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All About Tulip Varieties - Classes, Groups And Varieties

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The magnificent tulips are as striking in their diversity as in their unprecedented beauty. Different flower shapes, peculiarities of structure, flowering dates, origins of tens of thousands of known varieties of this main spring favorite make the classification of tulips very confusing. And practicing gardeners more and more often choose not to use the complicated official or large classifications, preferring more simple and practical categories that make it easier to choose a variety when buying and faster to orientate in the huge range of planting material.

All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Tulips are major favorites of spring flower beds

Criteria for choosing tulips

Perform a vast number of tulip varieties on the ornamental plant market today is very difficult. The Dutch planting material dominates, which captivates by its beauty pictures and almost always by the full description of the basic characteristics of the plant. You can choose tulips according to your taste and personal aesthetic preferences. But it is still worth considering the general criteria for evaluating these flowers.

The first thing to think about is the resistance of the chosen variety to spotting and other diseases. Varieties that are sold as more hardy, new hybrids with improved resistance, are preferable to vintage cultivars.

You should also remember that tulips can bloom at different times (their variety - from early-blooming to medium and late-blooming), they also come in different heights. The flower stalks of this plant can grow to only 20-25 cm in height, which makes it both suitable for the open air and for container cultivation, but it can also reach 60-70 cm. If you grow tulips for bouquets, you must also look for the "cuttings" criterion in the description of the concrete variety.

Tulip Groups by Flower Form30>

The main guide when choosing tulips and assessing their variety by decorative characteristics is still the shape of the flower itself. There are seven groups of tulips according to the form of the flower:

  1. Tulips with strong, tall pedicels and sturdy flowers of classical form, the silhouette of which reminds of a glass with a flat, often square base.
  2. Patterns - Pretty, often stunted tulips with broader and flatter flowers.
  3. Lily-shaped varieties - These tulips attract attention with their pointed, triangular petals, which when bent outward form an outline like a lily flower.
  4. Stellate varieties are tulips with almost perfectly triangular petals, which when unfolded form a star outline.
  5. Parrot varieties are plants with a bizarre flower shape, deformed, curved, corrugated petals.
  6. Machromatic varieties are all tulip varieties with a dense macrostyle, at least a double number of perianth leaflets.

The larger, or basic, classification of tulips is much more complicated. It takes into account not only the peculiarities of the flower structure, but also the timing of their blossoming and other distinctive characteristics.

All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
The great tulips are astonishing in their diversity

Read our detailed article: Dwarf Botanical Tulips - Benefits and Best Varieties

Tulip Classes Basic Classification

All known tulip varieties and hybrids resulting from the selection of several humble species plants, multi-step crosses and hybridization are divided into 15 classes:

  1. Early non-flapping tulips
  2. Early flapping tulips.
  3. Tulips Triumph.
  4. Darwin hybrids.
  5. Late non-flushed tulips.
  6. Lily-flowered tulips.
  7. Fringed tulips.
  8. Green-flowered tulips.
  9. Rembrandt tulips.
  10. Parrot tulips.
  11. Spotted late tulips.
  12. Kaufman tulip hybrids.
  13. Foster tulip hybrids.
  14. Graig tulips.
  15. Species, or tulips retaining biological features of the original forms.

This classification of tulips with its 15 classes is not quite convenient to use in practice. To simplify it and to facilitate the process of search by the main criterion - flowering terms, the cultivated tulips are classified in another way, dividing them into sections according to the main characteristic - flowering terms, the classes are combined into four groups.

You should read our detailed article: Tulips. Cultivation from A to Z

Classification of tulips by flowering time

The basic (or international) classification of tulips:

Group 1. Early flowering tulips (from first tulips of March to all varieties that bloom in April and early May). This group includes the first and second classes of tulips.

Group 2. Mid-flowering tulips (late April-early May to late May). The group also includes two classes, class 3 and class 4.

Group 3. Late-flowering tulips (second half of May to early summer). The group includes six classes of tulips, from fifth to eleventh.

