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Tulipa tarda

Bulbs and bulblike plants, Perennials


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 the 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, or 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 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 tarda

Each 3–5-in. stem has three to six upward-facing, starlike flowers with golden centers and white-tipped segments. Early midseason, and among the longest-flowering tulips. Often sold as T. dasystemon, a different species. Greenish-bronze leaves are succulent looking.

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The plants described here are grown for their luscious fruit; for ornamental species, see Rubus

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