If you had to choose just one type of tulip to grow in your garden, it should be a Darwin hybrid. Worldwide, they are the most popular of all tulips and it’s easy to see why.
Darwin hybrids produce big, showy flowers with a classic tulip shape: broad at the base and slightly narrower at the top. They come in a rainbow of rich, saturated colors that range from white through yellow, orange, red and pink, including several lovely bi-colors.
In the garden, Darwin hybrids have a bold presence and regal bearing. Standing 20 to 24” tall, they are perfect for landscaping and mass plantings as well as for flower beds and borders. With their large blossoms and long, graceful stems, they are also one of the best tulips for flower arranging
Darwin hybrids are reliable performers that aren’t bothered by cold winters or changeable spring weather. Their blossoms are heat tolerant and they grow well in partial shade as well as full sun.
First introduced in the 1950s, Darwin hybrid tulips are a cross between single late tulips and early emperor tulips. This parentage is what gives them their large, shapely blossoms and relatively early bloom time. Depending on the season and your location, Darwin hybrids typically bloom between mid-April and mid-May.
Darwin hybrid tulips are sometimes called “perennial tulips” because after putting on a great show the first year, they will usually give you another year or two of good-size flowers. If you want to encourage your tulips to bloom for more than one year, choose a planting location in full sun and make sure the soil is well drained so the bulbs will be as dry as possible during the summer months.
Once your tulips have finished blooming, snip off the spent blossoms and apply an all-purpose fertilizer to the soil surface. Let the leaves slowly fade from green to yellow. During this time the plant will be storing energy for next year's flowers. Once the foliage is limp and withered, you will be able to remove it with a gentle tug.
To extend the tulip season as long as possible, complement your Darwin hybrids by planting tulips that will flower earlier (such as emperors and double early tulips) as well as later (such as single late and double late tulips).