Repeat Flowering Perennial Tulips - how to choose Tulips which flower again

The majority of Tulips bulbs we buy are not perennial. Tulips have been bred to produce strong blooms, and to flower in our climate, which is not the natural climate for Tulips. 

Wild tulip are found in Central Asia and Caucasus region, also Afganistan, Jordon and Kurdistan. These are small Tulips with unimpressive flowers and, along with Tulipa schrenckii, which inhabit the Eurasian steppe, these simple tulips form the complex flowers we grow today. The natural climate is very cold winters, and hot dry summers not akin to the UK.

Most Tulips bulbs are sold as bedding, and with the cut flower market in mind, and are best treated as annuals. Unless they are specifically one of the perennial varieties, it is not worth the time and trouble of trying to coax them into weedy flowers for next year. Dig them up and compost.

There are a few types of Tulips which may flower again the next year. If you want a more permanent display , check out any of the varieties listed below which are billed as perennial Tulips.

Tulip "everlasting mixed"

Thompson and Morgan sell a Tulip called "Everlasting mixed" which is classified as perennial, illustrated left a great collection of bold bright colours - click here for more details (affiliate link.)

The Viridiflora types with a single flower quite tall, 45cms May flowering: 'Spring Green' 'Artist' and 'Groenland'/'Greenland

Darwin varieties are good for subsequent flowering such as  Apeldoorn’s Elite, ' Golden Apeldoorn' a very reliable bright yellow;  tulip Burning Heart a red and white variety; Red Apeldoorn bright red; Olympic Flame a really strong bright yellow and red illustrated above left;  Mystic van Eijk a lovely soft pink and apricot;  and Golden Parade award winning and as you might expect very yellow.

Other repeat-flower include creamy white 'Purissima'; 'Mistress' a smokey pink andLily group Ballade and orange 'Ballerina' illustrated above right .

There are dwarf perennial Tulips which are also handy for windy spots and balconies such 'Red Riding Hood' and the multi-headed 'Fusilier'.

Plant them deeper than usual, about 4x plus the bulb size. After flowering dead head, and leave the foliage to die down naturally and they will, probably, be back next year.

Last updated 16.10.2021