perennial plants. Originating in the steppes of Central Asia, they evolved at altitude in harsh winters and dry summers. Through hybridizing and the difficulties of matching the original Himalayan climate, the tendency of many tulips to perennialize has diminished.
However, at High Country Gardens, we offer Tulip selections with the strongest perennial features. We carry mostly Darwin Tulips, Emperor Tulips, and perennial Wildflower Tulips, known for the ability to return for years to come, and to spread and naturalize. Triumph Tulips and Tulipa greigii may also return for more than one season. For gardeners looking for those classic bright blooms, we also carry annual tulips that will generally not return for a second season.
- Darwin Tulips are reliably perennial for up to 3 years (sometimes longer). They are garden stars, with large flowers on sturdy stems.
- Wildflower Tulips, sometimes called Specie Tulips and Candlestick Tulips, naturalize well. They come back year after year and spread to form colonies of color. They are short, just 4-6 inches tall, but the small flowers open wide to form a carpet of color. They make a great spring border in a perennial bed.
- Emperor Tulips are known for their bright colors, pointed petals, and for their ability to naturalize and return year after year.
- Annual Tulips work well for areas that need a splash of color and variety, and are best for areas where you are not looking to make a long-term investment.