SHOPPING CART
0 ITEMS

Bulb sales for fall 2021 are SUSPENDED.
Sign up for an alert here for our end of season sale.

Fall 2022 shipping is over. Thank you for a great season!

Order these fall-planted bulbs NOW for delivery in October.

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

TULIP HISTORY – Tulips came to Europe from Turkey in the mid-1500s and zoomed to superstar status during the Dutch “Tulipomania” of the 1630s. Learn more.

GETTING TULIPS TO LIVE FOREVER – Most important is keeping them dry in summer; learn more. And if animals bother yours, check out our tips for protecting them.

Even Rarer Tulips — Every year we get a handful of spectacular bulbs that are so rare we offer them Web-Only. For an alert the moment they go on sale, subscribe to our free, monthly email newsletter.
VIEW INFO

More varied than most gardeners realize, tulips can be early, late, fragrant, wild, double, ruffled, striped, and more. Here’s an easy introduction to that blissful diversity. We’ll send you 12 bulbs: 3 fragrant early ‘Prinses Irene’, 3 ruffled late ‘Black Parrot’, 3 double ‘Willemsoord’, 3 wild slender ‘Florentine’. For zones 5a-7b(8bWC).

For 6, 9, or more of each, order additional samplers. If you’d like to be notified when it’s back in stock, click here to sign up for an email alert.

VIEW INFO

Absalon tulip     1780
Rarest

Most people have never even seen a brown tulip, let alone grown one. Here’s your chance! 18th-century ‘Absalon’ is intricately patterned with swirling flames of dark chocolate and chestnut on gold. It’s a true broken tulip, a Dutch Bizarre from the Hortus Bulborum, and sure to cause a buzz. 16”, late, zones 4a-7b(8bWC). See more brown tulips. Chart and care.

Limit 5, please.
ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

acuminata tulip     1816

Add some fireworks to your garden and bouquets with this spectacularly different tulip that Anna Pavord calls “spidery and mad.” Unknown in the wild, it’s probably the last survivor from the early 1700s when stiletto-petalled tulips like it were all the rage in the Ottoman Empire. 20”, zones 3b-7a(8aWC), from Holland. Chart and care.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

“Delectable anywhere,” writes garden-guru Ann Lovejoy, “it should be planted by the bagful.” Lightly fragrant and winner of multiple awards including the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit, this popular tulip has been celebrated for its dreamy and unusual color for over 60 years. And it’s great for forcing, too. Single Early, 14-16”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart and care.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Archeron tulip     1913
Rarest

As OHG founder Scott looked up and down the rows at the Hortus Bulborum filled with hundreds of different tulips in bloom – all of them beautiful – ‘Archeron’ stood out as something special. It’s a deep garnet-red shaded with rust and smoke, well-named for the “river of woe” in the underworld of Greek mythology. Single Late, 20-24”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Chart and care.

Limit 5, please.
ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Black and White tulip     1920
Rarest

Historic? We’re not sure. Extraordinary? Yes! This true broken tulip was discovered at the Hortus Bulborum. It’s not clear whether it’s an heirloom whose label was lost or a newly-broken version of one of their other heirloom varieties, but it’s so stunning we couldn’t resist it. With dark purple flames on creamy white petals, it’s a tulip that Tulipomaniacs of the 1630s would have given a fortune to own! Single Late, 16-20”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC). Chart and care.

Limit 5, please.
ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

The best parrot tulip of the 20th century and dramatic enough to be showcased on the covers of both Martha Stewart Living and Horticulture, ‘Black Parrot’ is a dark, glossy maroon, exuberantly ruffled and frilled. Combine it with snake’s-head fritillaries for a dusky springtime bouquet á la Martha, or pair it with ‘Kingsblood’ for a dazzling display! 19-21”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart and care.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

It’s not really blue, of course, but a soft, silvery lilac that combines amiably with just about everything. Even better, its tall, late, graceful blossoms last and last in bloom, longer than any other tulip we’ve ever grown. Darwin/Single Late, 24”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from one last farm in Holland. Chart and care.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

