Botanical name: Tulipa kaufmanniana
Flowering period: early
Average plant height: 4 – 8 inches
Spacing between bulbs: 3 inches
Type of bulb: true bulb
Landscape uses: beds, borders and rock gardens
These little tulips growing in the wild in Turkistan were given the name T. kaufmanniana. They were introduced to Europe in 1877 by the Dutch firm of Van Tubergen. The flower petals are creamy-white inside, running over to pink-red on the outside with a very obvious yellow basal spot. Specimens of this original species are still being cultivated but only in very small quantities. The distinguishing features of this species are a short stem and, often, speckled or striped foliage.
Gorgeous cultivars have been developed from this species over the years. This breeding has resulted in larger flowers noted for their brightly contrasting colors. During the sunny hours of the day, the flowers are wide open and provide an entirely different color effect than when closed. The flower shape changes dramatically also; when open, they resemble a shining star. These early-flowering little tulips are especially beautiful in rock gardens and containers. They naturalize easily.
Most significant cultivars
- 'Fashion': scarlet red flowers
- 'Giuseppe Verdi': carmine red, yellow-edged flowers *
- 'Cluck': carmine red, bright yellow-edged flowers *
- 'Heart's Delight': carmine red, pale pink-edged flowers *
- 'Johann Strauss': currant red, pale yellow-edged flowers *
- 'Scarlet Baby': scarlet red flowers
- 'Showwinner': cardinal red flowers *
- 'Stresa': currant red and yellow flowers *
* these cultivars have spotted foliage.
As is the case with most other tulip classes, these are also offered as mixed colors.