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Exotic tulips

Explore and discover some of the most fascinating flowers you have ever seen!

What type of person are you? Are you a glass half EMPTY type of person—or is your glass half FULL?

In other words, when looking at your yard today, do you focus on the DEAD PLANTS or are you already LOOKING FORWARD to next spring?

If you are a “glass-half-full” type of gardener, we still have a few weeks to plant tulips. This fall, I encourage you to explore the exotic types. You may discover some of the most fascinating flowers you have ever seen!

There is nothing more dramatic than parrot tulips. Their curly petals are as bright as the feathers of parrots. The blooms are gigantic and are excellent as cut flowers. There are pink parrots, black parrots, flaming parrots and more (shown below are 'Destiny' [Estella Rijnveld'] and 'Black Parrot'').

'Destiny' ('Estella Rijnveld') tulip'Black Parrot' tulip

Tulip connoisseurs love ‘Angelique’ (see left photo below). Its pink, ruffled petals are simply irresistible. They bear 2 or 3 blooms per stem, filling the bed full of color. ‘Angelique’ tulips bloom late and look like peonies.

The Rembrandt tulips are popular for their colorful stripes. This class of tulips originated in the days of Rembrandt the painter (1600s), when families would sell their life’s earnings for a single bulb with “broken” colors. These were one-of-a-kind tulips created by viruses. Today’s Rembrandts are virus free and created by natural mutations. Popular varieties include ‘Olympic Flame’ (see right photo below), ‘Cordell Hull’ (white with red streaks) and ‘Princess Irene’ (orange with purple streaks). Kids love them!

'Angelique' tulip'Olympic Flame' tulip

These tulips are fascinating but have a few shortcomings. Most struggle in windy spots, so give them a sheltered area. These tulips are short-lived; you might only get a couple years of brilliance from them.

Written by Tom Kalb, Extension Horticulturist, North Dakota State University. Published in the NDSU Yard & Garden Report, October 15, 2014. Photos were made available under Creative Commons licenses specified by the photographers: Rick Ligthelm, gregor patellos, Auli Nikkanen and Matt.

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