A sport of the great ‘Bleu Aimable’, this lavender beauty is a cool, sophisticated parrot, with petals that are gently ruffled rather than jagged and wild. In 1962 when JFK asked the impeccable Bunny Mellon to remake the dreary White House Rose Garden, she included luminous masses of ‘Blue Parrot’. Learn more. Parrot, 20-24”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart, care, and learn more.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Bridesmaid tulip     1900
Rarest

With an unusually long, slender shape this lovely broken tulip was introduced by the legendary bulb-house of Krelage and Sons. In 1907 the Peter Henderson catalog praised it as “brilliant cherry rose flushed and striped with scarlet, violet, and white, very distinct.” Aka ‘Maid of Holland’, Single Late, 14-18”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Chart and care.

Limit 5, please.
ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Cerise Gris-de-Lin tulip     1860
Rarest

“Chocolate with fawn edges” – that’s Shirley Hibbard’s evocative 1865 description of this unusually-colored tulip. But Mrs. King’s 1921 description better captures how it looks in our garden: “soft carmine-rose, shaded fawn and margined creamy white.” Either way, it’s cool! For maximum enjoyment of the chocolate and fawn tones which fade as the flower matures, pick one when it first opens and bring it inside to savor. Single Early, 10-12”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Chart and care.

Limit 5, please.
ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Clara Butt tulip     1889
Rarest & It’s Back!

Once the world’s most popular tulip, gracing hundreds of catalog covers, this willowy, shell-pink beauty was lost to gardeners in 2007 when the last US grower finally gave it up. To save it, we sent 100 bulbs from his last harvest to our friends in Holland, and now there’s enough to share! Though bred from antique Flemish stock, ‘Clara’ was the prototypical 20th-century tulip – not feathered or flamed, not short and bright, but tall, late, pastel, and lovely. Learn more. Darwin/Single Late, 22”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC). Chart and care.

Limit 10, please.
ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

clusiana tulip     1607
Rarest

A tulip for Mobile? Yes! And it’s hardy and multiplies in Boston and Denver, too! Although many sources offer this petite, charming wildflower, virtually all deliver cheap impostors such as hybrid ‘Lady Jane’ (oversized, and empty inside) or modern cream-to-yellow forms instead of the ancient rose and WHITE with its heart of deep, ravishing purple. Bill Finch of the Mobile Press-Register writes that in his garden our true clusiana has “come bursting out of the ground, each year better than the last.” It can do the same for you, in zones 6a-8b(10bWC), if you give it well-drained soil that’s relatively dry in summer. 10-14”, from Holland. Chart and care.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Columbine tulip     1929
Rarest

Named for Harlequin’s sweetheart, this dreamy Bijbloemen broken tulip has flickering purple flames on petals that, instead of pure white, are blushed with lavender. Although tulip-show judges consider that a flaw, everyone else just seem to say, “It’s beautiful!” 18-20”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Chart and care.

Limit 5, please.
ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Cottage Maid tulip     1857
Rarest

Now all but extinct, this sturdy little rose and white tulip was a popular American sweetheart for many, many years. New York City’s J.M. Thorburn offered it as early as 1872, and it continued to be widely catalogued well into the 1930s, a reflection of its charm and excellence. Thanks to the Hortus Bulborum for saving it! Single Early, 10”, zones 4b-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus. Chart and care.

Limit 5, please.
ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

The best red tulip ever? Could be! It’s definitely the only tulip this old that’s still widely grown today. Generations have prized its rich color – red with a plum blush – and its fine habit – sturdy, weather-proof, and enduring. Isn’t it time you tried it? Triumph, 12”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart, care, and learn more.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Duc de Berlin tulip     1854
Rarest

This rare ‘Duke’ is “deliciously fragrant” (W.N. Craig, 1905), and its bold color pattern — evoking Renaissance pageantry and the shields of heraldry — is one of the most enduringly popular in all of tulip history. In fact, if we assembled gardeners from, say, 1650, 1750, and 1850 and asked them to choose whichever of our tulips they liked best, we’re sure ‘Duc de Berlin’ would rank in their Top Ten. Single Early, 8-10”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus. Chart and care.

