Lady tulip is cold hardy and, unlike most tulips, it doesn’t need an extended “cold period” to bloom. (Richie Steffen)

Lady tulip is cold hardy and, unlike most tulips, it doesn’t need an extended “cold period” to bloom. (Richie Steffen)

Great Plant Pick: Tulipa clusiana aka the lady tulip

This tulip is cold hardy and, unlike most tulips, it doesn’t need an extended “cold period” to bloom.

What: If you are searching for a tulip that will return year after year, then Tulipa clusiana is for you. Of special note, the lady tulip has a deep pink-and-white striped flower, a color combination not found on other wildflower tulips. Tulipa clusiana has 2 to 5 linear, glaucous, gray-green leaves 6-inches long. Its star-shaped flowers are 4 inches across with rounded bases and are produced singularly or in pairs and are 10 to 12 inches tall. This tulip is stoloniferous, spreading by underground roots to form larger colonies with each passing year.

Where: Tulipa clusiana grows best in well-drained soils, without summer water, in full sun. It is ideally suited for rock gardens or gravel strips.

Size: This tulip stands 1 foot tall when mature.

Care: Lady tulip should be planted about 4 inches deep in mid-October before the heavy rains of November begin. Add a bit of bulb fertilizer when planting. After blooming, allow the plant to die back naturally so all its energy goes back into the bulb. Tulipa clusiana is very drought tolerant once established.

— Richie Steffen,

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