Tulips have always been popular garden plants and many of the varieties we grow today go back centuries. It is mainly the cultivars of this bulb that are grown in most gardens, but many of the much smaller-flowered species are fascinating and are well worth growing, either in pots or in bulb frames.
There are a few species with attractive foliage, but they are grown mainly for their flowers. These are basically cup-shaped but there are variations on this, some with fringed petals and others with tall thin flowers, for example.
Perhaps because they appear in spring, tulips always have a fresh appearance whether they are planted in small groups or in a great spread in a bedding scheme. They are also useful for containers.
The height of the flower stems varies and their position is worth considering when buying. For example those used in containers should be shorter than those growing amongst other plants in a border.
Tulips will grow in any fertile soil, and should be planted in full sun. They should be planted in late autumn. Most cultivars do best if lifted after the foliage dies down and ripened in a sunny but cool greenhouse before storing.