Limit 5, please.
ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

If we had to choose a dozen landmark varieties to summarize the whole amazing history of tulips, this 400-year-old miniature would be one of them. Just 6 inches tall and extra early blooming, ‘Red and Yellow’ is the grandaddy of the ‘Duc van Tols’, a fabled clan of pixie tulips once grown in every garden and forced in pots for Christmas bloom. In front of purple hyacinths, its tiny flames are stunning. 6”, zones 4b-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Chart and care.

Limit 5, please.
ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Duc van Tol Scarlet tulip     1850
Rarest

Short, bright, and extra-early, these fairy tulips grew in every stylish garden from about 1600-1900. But when gardeners went crazy for tall, late, pastel tulips, the ‘Ducs’ all but vanished. A perfect little miniature at 5-7 inches tall, ‘Scarlet’ is classic and sublime. Very early, zones 4b-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus. Chart and care.

Limit 5, please.
ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Duc van Tol Violet tulip     1700
Rarest

Dusky purplish-rose edged with ivory, ‘Violet’ is one of the most unusual of the ‘Ducs’, a group of short, extra-early tulips that grew in every stylish garden from about 1600-1900. Perfect little miniatures at 5-7 inches tall, the ‘Ducs’ are the earliest traditional garden tulips to bloom each spring. Zones 4b-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus. Chart and care.

Limit 5, please.
ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Duchesse de Parma tulip     1820
Rarest

This exceptionally rare tulip is “bronze crimson bordered with orange,” according to the 1889 Rawson catalog. But most gardeners over the past 196 years would have seen it as simply red trimmed with yellow – one of the most popular color combinations in tulips since the very first were brought into Western gardens in the 1500s – and, as the 1865 Vick’s catalog described it, “splendid.” Single Early, 10-12”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Chart and care.

Limit 5, please.
ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

“Like raspberry-ripple ice cream,” says Anna Pavord in The Tulip, and “one of the best.” It’s also one of the most dramatic of modern parrots, with a whirling-dervish intensity that rivals that of much older parrots such as ‘Amiral de Constantinople’. OHG founder Scott first grew ‘Estella’ 40 years ago, and he says “the outrageous beauty of its first blooms still blazes in his memory.” Aka ‘Gay Presto’, parrot, 18-20”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart and care.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

T. sylvestris,
Florentine tulip     1597

This violet-scented wildflower has small, yellow, almond-shaped flowers that nod in bud and then open wide in the sun. Gerard pictured it in his great Herbal of 1597, Jefferson grew it at Monticello, and it’s naturalized almost like a weed throughout Pennsylvania Dutch country – and our garden. Aka T. florentina, 8-14”, zones 5a-8a(8bWC), from Holland. See our other unusually fragrant tulips. Chart, care, and learn more.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

This award-winning classic gets rosier and more vibrant every day, and its thick petals make it long-lasting in bloom, so you get more beauty from every bulb. It looks especially good mingled with whites and purples – a tip from English garden maven Rosemary Verey. Triumph, 16-18”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart and care.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Groenland tulip     1955

Mostly green at first, this fascinating tulip matures to mostly pink with broad brushstrokes of green and cream. One of the oldest surviving Viridiflora tulips, it’s also exceptionally long-lasting in the garden and bouquets – so be sure to order some extras to pick! Aka ‘Greenland’, Viridiflora (very late), 18-22”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart and care.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Insulinde tulip     1914
Rarest

Like a sunrise in slow motion, it opens with baby-smooth, pale yellow petals feathered with rose, and then day by day it transforms itself into a big, ruffled flower of creamy white flamed with purple. You will be enchanted! True broken tulip, late-blooming, 16-18”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC). Chart and care.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Opening from pale yellow buds, this elegant, mid-season beauty matures from a warm, creamy ivory to almost pure white. If you look closely you’ll often see minute touches of pink and red, botanical beauty marks inherited from its deep red parent, ‘Floradale’. Darwin Hybrid, 20-24”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart and care.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

James Wild tulip     1890
Rarest

Brown? You bet! And it’s fabulous. This is the unbroken, Breeder form of a tulip which may be better known in its broken, mahogany-on-gold Bizarre form. Although its broken version is flashier, this anything-but-plain brown tulip – with its shades of coffee, bronze, and amber – needs no improvement. Single Late, 18-20”, zones 4a-7a(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. See our other brown tulips. Chart and care.

