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Getting Tulips to Bloom for Two Months in Your Garden

Would you like to have tulips blooming for two months in your garden? Planting a few each of the following different types will ensure a long season color show.

For the most part, the species tulips bloom the earliest. You'll know they are species because they have those fancy Latin names on the labels. You'll see name like "greigii", "kaufmanniana", and "tarda". While they bloom earlier than the hybrids, they are also the shortest so do make sure you plant them at the front of the garden. And, if you want a naturalized looking garden, the species tulips are the most natural looking and will tend to self-sow.

As a rule of thumb, the later the tulip blossom comes, the taller the flower. The next earliest bloomers are only slightly taller than the earliest species tulips. Blooming at twelve to eighteen inches are the mid-season bloomers. You'll see names like "fosteriana", "single early" and "double early" on those enticing labels. Most of these have sturdy stems to hold the flowers upright in spring storms so you can plant them almost anywhere in the garden. Do note that most of the colors of these plants fall into the hot red, yellow and orange part of our color wheel. Designers use them because they provide an exciting dash of spring color and contrast well with the emerging leaves of nearby perennials.

Then we come to the late season tulips. These big guys bloom towards the end of May and you'll find names such as "lily flowering", "single late", "double late", "viridiflora" and "parrot tulips". Most of these later tulips reach for the sky (they get knocked down in storms) and hold their flowers eighteen to twenty four inches above the ground. They also come in the widest range of colors and flower at the same time as your early perennials.

Doug Green is an award winning garden author (7 books published) who answers gardening questions in his free newsletter at

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