Suggestions for Rising Greig’s (Greigii) Tulips

Tulipa greigii

There are such a lot of tulips in the marketplace. After I first began researching them years in the past for my very own backyard, I in the end threw up my fingers and simply picked those that had the prettiest photos on their packages.

However I’m a lot pickier now and I do know that if I wish to fill a particular house, I want to search out the proper species.

After I want a tulip that’s low-growing and gives long-lasting curiosity within the type of foliage and flowers, my go-to is Greig’s tulip, or Tulipa greigii.

A horizontal photo of a field filled with yellow and red variegated Greigii tulips.

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When you have goals of a discipline of tulips, this one is an ideal choice.

It naturalizes readily with out turning into invasive. And it’s good as a border plant, so as to add life to a rock backyard, and even for show in containers.

A part of what makes this selection improbable is that the vegetation can produce as much as three flowers per bulb, that means you get a dense cluster of blossoms with just some specimens.

In the event you reside in USDA Hardiness Zones 3b to 8a, you’ll be able to develop these quick queens – and this information will talk about cultivation particulars.

Right here’s what I’ll cowl:

The earlier we get began, the earlier we will begin having fun with our vegetation, so let’s dive proper in!

What Is Greig’s Tulip?

Greig’s tulips are vegetation of the Tulipa greigii species. The vegetation develop to a few foot tall when in bloom in early to mid-spring.

A horizontal photo of a grouping of red Greigii tulips in a garden.

Every single, cup-shaped flower is held on an extended stalk, and so they’re sometimes pink, salmon, yellow, orange, white, or a mixture. A single bulb can produce as much as three flower stalks.

The leaves have a stunning variegated inexperienced and reddish-purple sample. These are rectangular or lanceolate, alternate, and clasping – which implies they encompass the stem.

And these patterns range wildly. That’s as a result of they’re attributable to a viral an infection. If you buy a plant with a sample that you just love, you’ll be able to’t depend on it being efficiently recreated yr after yr.

These tulips are smaller than the extra widespread hybrids that most individuals select for his or her gardens.

You may image Holland whenever you think about these flowers working wild, however this species is indigenous to Kyrgyzstan within the North and West Tien Shan mountains.

Sadly, they’re endangered of their native residence due to overgrazing and livestock visitors, in addition to poaching.

Cultivation and Historical past

Greig’s tulip was first recognized in Turkestan and despatched to Russia, the place it was described by botanist and horticulturist Eduard August von Regel in 1877. 

A vertical photo of two red Greigii tulips blooms starting to emerge amidst the green foliage.

The precise epithet is a reference to Samuel Greig, a frontrunner of the Russian navy and president of the Russian Horticultural Society within the 1700s.

This was the primary species of tulip to be launched into business cultivation.

Greig’s Tulip Propagation

Bulbs must be planted within the fall for early spring blossoms.

Earlier than planting, put together your soil. These vegetation do finest in loamy, unfastened soil, or barely sandy soil. 

A horizontal photo of a woman gardener in a bright yellow sweater planting bulbs in a garden.

They received’t do nicely in any respect in heavy clay, poorly draining soil. However if in case you have soil that’s too sandy or too dense with clay, both might be remedied by working in numerous well-rotted compost.

Place the bulbs six inches aside and 4 inches deep. You’ll be able to cluster them a bit nearer if you would like, however additional spacing helps to spotlight the leaves.

The vegetation can develop up a foot broad and crowding them collectively will press the leaves collectively, impeding airflow.

After you’ve had your vegetation within the floor for a couple of years, you’ll be able to divide them.

Develop Greig’s Tulips

Plant your bulbs in full solar. They flower finest after they have six hours or extra of daylight per day.

The leaves, that are admittedly attractive in their very own proper, will nonetheless emerge in shadier conditions, however the flowers received’t bloom.

These vegetation don’t do nicely as soon as temperatures climb above 70°F, which is why they received’t thrive in Zones 8b and above.