Limit 5, please.
ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Julia Farnese tulip     1853
Rarest

“Supremely elegant” – that’s how connoisseur Anna Pavord describes this vibrant beauty bred by John Slater, author of the 1860 English Florist’s Guide, whose tulip collection numbered close to 20,000 bulbs. Named for his daughter, it’s an unusual “plated feather,” heavily marked with deep cherry red on white. Last offered in 2020, true English florists’ tulip, 14-16”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Chart and care.

Limit 5, please.
ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

An affordable 18th-century antique, “Emperor’s Crown” is still “magnificent for any purpose,” as C.S. Allen wrote in his 1893 best-seller, Bulbs and Tuberous Rooted Plants. Counterfeits are rife today, but our bulbs are the real deal. You’ll even see them blooming at Mount Vernon! Single Early, 13”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart and care.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Kingsblood tulip     1952

Red is the most traditional, iconic color in tulips, and ‘Kingsblood’ is one of the 20th century’s finest, most enduring reds. Tall, late-blooming, and stately, it’s drop-dead gorgeous interplanted with ‘Greuze’, or sprinkle a few among pastel tulips to add a bit of visual zest, like the maraschino cherries in the fruit cocktail your grandmother used to serve. Single Late, 22-24”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart and care.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Lac van Rijn tulip     1620
Rarest

A very rare survivor from the days of Tulipomania in the 1630s, this crown-shaped tulip of burgundy and ivory was once sold for enormous sums. Today it may still seem expensive – but what else can you own from 1620 that costs so little? And with good care, it multiplies! Pronounced “Lock von Rhine,” Single Early, 14”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Chart and care.

Limit 5, please.
ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Mabel tulip     1856
Rarest

With bold flames and feathers of cherry-red on white, this striking English florists’ tulip was bred by a Lancashire weaver over 165 years ago. But who was Mabel? Wife? Daughter? Or maybe a favorite barmaid at one of the pubs where the tulip societies held their shows back then? True broken tulip, multiplies well, late blooming, 18”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Chart and care.

Limit 5, please.
ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Mariette tulip     1942

The graceful, vase-like shape of lily-flowered tulips like ‘Mariette’ evokes that of the earliest tulips to reach the West from Turkey in the 1500s. This multiple award-winner is a radiant rose-pink, deeper in the center of the petals and shading to silvery pink at the edges. Lily-flowered, late, 20-24”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart and care.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Maureen tulip     1950

With its classic 1950s name, this classic 1950s tulip is still “unsurpassed even after all these years,” writes Richard Wilford in his 2015 Plant Lover’s Guide to Tulips. An RHS AGM-winner, it’s wonderfully strong-growing and holds its big, luminous flowers on tall sturdy stems. Single Late, 26-28”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart and care.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Old Times tulip     1905
Rarest

This uniquely colored, brown-inflected tulip has “a real ‘old-timey’ look to its garnet and primrose flowers,” as J. Horace McFarland wrote in 1938. Its shape is wonderfully old-fashioned, too, with lancet-pointed petals that curl back gracefully as they open in the sun. One of the so-called Cottage tulips, it was re-discovered by the Rev. Joseph Jacobs “in an old garden in Hanmer in 1905.” Cottage/Single Late, 18-22”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. See our other brown tulips. Chart and care.

