16 types of tulips

Tulips are one of springtime’s favorite flowers. While there are thousands of individual varieties, all these different tulips can be separated into 16 main categories. Every tulip cultivar is placed into one of these 16 divisions when registered with The Royal General Bulb Growers’ Association, based in Holland.

Let’s look at the 16 types of tulips, including the defining characteristics and some popular varieties that fit into each category.

Types of tulips - single early - purple prince
Single early tulip ‘purple prince’

1. Single early tulips

Single early tulips are traditional types of tulips with elegant upward petals. These classic beauties produce a single flower head per stalk. Each flower has six petals, and many varieties are quite fragrant. The total height of these plants in flower is in the range of 8″-14″ tall. Single early tulips bloom from early spring to mid-spring.

Here are some popular varieties of single early tulips:

  • Prince Tulips (Candy Prince, Purple Prince, and Sunny Prince)
  • Tulipa ‘White Marvel’
  • Tulipa ‘Keizerskroon’ (Emperor’s Crown)

Single early tulips are Division One in the classification system of the Royal General Bulb Growers’ Association (KAVB).

Types of tulips - foxtrot
Double early tulip ‘foxtrot’

2. Double early tulips

Double early tulips are another popular type of tulip. These full-bodied blooms also produce a single flower per stalk, but each flower has a double set of petals. The inner layer of petals gives this type of tulip the nickname “peony tulips,” as they really can look like peonies in bloom.

Here are some popular cultivars of the double early tulip type:

  • Tulipa ‘Foxtrot’
  • Tulipa ‘Pamplona’
  • Tulipa ‘Monte Orange’
  • Tulipa ‘Valdivia’

Double early tulips are generally shorter than single-petaled varieties, with stocky stems about 8″-12″ tall. These tulips bloom from early spring to mid-spring. Double early tulips are classed as Division Two in the international grouping system.

Types of tulips - barcelona
Triumph tulip ‘barcelona’

3. Triumph tulips

Triumph tulips were created in the early 1900s by crossing single early tulips with old-fashioned Darwin tulips. There are now dozens of different kinds of triumph tulips. These flowers have a cupped shape and slightly angular petals. Most triumph tulips bloom in mid-spring, with a few flowering into late spring.

Here are some popular triumph tulips:

  • Tulipa ‘Barcelona’
  • Tulipa ‘Peppermint Candy’
  • Tulipa ‘Golden Prins Claus’
  • Tulipa ‘Beautytrend’

Triumph tulips range in height from about 10″ to 18″ tall. Triumph tulips are Division Three in the international classification system for tulip cultivars.

Types of tulips - pink impression
Darwin hybrid tulip ‘pink impression’

4. Darwin hybrid tulips

Darwin hybrid tulips are an extremely popular type of tulip known for their large flowers that typically bloom in quite vivid colors. Some of the most famous tulip varieties are Darwin hybrids. These tall plants reach 12″-20″ tall, depending on the specific variety. Darwin hybrids bloom in mid-spring. Many of the most popular tulip varieties are Darwin hybrids.

Here are some popular Darwin hybrid tulip varieties:

  • Tulipa ‘Apeldoorn’
  • Tulipa ‘Red Impression’ (Red Dynasty)
  • Tulipa ‘Pink Impression’
  • Tulipa ‘Golden Parade’

Darwin hybrid tulips are hybrids of old-fashioned Darwin tulips. Darwin hybrid tulips are Division Four in the tulip classification grouping system.

Apeldoorn darwin hybrid tulips
Types of tulips - queen of night
Single late tulip ‘queen of night’

5. Single Late tulips

Single late tulips are a very popular type of tulip known for their exceptionally tall height and tolerance to warm temperatures. While some varieties are as short as 12″ tall, some cultivars can reach 30″ high in full bloom. Single Late Tulips flower in mid-spring to late spring.

Here are some well-known single late tulip cultivars:

  • Tulipa ‘Queen of Night’
  • Tulipa ‘Bleu Aimable’
  • Tulipa ‘El Niño’
  • Tulipa ‘World Expression’

Single late tulips are prized bedding plants in both home gardens and municipal landscaping displays. This group includes old-fashioned Darwin tulips as well as old-fashioned cottage tulips. Single late tulips are referred to as Division Five in the tulip-type grouping system.

