15 Major Types of Tulips and Their Names – Identification Guide

Tulips are spring-blooming perennial herbaceous bulbiferous geophytes in the Tulipa genus. Their flowers are usually large, showy, and brightly coloured. They often have a different coloured blotch at the base of the tepals, internally.

The name “tulip” is thought to be derived from a Persian word for turban, which it may have been thought to resemble by those who discovered it. Tulips were originally found in a band stretching from Southern Europe to Central Asia, but since the seventeenth century have become widely naturalised and cultivated.

Tulips require full sun, neutral to slightly acidic, compost-enriched soil, and prefer well-drained, drier soil since wet conditions will rot bulbs. Most tulip species plants or “perennialized”-branded tulip bulbs come back year after year if it has a winter chill period and is grown in a cold-weather zone.

Tulip flowers occur in a wide range of colours except true blue—from purest white through all shades of yellow and red to brown and deepest purple to almost black. Almost 4,000 horticultural varieties have been developed from a number of species and hybrids. There are several different classification schemes based on the plants’ time of bloom, flower shape, and plant size. Among the tulips that appear earliest in spring are single-flowered and double-flowered early types. Tulip types that bloom in mid-season include Mendels and Darwins. Late-blooming tulips are the largest class, with the widest range of growth habits and colours. Among them are Darwins, breeders, cottage, lily-flowered, double late, and parrot types.

Characteristics of Tulips

  • Native to Central Asia and Turkey
  • Introduced to the Western world in the 16th century
  • The flowers are actinomorphic (radially symmetric) and hermaphrodite (contain both male and female characteristics)
  • They are erect flowers, sometimes pendulous, arranged as a terminal single flower or occasionally as 2-3 flowers
  • Colors of flowers include white, yellow, red, brown, purple, and nearly black, except true blue. Can also be bi-colored or have contrasting centers
  • Bulbs are planted in autumn at a depth of 10 to 20 cm (4 to 8 inches) below the surface in a soil enriched with compost.
  • Have long, narrow leaves that are sometimes waxy or glaucous.
  • Tulips generally bloom in the spring season. The bloom time can be extended by planting a combination of early, mid, and late-season tulips.
  • Propagated by bulbs or seeds.
  • Thrive in areas with cold winters, ideally zones 3-7.
  • In zone 8 and above, Can be grown as annuals with special care (chilling period) or container planting with winter protection.

List of Major Tulip Classification

  • Single Early Tulips
  • Double Early Tulips
  • Double Late Tulips
  • Parrot Tulips
  • Rembrandt Tulips
  • Triumph Tulips
  • Darwin Hybrid Tulips
  • Single Late Tulips (also known as Cottage Tulips)
  • Lily-flowered Tulips
  • Fringed Tulips
  • Viridiflora Tulips
  • Kaufmanniana Tulips (Waterlily Tulips)
  • Fosteriana Tulips
  • Greigii Tulips

Description and Examples

Single Early Tulips

Single Early Tulips are among the earliest tulips to bloom in the spring, flowering in April. These tulips are characterized by strong stems, which provide a sturdy foundation for their single, cup-shaped flowers. The blooms can be pure white to deep purples, and are usually about 3 inches wide when fully opened.

Apricot Beautysoft orange
Beauty Queenbright red
Candy Princelilac with white edges
Christmas Dreamwhite with red flames
Christmas Marvelred with yellow edges
Couleur Cardinaldeep red
Fire Queenbright red
Flairyellow with red stripes
Generaal De Wetorange
Purple Princedeep purple

Double Early Tulips

Double Early Tulips have peony-like blooms and early spring flowering. They appear in gardens and landscapes from late March to early April. They usually have densely packed petals. The flowers can be quite large.

Tulipa ‘Monte Carlo’Yellow
Tulipa ‘Peach Blossom’Pink, with yellow centers
Tulipa ‘Angelique’Pink
Tulipa ‘Abba’White
Tulipa ‘Orange Princess’Orange
Tulipa ‘Red Riding Hood’Red
Tulipa ‘Flaming Parrot’Red, yellow, orange
Tulipa ‘Carnaval de Nice’White, pink, yellow

Double Late Tulips

Double Late Tulips are characterized by large blooms with multiple layers of petals, resembling peonies or roses. They can easily reach a span of 4 inches across with ruffled or fringed edges. They flower in late April to early May, extending the tulip season well into spring.