Limit 5, please.
ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Orange King tulip     1903
Rarest

The great Gertrude Jekyll planted this very rare, sunset-colored tulip in her iconic early 20th-century perennial borders. A multiple award-winner, it remained popular well into the 1940s when the de Jager catalog praised it as “a beautiful orange-scarlet tinged old rose, sweet-scented, a grand tulip.” Cottage/Single Late, 18-20”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Chart and care.

Limit 5, please.
ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

We sell tons of this old tulip every year, even though doubles have been woefully out of fashion for decades now – a testament to its great beauty. It’s a frothy extravaganza of white and pink (not peach), like a lacy, Victorian valentine. If you’ve never grown double tulips, this is the one to start with – and what are you waiting for? Double Early, 10-12”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. See our other unusually fragrant tulips. Chart and care.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Irene’s warm, strong fragrance and unusual coloring – melon-orange flamed with subtle bronze-purple – make it one of the most distinctive tulips of the 1900s. It’s a favorite at Holland’s glorious Keukenhof gardens and easy to force indoors where you can enjoy its heavenly scent up close. Triumph, 14”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. See our other unusually fragrant tulips. Chart, care, and learn more.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Enormously popular ever since its debut in 1940, this “satiny maroon-black” tulip (Anna Pavord) is vigorous and long-lasting in the garden. And it’s versatile, writes Jane Eastoe in her 2019 Tulips: Beautiful Varieties for Home and Garden – “the perfect foil for red, rusty orange, apricot, and copper tulips” as well as “very pretty with soft pink, violet, and white.” Single Late, 24”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart and care.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Rococo tulip     1942

When we posted a photo of ‘Rococo’ on Facebook and asked if we should offer it, the response was an overwhelming “YES!” A sport of the great ‘Couleur Cardinal’, it’s “one of the craziest” of the “mad, magnificent” parrots, says bulb-maven Anna Pavord, with sumptuous, writhing petals of red highlighted with purple, yellow, and green. Shorter and earlier than most parrots, 14-16”, mid-season, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart and care.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Schoonoord tulip     1909
Rarest

Imagine a perfect white peony or a double white waterlily unfolding in the morning sun. That’s ‘Schoonoord’ (say SKOH-nord), lush and radiant. In 1935 Louise Beebe Wilder praised it for perennial borders, saying its “prestige as the best... has never been questioned. It is an old variety but invaluable.” And that’s still true! Double Early, 10-12”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart and care.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

This BIG, bold, elegant tulip “will make you drool,” wrote East Hampton fashionista Dianne Benson. It holds its large yet graceful flowers on stems up to 30 inches tall, and its color – vivid orange blended with fuchsia – is truly stunning. Award of Garden Merit, Single Late, 30-32”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart and care.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

The Lizard tulip     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-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Chart and care.

Limit 5, please.
ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Van der Neer tulip     1860
Rarest

A long-time customer favorite until it dropped out of mainstream production in 2012, this rosy-purple relic comes to us today from our friends at the Hortus Bulborum, albeit no longer at mainstream prices. It once starred in flamboyant Victorian ribbon beds and carpet-bedding, but it’s just as beautiful in modern mixed borders today. Single Early, 10-12”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from the Hortus Bulborum. Chart and care.

Limit 5, please.
ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Our friend Ryan Gainey, the late, lamented godfather of romantic Southern gardens, turned us on to this willowy beauty when he asked us to find true stock for him. Touched with the slightest hint of spring green, its long white petals twist and reflex just slightly, languidly, cool and elegant. Lily-flowered, 23-25”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart and care.

ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Zomerschoon tulip     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-7b(8bWC). Chart and care.

Limit 1, please.
ADD TO CART

VIEW INFO

Greuze tulip     1891

You don’t have to be Goth to appreciate ‘Greuze’. Its dusky buds on dark stems open into flowers of deepest purple, and it often follows its first bloom with smaller, slightly later blooms to make a clump that’s informal and charming. Named for an 18th-century French artist, it’s hard to pronounce but “Grooz” is close enough for us. Single Late/Darwin, 23”, zones 3a-7b(8bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2015. If you’d like to be notified when it’s back in stock, click here to sign up for an email alert.

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.