Double Tulip Bulbs
In recent years we have combined our range of double early tulips and double late tulips into one group. The number of double early tulips has diminished. The short broad flowers of double earlies were once a gardener’s favourite but fashions have changed and the demand isn’t as strong. However, there seems to be an ever increasing amount of the taller double late ‘peony flowering’ tulips. Both are equally stunning, and unrecognisable from the original tulips discovered hundreds of years ago.
Double tulip flowers are often derived from well known varieties and bred into a double form. You will see a huge variety of colours and markings. Whether it’s the flame from Carnival De Nice, or the gentle but luscious blending of copper colours in Orange Princess, double tulips are show stopping flowers.
How do I care for double tulips?
Double early tulips will flower in late March and double late tulips will flower in April to May. They can be an expensive item, so mix them in with complimentary colours to really make a feature of these broad blooms.
Plant double tulip bulbs in October, in well-draining soil. You can add grit to the soil or a bit of rubble at the bottom of containers. They are top heavy, so will benefit from a bit of extra space when you plant the bulbs and also shelter from the wind.
During winter the tulips will form fine roots but they don’t like to be soaking wet. Once the weather turns and they sense the warmth they will begin to shoot. It is important not to let the bulb dry out at this point, because the flower head is present in the bulb from the very beginning, so if the bulb dries out the flower can emerge withered. Despite this, tulips are easy to grow. The bulbs provide all the nutrients the plant needs for the season. You can feed the bulbs once the flower has finished. Remember to let the foliage die back and remove the seed head.
Double tulips need a big bulb to produce a successful flower, it is unlikely that the split bulbs will be big enough to flower the next season but they can be lifted and sorted in summer. Select the larger bulbs for future years.
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