Group 4. Other tulips which cannot be referred to groups by flowering dates are mainly hybrids of species tulips.

The species tulips deserve a separate consideration, because these plants are somewhat different in agrotechnics, and even in the tulip varieties of the fourth group presented for sale today there are significant differences from the best varieties and hybrids. But the three main groups of tulips and their representatives are similar in cultivation strategy, differing only in details of structure and in their aesthetic characteristics. Let's get to know them better.

All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Tulips are conveniently divided into groups by flowering time

The features and varieties of early flowering tulips

Tulips that first appear in gardens are often inferior in size of flowers and variety of shapes and colors to varieties that bloom in medium or late terms. But early tulips possess their own incomparable charm: The beginning of spring flowering is awaited with such impatience that every flower, even of modest size, in early spring seems like a real miracle.

Early tulips bloom in March, covering April and early May. The concrete dates of flowering depend on the climate and weather conditions at that time.

Early tulips give not a huge choice, but still enough choice, and the varieties with simple or large-scale flowers of this group come in many colors and shapes. The simple flowers of irreproachable oval, cup-shaped or glass-shaped early tulips are easily recognized at a glance. Members of this class of tulips bloom first - as early as the first decade of April, and even earlier in favorable weather. A distinctive feature of all tulips of this class is their medium height and endurance. With a total height of about 30 cm, the flowers can grow up to 7 cm in length.

The best varieties of early-flowering common tulips belong:

  • "Van Der Neer"a dark pink variety with a purple hue, a bright yellow bottom, translucent texture and richly light green leaves;
  • "Brilliant Star"a variety that seems delightfully bright against a waking garden, with scarlet color and black spots at the base of the petals;
  • "Cramoisi Brilliant" is a variety with bright carmine coloration and a yellow bottom;
  • "Couleur Cardinal" - a dark red variety with a tall peduncle, up to 40 cm, and a wonderful transition from the almost purple shade at the petal base to the shining scarlet at the top of the flower;
  • a cream, low cup-shaped variety "Diana".
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Early flowering simple tulip "Van Der Neer". © World Plants
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Early flowering common tulip "Brilliant Star". © gospodar
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Annual flowering beaker tulip "Diana". © direct2grower

Class 2. The terry early-flowering varieties (Double Early)

The difference between the two classes of early tulips is not only that the terry varieties have a much larger number of petals. Terry tulips bloom a few weeks later than ordinary flowering tulips, their flowers are often larger and more powerful, but only slightly. These tulips are limited to a height of about 25 cm and have a double number of perianth leaflets. Hardy enough, early-blooming terry tulips are suitable for both garden and potted cultivation.

The best varieties of early-flowering terry tulips:

  • The "Bonanza" variety with a striking combination of fiery scarlet color, yellow border and with nearly equal sized outer and inner petals;
  • - sort "Schoonoord" with cream-white flowers with pointed tips that give it similarity to roses;
  • - sort "Electra" - a bright red dense-blossom tulip with wavy petals and satin texture;
  • - sort "Monte Carlo" with buttery yellow flowers, decorated with delicate green and lettuce dabs;
  • - sort "Murillo Maxima" with a unique water-colored shade, the change of white buds on pink tone of the opened flowers, asymmetrically elongated petals, yellow base and irregular pink dabs.
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Early-blooming terry tulip 'Bonanza'. © petrenochki
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Early flowering terry tulip "Schoonoord". © 99Roots
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Early flowering terry tulip "Monte Carlo". © Sao Mai Center

Peculiarities and varieties of mid-flowering tulips

All tulips blooming normally from the end of April and through May are rightly called mid-flowering. It is a variety with large flowers, half-meter or a little bit lower flower stalks and blue-green leaves. The variety of such tulips is much more diverse than that of the early ones, they are mainly appreciated for the size of the flowers and the variety of bicolours.

Tulips with medium flowering also belong to two classes of tulips, which cardinally differ from each other by the type of the flowers.

