Which are the best tulips for perennializing?
Most modern tulip varieties bloom well for only 3 or 4 years. However, there are some tulip types (classes) that bloom well over a longer time period.
Darwin hybrid tulips are generally the longest blooming hybrid tulip. Darwin hybrid tulips are prized for their large, brilliant flowers. Flowers are available in shades of red, pink, orange, yellow, and white. Blooms are borne on stems that are up to 30 inches tall. Darwin hybrid tulips bloom in mid-season.
Fosteriana tulips also perennialize well. They are noted for their large, elongated flowers. Flowers appear in early spring on 10- to 20-inch-tall stems. Foliage is typically green or gray-green. However, a few varieties have mottled or striped foliage. Fosteriana tulips are also known as Emperor tulips.
Species tulips are generally the longest lived tulips. Some naturalize when given favorable growing conditions. Species tulips include wild tulip species and varieties developed from these wild species. Species tulips are usually smaller than most modern tulips. They also have smaller flowers. Species tulips are excellent choices for rock gardens and in the front of beds and borders. They are also sometimes referred to as botanical tulips.