Lily-flowered tulip 'elegant lady'
Lily-flowered tulip ‘elegant lady’

6. Lily-flowered tulips

Lily-flowered tulips are a unique class of tulips characterized by pointed petals and delicate vase forms. These fragrant tulips tend to have an hourglass shape, with the pointy petals flared outwards at the top of the flower. Most varieties of lily-flowered tulips bloom in mid-spring to late spring.

Here are some popular varieties of lily-flowered tulips:

  • Tulipa ‘Elegant Lady’
  • Tulipa ‘Je t’Aime’
  • Tulipa ‘Ballade’

Lily-flowered tulips grow in a wide range of heights, from about 14″ tall up to 28″ tall (rivaling single late tulips). The taller varieties tend to have weaker stems (especially older cultivars). Lily-flowered tulips are Division Six in the tulip classification system.

Types of tulips - queensland fringed
Fringed tulip ‘queensland’

7. Fringed tulips

Fringed tulips are an easily recognizable group of tulips known for the fringed edges of their flower petals. Some types even have fringed margins that are a different color than the inner portion of the petal. While most are single-petaled, there are some double varieties available. Most cultivars flower in late spring.

Here are some popular fringed tulips:

  • Tulipa ‘Coldplay’
  • Tulipa ‘Anfield’
  • Tulipa ‘Queensland’

Fringed tulips vary widely in height between different varieties because the fringe is a mutation that can occur in different tulips. The shortest varieties measure below 10″ tall, and the tallest can reach 30″ tall. Fringed tulips are Division Seven in the tulip grouping system.

Types of tulips - viridiflora tulips
Viridiflora tulip ‘green spirit’

8. Viridiflora tulips

Viridiflora tulips are specialty types of tulips with somewhat pointed petals and a characteristic thick stripe of green running up the middle of each outer petal. This category of tulip blooms in late spring.

Here are some popular viridiflora tulip cultivars:

  • Tulipa ‘Esperanto’
  • Tulipa ‘Orange Marmelade’
  • Tulipa ‘Green Spirit’

Viridiflora tulips tend to grow in the range of 12″-24″ tall. Florists prize this type as they are quite long-lasting as cut flowers. Viridiflora tulips are Division Eight in the tulip classification system.

Rembrandt tulip coloring
Here is an example of the mutation that causes color patterning similar to rembrandt tulips

9. Rembrandt tulips

Rembrandt tulips are a historical category of tulips known for their streaked petals. This group gets its name from its prominence in paintings by Dutch Masters. Unfortunately, the unique patterns of this type were due to a virus called Tulip Breaking Virus, which can infect other plants. True Rembrandt tulips are no longer sold commercially due to their ability to spread disease to other plants.

Fortunately for gardeners, the incredible patterns of Rembrandt tulips have been recreated by modern breeders in other tulip divisions that are not infected with TBV. Rembrandt tulips are classified as Division Nine in the classification system.

Here are some tulips from other categories with Rembrandt-like patterns:

  • Tulipa ‘World Expression’ (Single Late Tulip Group)
  • Improved Rembrandt Tulips (Triumph Tulip Group)
  • Tulipa ‘Helmar’ (Triumph Tulip Group)
Types of tulips - parrot tulips
Parrot tulip ‘rococo’

10. Parrot tulips

Parrot tulips are a popular specialty type of tulip known for their twisting, wavy petals and rich colors. Many types are bicolor (two-toned) and have incredible patterns. Some have a green stripe running up from the base of the outer petals. Parrot tulips are generally medium in height, ranging from 12″to -20″ tall.

Here are some favorite varieties of parrot tulips:

  • Tulipa ‘Rococo’
  • Tulipa ‘Rasta Parrot’ (Rainbow Parrot)
  • Tulipa ‘White Lizard’

Parrot tulips bloom from mid-spring to late spring. This type is classed as Division Ten in the tulip classification system.

Types of tulips - angelique
Double late tulip ‘angelique’

11. Double Late tulips

Double late tulips are late-flowering double varieties which are also known as peony tulips. These giant fluffy flowers are held up by strong, stocky stems. Plants range from 12″-16″ tall while in bloom.

Here are some popular double late tulip varieties:

  • Tulipa ‘Angelique’
  • Tulipa ‘Frejus’
  • Tulipa ‘On The Double’

Double late tulips are known as Division Eleven in the tulip classification system.

