Search
Generic filters
Search in title
Search in content
Filter by Custom Post Type
Products
Pages
Posts
Filter by Product Categories
Tulips
All Tulips
Tulip Blends
Tulip Singles
Wild Tulips
Cubed Blends
Squared Blends
BedSpreads®
Perennial Tulips
Darwin Hybrids
Double Tulips
Daffodils
All Daffodils
Daffodils for Naturalizing
Gold Standard Daffodils
Daffodil Blends
Double Daffodils
Uncommon Daffodils
Miniature Daffodils
Landscape-Size Daffodils
Fragrant Daffodils
Daffodils for the South
Jonquils
Hyacinths
Alliums
Specialty Bulbs
Crocuses
Grape Hyacinths
Other Spring-Flowering Bulbs
Indoor Bulbs
Amaryllises
Paperwhites
Planting Tools
Shop by Bloom Time
Very Early
Early
Early-Mid
Mid
Mid-Late
Late
Very Late
Shop by Color
Yellow
Apricot
Orange
Red
Pink
Purple
Lavender
Blue
Green
Cream
White
Maroon
Paperwhites
Bulbs for the South
Web Only Bulbs
Bulbs for Cutting
New This Fall
Deer Resistant Bulbs
Bulbs for Naturalizing
Rodent Resistant
Apparel
Shade Tolerant Bulbs
All Bulbs
Colorblends / Bulb Articles / Perennial Tulips

Bulb Articles

Perennial Tulips

It’s a Common Frustration:

You buy tulip bulbs, plant them in the fall and enjoy a great display in the spring. But the following spring, all you get is a smattering of flowers and maybe a bunch of leaves. “What happened? ” you ask yourself. “Aren’t tulips supposed to come back? My grandmother has tulips that have bloomed every spring for as long as she can remember. Did I do something wrong? ”

Pampered Beginnings

More than likely, you are not to blame. It’s in the nature of tulips. Most are not strong perennializers in the landscape. They don’t flower well the second year after planting.

Why don’t tulips come back? The tulip bulbs you buy and plant in the fall have been groomed to bloom. They were raised in sandy Dutch soil and fertilized in just the right measure. When they bloomed in the spring, the flowers were cut off soon after they opened to keep them from drawing too much energy from the bulbs. The leaves were allowed to continue to grow for another six weeks in the famously cool Dutch weather. After going dormant in early summer, the bulbs were dug and stored in a climate-controlled warehouse to mimic a long, hot, bone-dry summer in the mountains of Central Asia, which is where most tulips are native.

Splitsville USA

All of this TLC yields a high percentage of flowering-size bulbs, including many topsize bulbs, which measure 12 centimeters in circumference or larger. A topsize bulb can’t get bigger, but it will get smaller, typically by splitting into two or more smaller bulbs. Under less-than-perfect garden conditions, when the bulbs split into smaller bulbs, those smaller bulbs may take years to grow to flowering size. Some may also rot due to heavy soil or excess moisture. And so your breathtaking tulip display dwindles to little or nothing.

Bucking the Odds

Despite the obstacles, there are some tulips that are willing (but not guaranteed) to bloom well for more than one year. The best known are the Darwin Hybrids, but other types, such as the Fosterianas, and many of the wild, or species, tulips also have perennial tendencies. They won’t keep going indefinitely, but it’s possible to get two or three reasonably good displays from them before you feel the need to replant. You can find a list of these tulips on our Perennial Tulips page, along with tips on encouraging perennial behavior.

Honest Talk

Some bulb companies feature perennial tulips and charge a premium for them. Since repeat performances are never a sure thing, Colorblends avoids making promises the bulbs may not keep. We’d rather keep our prices wholesale and our information straight.