Blue Spectacledeep purple with a silvery sheen
Bull’s Eyered with a contrasting yellow center
Carnaval de Nicebi-colored (various shades)
Pink Starsoft pink with white edges
Pretty Pastel Mixpastel-colored (mix)
Angelicalight pink
Queen of Shebadark red
Monte Carlodeep yellow

Parrot Tulips

Parrot Tulips have ruffled petals that resemble the plumage of parrots. The petals have irregular edges, twists, and curls. They bloom in late spring, usually in April to May, depending on the climate. Their late bloom time extends the tulip season. Colors can be rich reds and oranges to vivid yellows, pinks, purples, and even bi-color combinations.

Black ParrotDeep purple almost black
Flaming FlagYellow with red streaks and green markings
SantanaOrange with red and yellow streaks
SorbetSoft pink with green markings
Super ParrotRed with yellow edges and green streaks
TangaraBright orange with green and yellow streaks
Texas GoldGolden yellow with red streaks
Webber ParrotRed with yellow and green markings

Rembrandt Tulips

Rembrandt Tulips are named after the famous Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn, who often depicted tulips in his artwork during the 17th century. Modern Rembrandt Tulips are entirely different from those of the past. They come in a few specific color combinations, such as white with red feathers along the edges of the petals. These tulips that were highly sought after during the Dutch Golden Age.

 The original Rembrandt tulips were not a result of selective breeding, but rather a happy accident caused by a virus carried by aphids. This virus disrupted the pigments in the flower, creating the distinctive “broken” colors with streaks and feathering.

ApeldoornWhite base with dramatic red streaks
Flaming FlagYellow base with vibrant red streaks and subtle green markings
Jac van den BoschDeep red base with contrasting white streaks
Ming DynastyStriking combination of deep purple with white feathering
ShirleyYellow base with vibrant red streaks (sometimes with a touch of purple)
TenerifeRed base with bold white streaks
Vincent van GoghDeep yellow base with strong red feathering
Willem van OrangeOrange base with contrasting red streaks

Triumph Tulips

Triumph Tulips are the result of hybridization between Single Early Tulips and Darwin Tulips. They were developed in the mid-20th century. They feature single cup-shaped flowers with six petals. They flower from mid to late April. They usually bridge the gap between early and late spring tulips. They can be in colors of rich reds, vibrant pinks, sunny yellows, deep purples and pure whites.

GavotaBright Pink
Golden OxfordYellow with Red Edges
Prinses IreneOrange with Purple Flames
Queen of NightDeep purple-black
Red ImpressionSoft pink with a white base
Flaming Van DijkFiery orange-red
White TriumphatorPure white
Yellow SpreaderGolden yellow

Darwin Hybrid Tulips

Darwin Hybrid Tulips are the result of crossbreeding between Fosteriana Tulips (Emperor Tulips) and Single Late Tulips. They were developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Dutch tulip breeders. They are one of the tallest tulip varieties, reaching heights of 20-28 inches (50-70 cm). Flowers can be in shades shades of red, pink, orange, yellow, purple and white. The flower are large, single, egg-shaped flowers with a classic tulip form.

ApeldoornBright Red
Pink ImpressionPink
Golden ParadeYellow
Ad RemDeep Red
DaydreamSoft Apricot
Oxford EliteOrange
Beauty of ApeldoornRed with Yellow Edges
Big ChiefScarlet Red
Holland’s GloriePurple and White Bi-color
ParadeYellow and Red Bi-color

Single Late Tulips

Single Late Tulips, also known as Cottage Tulips. Single Late Tulips are among the tallest tulip varieties. They can reach heights of 18-28 inches (45-70 cm). Just like their name suggests, these tulips feature a single flower per stem. The blooms have a classic cup-shaped form with smooth, unruffled petals. They can be shades like red, yellow, pink, and white, as well as bi-colored varieties with contrasting centers or edges.

Candy PrinceLilac with white edges
Christmas DreamWhite with red flames
Generaal De WetOrange
MaureenDeep rose pink
MentonDeep red with a black base
Pink PantherSoft pink
Purple HazeLavender-purple
Red FavouriteBright red
ShirleyWhite with pink flames

Lily-flowered varieties

Unlike the classic cup-shaped blooms of most tulips, Lily-flowered varieties have slender, elongated flowers with pointed, recurved petals. In other words, they look like their namesake, the lily. These tulips bloom in late spring.  They can be red, yellow, pink, and white, as well as bi-colored varieties with contrasting centers or edges. Some even have soft pastel hues. Some Lily-flowered Tulips possess a sweet.

