understanding the 15 different tulip groups

Below is the full list of the different tulip groups, with a little specification, as well as an example. We hope from this you can learn a bit more to help you pick the tulip that's right for you.

Single Early

Single flowered cultivars, these have cup-shaped flowers approx. 7.5cm wide and are some of the earliest to flower.

e.g. Apricot Beauty

Double Early

Double-flowered cultivars, mainly short-stemmed and early-flowering. Very good long-lasting properties, most suitable for cut flowers. These have double, peony like flowers approx. 7.5-10cm wide.

e.g. Foxtrot


Single-flowered cultivars, stem of medium height, flowering in mid-season. Originally the result of hybridization between cultivars of the Single early group and the Single late group – also known as Mid-season tulips. Another variety with good lasting properties. These have conical flowers and are more rounded, up to 7.5cm wide.

e.g. Jan Reus


Single-flowered cultivars, long-stemmed, flowering in mid-season (April/May). Originally the result of hybridization between cultivars of the Darwin group with Tulipa Fosteriana, and the result of hybridization between other cultivars and botanical tulips. They have habits similar to that of the Fosteriana. These have huge, goblet-like flowers up to 15cm across.

e.g. Big Love

Single Late

Single-flowered cultivars, mainly long-stemmed and late-flowering. This group includes such tulips as those from the former Darwin and Cottage Type groups. Versatile with large flowers on strong stems. These have oval to almost squarish flowers (often with pointed petals).

e.g. Queen of Night


Single-flowered cultivar, flowering mid-season or late, stem length varies. These have long, slim flowers with pointed petals flaring out at their tips (like a Lily, hence their name), approx. 15cm across.

e.g. Ballerina


Single-flowered cultivars, petals edged with crystalline fringes, flowering mid-season or late. Stem of variable length.

e.g. Lambada


These are distinguished by having green streaks or markings on their petals and are normally late flowerers. There are only about 50 or so of these types of tulips.

e.g. China Town


Cultivars with broken flower colours; striped or marked with brown, bronze, black, red, pink or purple, on a red, white or yellow background. Cause of markings is a non-spreading virus infection. Long-stemmed.

e.g. Helmar


Cultivar with unusual fringed, curled and twisted petals. Mainly late-flowering. Stems of variable length. These have large flowers can also be bi-coloured.

e.g. Rococo

Double Late / Peony-flowered

These have large, fully double flowers up to 12cm wide.

e.g. Double Sugar

Fosteriana Hybrids

These have many cultivars, subspecies, varieties and hybrids. Early-flowering variety with broad leaves which can be sometimes mottled or striped. Stems medium to long. These have slender flowers when closed which open up to approx 18-20cm in full sun.

e.g. Purissima


Perennial species of tulip, they are also known as Botanical Tulips. These are smaller and more delicate than modern hybrids, but are normally very hardy and long lived.

e.g. whittallii

Kaufmanniana Hybrids

One of the most permanent tulip varieties. These have water-lily like flowers which flatten out when open and can be bi-coloured and/or have striped or mottled leaves.

e.g. Ice Stick. 

Greigii Hybrids

Usually marbled or striped foliage, flowering later than those in the Kaufmanniana group. Leaves usually spread out and bend down toward the ground. Almost permanent variety, coming up year after year. These have large brightly coloured flowers.

e.g. Red Riding Hood. 

Browse our tulip bulbs and tulip collections to discover your own favourites. On each of our tulip product pages you'll see the 'Group' listed in the details section.