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Zones 1-24, 33-45
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Tulipa fosteriana

Emperor Tulips
Liliaceae
Bulbs and bulblike plants, Perennials

TULIPA

Tulips vary considerably. Some are stately and formal, others dainty and whimsical; a few look decidedly bizarre. Bloom comes at some time from March to May, depending on type.

Use larger tulips in colonies or masses, in company with low, spring-blooming plants. Use smaller, shorter types for close-up viewing—in rock gardens, near paths, in raised beds, in patio insets.

Tulips are superb container plants; unusual kinds such as Rembrandt and Parrot are especially suited to this use.

Nearly all hybrid tulips and most species (wild) tulips need an need six weeks of temperatures below 45° F/7° C to initiate flower formation, and they aren't bothered by summer drought. In mild climates, provide the necessary chill by refrigerating bulbs for 6 weeks (not near ripening fruit) before planting; then treat the plants as annuals.

Tulipa fosteriana

Early-blooming T. fosteriana has the largest flowers—4 to 8 in. wide—of any tulip. The huge red blossoms appear atop 8–16-in. stems and open flat, with a yellow line around the black blotch at the base of each petal.

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