If you wish to develop tulips in hotter areas, resembling in Zones 8b and 9, search for bulbs which have been cold-treated and deal with them as annuals.

A horizontal phtoo of several red and yellow Greigii tulips growing in a garden.

The soil must be well-draining and wealthy, ideally with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5.

And once more, this isn’t the plant for terribly sandy or heavy clay areas. When you have your coronary heart set on rising Greigii tulips and you’ve got less-than-ideal soil, develop them in containers or raised beds as an alternative.

The soil must be allowed to dry out a bit between watering. In the event you stick your finger into the soil, it ought to really feel dry midway down the size of the bulb. If it’s any wetter, don’t complement with water.

There’s a whole lot of info on the market about how and when to feed tulips.

Most consultants agree that it must be accomplished within the fall, and I discover my vegetation do higher after I feed them then. That manner, the creating bulbs have all of the vitamins they want for blooming in spring.

In the event you’re rising them as annuals, don’t fear about fertilizing. Equally, don’t feed the bulbs within the first yr after planting.

They’ve all of the vitamins they want constructed proper in whenever you first plant them, and it’s solely within the following years that they’ll want a lift.

Within the fall, costume the bottom above and across the bulbs with a granular meals.

Jobe’s Organics Granular Fertilizer

Make life straightforward on your self and use a meals made for bulbs like Jobe’s Organics, which is out there at Amazon in four-pound baggage.

Rising Suggestions

  • Plant in full solar for the very best flowering.
  • Water when the soil has dried to midway down the bulb.
  • Feed within the fall after the primary yr with granular fertilizer.

Pruning and Upkeep

The flowers emerge in early to mid-spring and stick round for a couple of weeks. As soon as the flowers fade, go forward and take away the flower stalks.

Wait till the leaves are totally yellow or brown within the late spring for elimination. Gently pull them away from the plant.

In the event that they resist, go away them a bit longer. The leaves present vitamins to maintain the bulb, so should you minimize them off or pull them prematurely, you deprive the bulbs of vitamins.

Greig’s Tulip Cultivars to Choose

There are a lot of cultivars on the market, and new ones are hitting the market on a regular basis. I’ve but to run into one which didn’t develop nicely for me, however listed below are a couple of standouts:

Cape Cod

Apricot petals edged in golden yellow pop up on 10-inch-tall stems in early spring, making for a fiery show.

A horizontal close up shot of the middle of a yellow and red 'Cape Cod' Greigii tulip.

Like all Greig’s tulips, ‘Cape Cod’ naturalizes readily with out turning into invasive, so let it take over a naked patch of the backyard.

Easter Shock

Come Easter time, you’ll get pleasure from these lemon yellow flowers tipped in an ombre of salmon pink and pink.

A vertical close up shot of a single 'Easter Surprise' Greigii tulip where the bloom starts at the base as yellow and fades into a bright red-orange.

The vegetation keep underneath eight inches tall and sports activities maroon-tinted leaves.


‘Oratorio’ is on the petite facet, rising to about six inches tall or so, so these bulbs are good as a low border.

They bloom a couple of weeks sooner than a whole lot of cultivars, however earlier than the salmon pink blossoms pop up, you get to benefit from the purple-marked foliage.

A vertical shot of an 'Oratorio' Greigii tulip growing in the garden.


Discover packages of eight bulbs at Walmart.

Purple Driving Hood

‘Purple Driving Hood’ has placing scarlet blossoms with only a trace of peach on the surface base of the petals.

A horizontal field of 'Red Riding Hood' Greigii tulips in full bloom.

Inside, the petals are accented in black on the base. And the reddish-purple leaves act as the proper accent for the daring blossoms.


The creamy yellow petals with a watercolor stripe of orange-red down the outer middle spotlight a border or stun as a mass planting.

‘Zampa’ stays underneath eight inches tall.

Managing Pests and Illness

I’ve repeatedly heard the declare that as a result of vegetation within the Tulipa genus include some poisonous compounds, herbivores received’t eat them. Effectively, somebody wants to inform that to the deer and voles in my neck of the woods.