Types of tulips - kaufmanniana tulips stresa
Kaufmanniana tulip ‘stresa’

12. Kaufmanniana tulips

Kaufmanniana tulips are cultivars of Tulipa kaufmanniana, which is a wild tulip species native to Asia. These flowers have pointed petals and tend to open into an open star-like shape. Kaufmanniana tulips are very short (typically 6″-8″ tall).

Here are several cultivars of Kaufmanniana tulips:

  • Tulipa kaufmanniana ‘Johann Strauss’
  • Tulipa kaufmanniana ‘Heart’s Delight’
  • Tulipa kaufmanniana ‘Stresa’

Kaufmanniana tulips bloom in early spring. These flowers are Division Twelve in the tulip-type system.

Types of tulips - fosteriana tulips orange emperor
Fosteriana tulip ‘orange emperor’

13. Fosteriana tulips

Fosteriana tulips are cultivars of Tulipa fosteriana, which is another wild tulip species native to Asia. The flowers have pointed petals, making the flowers look almost like floating lilies when they open. This similarity gives them the nickname “Waterlily Tulips.” Most plants grow in the range of 8″-20″ tall and have strong stems. They are known for their ability to perennialize and naturalize over a wide area.

Here are some popular types of Fosteriana tulips:

  • Tulipa fosteriana ‘Sweet Sixteen’
  • Tulipa fosteriana ‘Orange Brilliant’
  • Tulipa fosteriana ‘Red Purissima’
  • Tulipa fosteriana ‘Orange Emperor’
  • Tulipa fosteriana ‘Flames Mystery’

Fosteriana tulips bloom during mid-spring. This type is Division Thirteen in the classification system.

Types of tulips - engadin
Greigii tulip ‘engadin’

14. Greigii tulips

Greigii tulips are cultivars of or hybrids of Tulipa greigii, which is another wild species from Asia. This type is known not only for its huge cup-shaped flowers but also for its variegated and/or streaked foliage. Some varieties are branching, with each stem producing 2-4 individual flowers. Most varieties are quite short and grow to be in the range of 10″-14″ tall.

Here are some popular cultivars of Greigii tulips:

  • Tulipa greigii ‘Engadin’
  • Tulipa greigii ‘Red Riding Hood’
  • Tulipa greigii ‘Giant Orange Sunrise’

Greigii tulips bloom from early spring to mid-spring. This type is Division Fourteen in the tulip grouping system.

Types of tulips - species tulipa tarda
Species Tulip Tulipa Tarda

15. Species tulips

Species tulips are other botanical species of wild tulips, as well as some cultivars with similar characteristics. These types are typically shorter than modern hybrid tulips, and some are quite good at naturalizing on their own.

Here are some cultivars of species tulips or miscellaneous other varieties:

  • Tulipa tarda ‘Golden Charm’
  • Tulipa humilis ‘Wild Blue Heart’
  • Tulipa clusiana ‘Peppermintstick’
  • Tulipa ‘Sunshine Reggae’

Species tulips tend to bloom from early spring to mid-spring. This category is Division Fifteen in the tulip classification system.

Types of tulips - coronet - white liberstar
Coronet tulip ‘white liberstar’

16. Coronet tulips

Coronet tulips are modern crown-shaped tulips that were given their own category in 2018. These uniquely shaped tulips have undulating petals, making the top of the flower resemble a crown. These flowers bloom at different points during the tulip season.

Here are some specific varieties of coronet tulips:

  • Tulipa ‘White Liberstar’
  • Tulipa ‘Striped Crown’
  • Tulipa ‘Red Dress’
Different types of tulips
Parrots, lilies, darwins, and doubles…
Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a quintessential Canadian gardener. An engineer by trade, she tends to an ever-expanding collection of plants. In her world, laughter blooms as freely as her flowers, and every plant is raised with a dash of Canadian grit.

Mary Jane is a certified Master Gardener and also holds a Permaculture Design Certificate. She's also a proud mom of three, teaching her little sprouts the crucial difference between a garden friend and foe.

When she's not playing in the dirt, Mary Jane revels in her love for Taylor Swift, Gilmore Girls, ice hockey, and the surprisingly soothing sounds of bluegrass covers of classic hip-hop songs. She invites you to join her garden party, a place where you can share in the joy of growing and where every day is a new opportunity to find the perfect spot for yet another plant.

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