Do you know there are 15 official divisions of tulips?Knowing their characteristics and blooming times makes it possible to get a succession of tulips through out the spring. It also insures against the possibility that your shorter varieties will wind up at the back of the border.
Division 1: Single Early
This is a rather small group of short-stemmed tulips that flower in late March and early April, They usually growing to around 8 in. in height.
Division 2: Double Early
These tulips usually flower from early to mid-April, growing 12-16 in tall. They have very full petals and are used for forcing in pots indoors. They are susceptible to weather damage.
Division 3: Triumph
This group of seedling tulips was given its name in 1923 by a Dutch breeder named N. Zandbergen. Their height ranges from 16-20 in and they flower in late April.
Division 4: Darwin Hybrids
This group of tulips was introduced by D. W. Lefeber in 1943 by crossing Darwin tulips with the Species Fosteriana tulips. They are particularly good for naturalizing. They are one of the tallest garden tulips, growing anywhere with stems from 24-28 in. Flowering time is May.
Division 5: Single Late
This group of tulips includes Darwin and Cottage tulips. Although once divided into two separate divisions, they become so interbred that the two divisions were eventually merged into one. These tulips grow from 7-12 in and flower in May.
Division 6: Lily-Flowered
This group of tulips was originally grouped with the Cottage tulips but was given their own classification in 1958. They typically reach a height of 18-24in and flower in May. This division bears the closest resemblance to the original Turkish tulip and contains the first scented tulip.
Division 7: Fringed
This group of tulips was originally grouped with the Parrot tulips but was classified separately in 1981. These flowers have fringed petals in either the same or a contrasting color of the flower. They grow anywhere from 12-20in tall, and flower in May.
Division 8: Viridiflora
Their green streaked flowers characterize this group of tulips. They grow anywhere from 14-24in tall and flower in May.
Division 9: Rembrandt
This group is nearly obsolete because it was discovered that the streaking that made the flowers so beautiful was caused by a virus that was capable of spreading to other tulips. They are no longer offered commercially.
Division 10: Parrot
This group of tulips is characterized by profusely cascading petals that curl in all directions. They are named for the appearance of the flower bud, which is thought to resemble a parrot’s beak. A few tulips of this variety are scented. They grow from 16-24in and flower in May.
Division 11: Double Late (Peony Flowered)
This group of tulips produces large flower heads with many petals. They are less resistant to bad weather than other varieties of tulips but are ideal for planting in pots. They grow from 18-24in in height and flower from mid to late May.
Division 12: Kaufmanniana
This group of tulips is also commonly referred to as the ‘water lily tulip’ as they open flat in the sun. They are characterized by long, slender petals with leaves that often have deep purple or brownish blotches. These shorter tulips grow from 6-10in in height and flower from mid-March.
Division 13: Fosteriana
This group of tulips was initially achieved by crossing Greigii tulips with Kaufmanniana tulips. Their foliage may either be a gloss-green or a gray-green, and they grow from 8-18in tall, flowering from early April onwards.
Division 14: Greigii
Their wavy edged leaves and flowers that have petals that stand upright on the inside and flare out on the outside characterize this group of tulips. They grow from 8-12in in height and flower from late March to early April.
Division 15: Species
These tulips naturalize easily and can be left undisturbed from one year to another, some seeding themselves freely. Species tulips grow from 4-12in tall and have leaves and flowers that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They flower anywhere from March through May.