BallerinaBright red
Purple DreamDeep purple
White TriumphatorPure white
FlashbackApricot with orange edges
MarietteWhite with a purple edge
MerlotRed with a darker base
Queen RaniaSoft pink
Synaeda OrangeBright orange
Tres ChicDeep rose pink

Fringed Tulips

Fringed Tulips are characterized by fringed or serrated edges on the petals that resemble feathers. This fringe can be the same color as the petals or a contrasting shade. Fringed tulips can be classic red, yellow, pink, purple, and white, as well as bi-colored varieties.

Flaming ParrotYellow with red streaks
Fringed ElegancePrimrose yellow with occasional pink flecks
CumminsLavender-purple with white interior and showy white fringe
Curly SueLight pink with a fringed edge
Swan WingsWhite with a feathered pink edge
ArmaDeep red with fringed edges
Bell SongSoft pink with fringed edges
Blue HeronLavender with a fringed edge
Burgundy LaceDeep red with a fringed edge
Sensual TouchSoft pink with a fringed edge

Viridiflora tulips

Viridiflora tulips, are also referred to as Green Tulips. Unlike most tulips with solid colors, Viridiflora varieties boast blooms that feature streaks or flames of green alongside their dominant color. This group of tulips blooms later in spring and their flowers can last up to three weeks. You’ll find varieties with white, yellow, pink, purple, and even black as their base color.

Spring GreenWhite with green markings
Green Star (or Doll’s Minuet)White with green markings
Flaming Spring GreenWhite with green flames
VirichicRed with green streaks
ShangoPurple with green streaks
RonaldoYellow with green streaks

Kaufmanniana Tulips (Waterlily Tulips)

Kaufmanniana Tulips were first discovered and named in the late 19th century by Russian botanist Aleksandr Grigorievich Kaufmann, after whom the species is named. They were introduced to Europe in 1877.

Kaufmanniana tulips can also referred to as Waterlily tulips. The flowers have wide, open cups with pointed petals that curve backward. The star shape of the flower resembles a water lily or a star when fully open. Unlike many tulips that flower in mid to late spring, Kaufmanniana varieties bloom in early spring, sometimes even as early as March. They are a welcome sight, heralding the arrival of warmer weather.

WaterlilyPale creamy white with green and red hues
Scarlet GemBright red
PurissimaPure white
Orange EmperorBright orange
MendelDeep red with a yellow center
StargasserYellow with red flames
Little Red Riding HoodBright red
Peach BlossomSoft pink
ConcertoYellow with red speckles

Fosteriana Tulips

Originating from the mountainous regions of Central Asia, Fosteriana tulips were first documented in the 19th century. They were named after the English botanist Michael Foster. Fosteriana varieties are considered early bloomers. You can expect them to burst into color in early to mid-spring, often alongside Kaufmanniana tulips and even before some daffodils.

Fosteriana tulips, sometimes referred to as Emperor tulips are characterized by wide cup-shaped flowers, which measure 6 inches (15 cm) or more in diameter when fully open. The blooms have a classic tulip shape with six petals and sturdy stems that hold them upright. They reach heights of 18-24 inches (45-60 cm) and sometimes even exceeding 30 inches (75 cm).

Red EmperorDeep red
Exotic EmperorWhite with purple markings
Orange EmperorBright orange
Flaming PurissimaWhite with red flames
LindaBright red with a black base
Tang DynastyOrange-red with yellow edges
Golden EmperorGolden yellow
Red Riding Hood (also Single Early)Bright red

Greigii Tulips

Greigii Tulips are native to Central Asia and Iran, with the species originally found in Turkestan. They were introduced into Europe from Turkistan in 1872. These tulips are well-suited for cooler climates, specifically USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 7.

Greigii Tulips are early blooming variety, they appear in gardens from late March to early April. These tulips are relatively shorter than other types, standing at about 8–12 inches tall. They feature single flowers with a distinctive bowl-like shape and have leaves that are playfully variegated with purple spots.

TorontoRed with Black Markings
CalgaryYellow with Red Flames
Red Riding HoodDeep Red
Casa GrandeOrange-Red
PinocchioOrange with Red Flames
GavotaBright Pink
LambadaPurple-Red with White Edges
OratorioSoft Pink with White Edges
KingsbloodDark Red
ChopinWhite with Red Flames