Whereas herbivores are my greatest problem, pests and illness will also be an issue. Let’s speak about these hungry herbivores first.


Traditionally, people have eaten tulip bulbs throughout instances of famine. So it ought to come as no shock that herbivores will goal them.

Nonetheless, I’m all the time stunned by how a lot the squirrels, deer, and mice will go after the bulbs.


If persimmons are “deer sweet,” tulips are “deer veggies.” Ungulates will devour the leaves, flowers, and even the bulbs throughout instances of shortage.

A horizontal photo of a female deer standing in the snow in a winter meadow.

I as soon as watched a herd of deer shifting by my winter backyard, and I marveled at their magnificence and sleek motion within the snow-filled dormant backyard.

However after they began pawing on the floor and pulling up my tulip bulbs – they weren’t so cute then!

When you have deer in your space, then you understand the very best management is exclusion. Learn our information to discover ways to hold deer out of your tulip beds.

Mice, Squirrels, and Voles

Rodents like mice, squirrels, and voles will devour the bulbs, whether or not they discover them in storage or dig them up from the bottom.

Voles will discover the bulbs whereas tunneling underground, squirrels will dig them up, and mice will make the most of shallow bulbs.

Typically, I simply chalk it as much as the price of gardening after I lose a couple of bulbs. But when the rodents begin to destroy your backyard, the best choice is to maneuver your vegetation into containers.

In the event you can’t stand the considered potting up these flowers, you’ll be able to bury wire mesh underneath and across the mattress. Raised beds make the work simpler, however you are able to do this within the floor, too.

Then, bury the bulbs an inch or two deeper than you usually would. This may be sufficient to discourage tiny squirrel and mouse paws.

Some gardeners report that repellants work. They by no means have for me, however within the battle in opposition to the four-legged marauders, we shouldn’t go away any instruments on the shelf.


There are two predominant pests that usually go to Greig’s tulips. Aphids are much less widespread, whereas slugs and snails are widespread foes.


In the event you’ve by no means handled aphids earlier than, it’s solely a matter of time. They’re extraordinarily widespread within the backyard, although I don’t discover them to be significantly widespread on tulips.

These bugs are small and oval formed, and so they use their sucking mouthparts to withdraw the sap from the leaves and stems of the plant. They sometimes prefer to cluster in areas the place they will cover, like the bottom of leaves or proper underneath the flower heads.

I often discover I can management aphids by spraying them off with a gentle stream of water. Do that each few days. If that’s not sufficient, go to our information to study different methods of tips on how to management aphids.

Slugs and Snails

Slugs and snails will flip the leaves into lace. They’ll even kill a plant if it’s younger sufficient.

A horizontal close up of a snail on the underside of a dew-covered light pink tulip.

With massive, well-established bulbs, slugs and snails can eat the plant to the bottom and forestall it from flowering that yr, although it is likely to be sturdy sufficient to return the next yr.

For management, I simply keep on with unhazardous slug bait, like Sluggo, out there from Arbico Organics.

A square product photo of Sluggo Slugs and Snails Bait.

Sluggo Snail Bait

It’s essentially the most dependable choice for preserving mollusks away from high-value vegetation like tulips.

You’ll be able to study extra about tips on how to cope with slugs and snails in our information.


Greig’s tulips are significantly powerful with regards to illnesses – apart from the virus that provides them their distinct look. When a few of my showier hybrids are flailing, they’re nonetheless going sturdy.

These vegetation can contract a couple of fungal points, however this sometimes solely occurs when vegetation are confused or rising in less-than-ideal circumstances.

The first ailment that you just may see with tulips is Botrytis blight.

Botrytis Blight

Botrytis blight, additionally referred to as tulip fireplace, is a standard illness within the backyard. Brought on by fungi within the Botrytis genus, B. tulipae is a tulip-specific fungus.

A horizontal close up of foliage with disease damage due to a fungus.

