Central Asia is the homeland of the tulip, although they are more widely associated with The Netherlands following the tulip mania of 1636-1637.
We often associate tulips with large tall flowers, however many of the wild species are actually small growing.
Through years of breeding, a wide variety of cultivars have become available which have been classified into 15 different divisions. Many like their wild relatives are dwarf and perfect where space is limited.
The dwarf tulip 'Red Riding Hood' with its classic red flowers was introduced in 1953. With its rich red with green leaves striped and mottled with deep purple, this is one of the best miniature tulips you can grow and is part of a group known as Greigii types.
Punchy in a pot or vibrant planted out en masse in a border - they make a great formal carpet due to their compact uniformity. These types of tulips are also perfect for rockeries.
Another favourite is 'Pinochio' with red and white blossoms reaching no more than 20cm in height and like its fairy tale friend 'Red Riding Hood' also carries attractive mottled foliage. Alluring creamy-white blooms with harmonious pinkish stripe is the Dwarf Tulip ‘Fur Elise’
It is best to plant tulips as late as possible in the year. Although October will suffice, leaving until November or even December reduces the chance of picking up tulip fire blight which favours warm, damp conditions.
The kaufmanniana tulips are particularly early to flower in March or April and feature flowers which open rather like miniature water lilies on short stems. 'Stresa' is a beautiful bright yellow and red example and like all the dwarf tulips,
is ideal for exposed sites where taller flowers may be subjected to wind damage.
For something more subtle, in a muted tone, the greigii tulip 'Albion Star' elegantly displays white petals flushed with pink. Soft and romantic, perfect for those who love a tulip but prefer to be surrounded by pastel petals.
If you can't make your mind up, Suttons have an excellent tulip 'Dwarf Collection' offering a selection of dwarf tulips to impress. Why not partner with miniature daffodils and hyacinths to ensure a spring full of small petalled perfection!
Buy dwarf tulip bulbs UK