Class 3: Triumph-tulips

Tulips in this class are medium-large tulips with flower stalks up to 50 or sometimes up to 70 cm, which form cup-shaped very large flowers with predominantly two-colored shades. The stems are very persistent and the flowering dates are easily predicted at flowering.

The now obsolete, now abolished group of Mendelian tulips is almost completely included in this class, except for the earliest varieties. Triumph tulips are considered among the most resistant.

The best medium-flowering tulip varieties from the Triumph hybrids:

  • The "Armani" variety is a classic cup-shaped tulip with a large, dark red flower decorated with a fuzzy white border;
  • The "Barcelona" variety with a dark candy-pink color and a whitish-blue patina at the base of the outer side of the petals;
  • The "Negrita " with delicate pink-purple coloration;
  • The "White Sail" and "Snowboarder" with creamy white, white in bright sun;
  • The "Charmeur" variety with dark red, rich, noble coloration.
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Mid-flowering tulip from Triumph "Armani" hybrids. © Mikhael Gao
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Middle flowering tulip from Triumph hybrids "Barcelona". © johansens-planteskole
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Middle flowering tulip from Triumph hybrids "Negrita". © gardenia

Class 4. Darwin Hybrids

Flowering in mid-spring, the glassy-shaped, large-flowered hybrid varieties are renowned for their brightest reds and yellows, often bicolors. Darwin hybrids, as a result of long breeding, are capable of producing flower stalks up to 70 cm high. The rectangular, massive base only emphasizes the size of the flowers. Such tulip cultivars are considered the most stable.

The best varieties of Darwin hybrids:

  • The "Oxford" variety with a bright yellow base of dazzling scarlet flowers;
  • The "Apeldoorn" variety with a black base of red-orange flowers decorated with a fuzzy yellow border;
  • the yellow-orange variety "Golden Springtime" is a large-flowered, peach to apricot, variety with subtle pink and red strokes;
  • The "Design Impression" variety with a candy-pink, warm coloration, a slight silvery texture and delicate orange strokes in the center of the petals;
  • The "London" variety with wide open flowers of deep red color and with a black fundus surrounded by a fine yellow border.
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Mid-flowering tulip of Darwin's "Oxford" hybrids. © greenservice
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Middle flowering tulip from Darwin hybrids "Design Impression". © fluwel
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Mid-flowering tulip from Darwin hybrids "London". © ogorodko

Species and varieties of late-blooming tulips

Tulip species and varieties that stretch the baton of flowering of this main bulb for a striking period - almost to the middle of summer are combined in this group. When the main varieties bloom, and the first peony and iris blossom in the gardens, the late tulips just bloom and seem to be precious accents.

In fact, such tulips bloom when the garden enters the period of magnificent blossoming, showing off their exotic flowers on the luxurious green background of fully opened compositions designed for the first half of the season.

Late tulips are all varieties blooming from the second half of May and later. The group of late blooming tulips includes the largest number of classes - 7 magnificent categories of tulips with the most spectacular colors and shape of flowers. These are the most diverse tulips, the pride of the breeders and collectors.

Class 5 - Late Unmarching Tulips (Single Late)

Large flowered tulips with the classical late flowering forms, joining the abolished and obsolete classes of late tulips. These are tall, up to 60 cm vintage varieties. Among the members of this class are found:

  • Darwin varieties with cup-shaped flowers and an almost square base (e.g., the "Zwanenburg" variety with snow-white flowers, with black anthers against the petals attracting attention, or the tall delicate pink royal variety "Princess Elisabeth");
  • vintage, formerly known as breeders, Gesner tulip varieties with oval, almost egg-shaped flowers with complex colors, sometimes with metallic, iridescent textures (such such as the dark red variety "President Hoover", the golden brown variety "Cherbourg", the mauve and iridescent variety "Bacchus" or the orange and crimson watercolor playful variety "Dillenburg");
  • Multiflorum varieties, which are famous for their ability to produce several flowers on one flower stalk, which makes tulips very grand and showy (the best varieties are orange "Orange Bouquet" and red "Georgette").
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Late non-flailing tulip "Orange Bouquet". © jandewitenzonen
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Late flowering lily tulip "Marietta". © semena
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Late flowering lily tulip "Marilyn". © Fluwel

Class 6. Lilyflowered Tulips (Lilyflowering)

All varieties of lilyflowered tulips are easily recognized even in their most motley collection. The elegant flower shape is accentuated by clean, graceful lines. The elongated petals, bent outward at the ends like lily petals, allow the flower to stand out against any background.

