Parrot Tulip

All About Parrot Tulips

So named because their petals resemble a parrot’s beak, Parrot Tulips are the biggest of all tulips, as well as some of the last to bloom (during late spring).

Developed from mutations of tulips in the Triumph Class, Parrot Tulips are among the most colorful and unique. Flowering from mid to late spring, they vary in height, possessing very large and brightly colored petals that can be either feathered, twisted, waved or curled. Some are fragrant, others not.

More specifically:

Varieties include:

Parrot Tulips are easy to grow. Though they tolerate sun or shade equally as well, they are sensitive to cold and rainy weather. As such, make sure you plant them in a warmer part of the garden. Since the petals are numerous and easily damaged, make sure the plants are located away from areas of high wind, probably near the house. They work well as background or along borders, and enhance the look of a garden when planted next to annuals and perennials such as pansies, forget-me-nots, allysum, bleeding heart, basket of gold, and columbine.

When buying bulbs make sure to get good quality stock- and remember, the bigger the bulbs, the larger the blooms will be.

Prepare flower beds ahead of time by removing rocks and weeds. Make sure that the soil is a mixture of sand and compost, to allow for sufficient drainage and root spread. Add some bulb fertilizer and bone meal, as well.

For Zones 3-7, plant after November 1, placing bulbs at least 6” down, with the pointed end up, in clusters of 5-10, so that they will be able to support each other when they grow tall. Place clusters 2-3” apart.

Treat the area for slugs, snails and aphids, as well as bulb, root rot, gray mold and nematodes.

When buds appear they will be green-tinged at the edges, and later when the tulips bloom, the petals will open and then flatten out. After blooms have faded, remove them, but do not remove foliage until it has withered and died back- approximately six weeks later.

As with other perennials, parrot tulips will lose their outer parts while the stems (or bulbs) live on. After the leaves have died back, dig up the bulbs and place them in a warm and dry location. Replant them in the fall, the larger bulbs in the ground, the smaller ones placed in a starting bed so they can mature. Replant them later when they are sufficiently large.  

Fertilize all tulips once a year, either in the spring or fall.

Parrot tulips make excellent cut flowers. For display, cut tulips should be placed in a tall vase to prevent drooping. Since they will continue to grow after being cut, allow for extra growing room.  

With proper design, color coordination and care, parrot tulips can make a back yard come alive, year after year.