The fungus thrives in cool, moist circumstances. A pleasant, lengthy stretch of overcast skies with loads of rain and humidity over 80 % is simply the factor this pathogen wants.

However even that may not be sufficient for the illness to unfold all through your backyard. It can typically anticipate a bit of injury to sneak in – hailstorm, pest injury, or mechanical injury leaves the plant uncovered.

Signs embody twisted, distorted leaves, shoots that don’t unfurl, small spots on leaves and petals, and in extreme instances, massive sunken scabby areas.

Because the illness worsens, you’ll see massive lesions on the leaves and grey mildew may seem on the decrease a part of the plant and on the bulbs, inflicting them to rot – whether or not in storage or underground.

Avoiding this downside begins with shopping for from respected sellers who assure disease-free bulbs.

Be extraordinarily cautious when planting or when lifting the bulbs for storage to keep away from damaging them. In the event you come throughout a bulb that appears moldy, eliminate it within the rubbish, not the compost.

Keep away from overwatering and overcrowding your vegetation to enhance air circulation.

When you’re at it, you may simply wish to pack up and transfer someplace dry and sunny through the spring as a result of – and I hate to be the one to let you know this – there isn’t a remedy for tulip fireplace.

There’s no remedy and it tends to worsen yr after yr. However you’ll be able to restrict the unfold by eradicating symptomatic leaves and stems as quickly as they begin to fade.

You’ll be able to soak the soil or spray the bulbs with a fungicide, each as a preventative and to sluggish the unfold.

My go-to is Mycostop, which harnesses the ability of the helpful micro organism Streptomyces pressure K61.

A vertical product shot of an envelope of Mycostop Biofungicide on a white background.

Mycostop Biofungicide

Arbico Organics carries it in five- or 25-gram packets. Comply with the instructions intently for grey mildew.

Finest Makes use of for Greig’s Tulips

A single plant is cute, however these tulips make the largest impression whenever you group them collectively. You may as well power them to bloom indoors through the winter for some colour.

Greigii tulips might be grown in containers, lawns, rock gardens, and minimize flower gardens, naturalized, grouped en masse, or grown as border vegetation.

The draw back of tulips is that they disappear in the summertime, leaving naked soil of their place.

Through the dormant months, don’t hesitate to plant one thing over the bulbs. Shallow-rooted annuals like cosmos, petunias, phlox, candy alyssum, and zinnias make nice picks.

Fast Reference Rising Information

Plant Sort: Perennial flowering bulb Flower / Foliage Shade: Purple, pink, yellow, white, bicolored/inexperienced, variegated
Native to: Kyrgyzstan Water Wants: Reasonable
Hardiness (USDA Zone): 3b-8a Upkeep: Low
Bloom Time / Season: Spring Tolerance: Gentle frost, some drought
Time to Maturity: 1 yr Soil Sort: Free, wealthy, barely sandy
Publicity: Full solar Soil pH: 6.0-6.5
Spacing: 6 inches Soil Drainage: Effectively-draining
Planting Depth: 4 inches Companion Planting: Cosmos, petunias, phlox, candy alyssum, zinnias
Top: 12 inches Keep away from Planting With: Deep-rooted perennials
Unfold: 4 inches Household: Liliaceae
Progress Price: Quick Genus: Tulipa
Frequent Pests and Illnesses: Aphilds, deer, mice, squirrels, voles; tulip fireplace Species: Greigii

These Tulips Are a Deal with

As a lot as I really like tulips, I’ve to confess that rising them could be a little bit of a letdown exterior of the few weeks that they’re in bloom.

However the striped, broad leaves add a component of curiosity to the backyard through the rising season.

What’s interesting about Greig’s tulips for you? Is it their measurement? The leaves? One thing else? Tell us within the feedback.

Are you aware what’s even higher than a mattress filled with Greig’s tulips? A backyard filled with a number of species!

If that sounds good to you, learn a few of our different guides to rising totally different beauties within the Tulipa genus, resembling:

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