These varieties are not usually too large, the base is narrow, the color is complex, watercolor, and the tips of the perianth leaves are strongly pointed. They are not the most robust of the varieties, but know no competition in their elegance.

The best varieties of lily-like tulips include:

  • The "Captain Fryatt" variety with a unique ruby, wine color that contrasts nicely with the lilac petal base, memorable for its very pointed at the ends, narrow petals;
  • The "Ballada Gold" variety with a buttery yellow coloration, somewhat fading at the edges of the petals, glowing and shimmering on the blooms;
  • The "Marietta" variety is a spectacular crimson-pink simple variety that, even in buds, appears elongatedly sharp, and the watercolor transition to a somewhat paler edge emphasizes the beauty of these flowers;
  • The "Marilyn" variety is a white, exquisite lily-like variety with somewhat wavy petals that are decorated with bright, acrylic-pink strokes down their center;
  • The "Aladdin" variety is a "model" lily with strongly pointed petals at the ends and a narrowed base, which has a bright red coloring combined with a contrasting yellow border on the very edge of the petals.

Class 7. Fringed (Fringed) varieties

The tulips, ranked in the seventh class, are also very easy to recognize. The thick, ornate and sometimes peculiar fringe on the edge of the perianth leaves makes every flower almost a piece of jewelry. Almost all fringed tulips have a contrasting color of the base as if highlighting the flowers, emphasizing the beauty of their petals. And the tough, sturdy texture allows tulips to become more weather-resistant.

The fringed tulips retain their properties when the dug up bulbs are kept at a fairly high, from 24 degrees, temperature. The second name of such tulips is orchids.

The classic varieties of resistant fringed tulips include:

  • the "Canasta" variety with dark red petal color and grayish leaves, which has a large white fringe that catches all the attention;
  • the aquarelle, macerated fringed variety "Cool Crystal" with peach-apricot petal color, transitioning to dark pink on the sides of the bract leaves;
  • one of the best dark tulips with a unique dark cherry brown color "Cuban Night";
  • dazzling yellow-orange "Hamilton" with a very uniform color and a very large fringe;
  • A very neat, stroke-decorated and slightly lighter fringe terry tulip "Matchpoint" with a rich cold-pink coloration and almost flat, wide flowers.
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Late fringed tulip "Canasta". © Flora32
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Late fringed tulip 'Cool Crystal'. © 1semena
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Late fringed tulip "Hamilton". © 99Roots

Class 8. Green, or green-flowered tulips (Viridiflora)

Precious, favorite, unusual against the usual spring colors, fascinating with new shades of lettuce and bright green, tulip varieties whose coloring partially retains the green color, they are always highly popular. The usual green is combined with the pink and other colors either in the yawn or on the edges of the petals, appearing as strokes and strokes.

Examples of the best green-flowered tulips are these varieties:

  • The variety "Artist", which surprises not with light lettuce, but with a dark green color in the details; the broad green stroke on the outside passes into the orange-pink edge of the petals, inside the color changes, becomes lighter, emphasized by the green stamens and anthers;
  • The "China Town" variety is a beautiful light pink, as if faded tulip, with dark green strokes shining brightly against the delicate watercolor color;
  • The "Spring Green" variety is a delicate, watercolor variety that has bright green strokes combined with a creamy-white color on the top and sides of the petals;
  • The "Green Bizarre" variety is a very striking-looking green with a combination of a base color that follows the color of the leaves, going over to the yellow tips of the petals;
  • "Red Springgreen" variety that combines a bright carmine color with a dark green stroke in the center of the petals.
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Late green-flowered 'China Town' tulip. © PinsDaddy
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Late green-flowered tulip "Artist". © Oak Leaf Gardening
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Late green-flowered tulip "Red Springgreen". © Crocus

Class 9: Rembrandt varieties

The name of the tulips of the Rembrandt group already hints that the main feature of the varieties is their colouring. Although the flower shape is most often the simplest, goblet-shaped, but the unimaginable combinations of colors in motley combinations attracts admiring looks to such tulips.

