Virtues: Cheerful, two-toned spring bloom. More reliable to reappear in subsequent years than most modern hybrid tulips. Tolerant of mild winters.
Common name: Lady tulip
Botanical name: Tulipa clusiana
Flowers: Petals are white on the interior, and cherry red on the exterior, giving the flower a striped look as it opens. Prominent reddish stamens. Fully opened, the 6 petals lie flat and the flower is 4 inches in diameter. Flower stem is 8 to 12 inches tall. The cultivar ‘Lady Jane’ has paler red coloring on the outside of the petals. Red-and-yellow versions include T. c. var. chrysantha and ‘Cynthia’, but these may not be as tolerant of milder winters.
Foliage: Gray-green, 6-inch leaves.
Season: Middle spring, for flowers.
Origin: Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan.
Cultivation: Grow in part to full sun, in a dry location with well-drained soil. Easy to grow but good drainage is a must and the more sun, the better. Allow foliage to die back on its own after the plant has stopped flowering. Will spread by underground stems and bulb offsets. One of the few tulip species that doesn’t need an extended winter cold period to bloom and spread. Highly drought tolerant. For best results plant where it will not receive much water in summer. USDA Zones 3–10.