These are rare, not the easiest to grow, low-resistant tulips, which are more often found in collections than in ordinary gardens. Valuable and rare, the Rembrandt group varieties deserve a special approach to cultivation.

The best varieties of Rembrandt tulips include:

  • white-red, with irregular touches of carmine on a white background, tulip variety "Ice Follies" and the similar "Sorbet";
  • cherry-brown, with beautiful bright yellow stripes variety "Absalon";
  • large melon-yellow with red stripes "La Courtine";
  • orange with big cherry strokes "Princess Irene";
  • mottled, with small strokes white variety "Black and White".
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Tulip of Rembrant group "Ice Follies". © Digital Photographer
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Tulip of Rembrant Group "Absalon". © Plants and the Planet
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Late Tulip of the Rembrant Group "Princess Irene". © longfield-gardens

Class 10. parrot varieties (Parrot)

Fanciful, fancy, magical - as only parrot tulips are not called. They get their name because of the various growths, folds and corrugations that give the petal a complex relief and resemblance to the feathers of exotic birds.

Parrot tulips are usually very tall, up to 70 cm varieties with delicate petals and coloring as complex as their form. The flowers of parrot tulips can be up to 15 cm in diameter when fully bloomed.

The best varieties of parrot tulips are rightly included:

  • The "Parrot King" variety with its unique combination of buttery yellow base color, delicate lettuce strokes and rich red spots accentuated by growths even in the center of the petals;
  • The "Estella Rijnveld" variety is a densely corrugated exotic tulip with crimson-red coloring, almost half hidden by stripes and strokes of cream, white flowers and an original green dab in the center of the petal;
  • The "Parrot Prince" variety with a unique shade of pink-purple coloration and very heavy irregularly shaped flowers;
  • "Black Parrot" with dark purple, seemingly almost black coloring of ornate corrugated petals;
  • "Super Parrot" - white, with delicate lettuce strokes, large-flowered and graceful parrot variety.
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Late parrot tulip "Parrot King". © ZvetSad
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Late parrot tulip 'Estella Rijnveld'. © Semena
All about tulip varieties - classes, groups and varieties
Late terry tulip 'Redwood'. © Bol

Class 11. Late Terry Tulips (Double Late)

The late-blooming bushy tulips surprise not only with their persistence. They are unique varieties with so many petals that the flowers become almost peony-like. Each flower has up to 20 petals. The plants are quite tall and massive, unlike the early terry varieties. This class of tulips is characterized by rich, bright, acrylic shades of color and the best variations of the rarest fruit tones and two-color combinations.

The hardy varieties of terry late tulips include:

  • The "Sun Lover", or "Double Beauty of Apeldoorn" - stunning with a wealth of orange hues from a red-orange petal base to apricot color at the edges, with red strokes, a closed center and a slightly fringed edge;
  • "Redwood" is a rich red, scarlet variety with a tendency to multi-colored;
  • "Dream Touch" - purple, pale-purple at the ends of petals, amazing with its deep color and shining texture;
  • "White Touch" - cream-colored variety with light-brown base of petals;
  • "Sweet Desire" - a water-colored variety with unique lavender color of outer petals, passing in cream-pale color of inner ones, with bright green strokes and white inclusions.

Late blooming tulips are one of the most developing classes of tulips. New varieties appear every year, allowing you to choose an exquisite decoration for grand flower gardens.

What tulips do you, our readers, grow? It would be interesting to know your preferences. Or maybe you cultivate interesting varieties which we haven't mentioned in this article? Tell us about them in the comments of the article. We would be very grateful.

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