The “Wild” Parrot Tulip

Tulip season has started here in PA. When most people think about tulips they call to mind a spring flower with six smooth petals that grow in a variety of colors. While some bloom early and others later in the season, the tulips most people grow all look pretty much the same.

But there are other classes of tulips that can add some variety to the spring garden. In fact there are over 15 different classes of tulips and less than half of them have the tradition tulip look.

Parrot Tulips

One unusual tulip is the parrot tulip. Parrot tulips have large flowers with petals that are feathered, curled, twisted or waved, hence the name “parrot.” Every blossom is different and unique. I had heard of parrot tulips and seen them in bulb catalogues but they never captured my attention until I worked with them as a floral designer. When I saw them up-close, I was amazed. In my opinion, the texture, size and general “wow” of the parrot tulip puts standard tulips to shame. If traditional tulips are elegant and classy, parrot tulips are their wild and flamboyant relatives! While I like them both, the parrot tulip is my favorite.

Close-Up of Parrot Tulip Petals

Parrot tulip bulbs can be found in the fall in well stocked garden centers and through online retailers. They come in the standard tulip colors of red, yellow, pink, orange, purple and white; many are variegated and/or multicolored. Parrot tulips are as easy to grow as standard tulips. Just plant them in the fall and then wait for the display they’ll produce in the spring.

If you’re looking for something a little different in the spring garden, check out parrot tulips. You’ll probably be the only house in your neighborhood with these bold and dramatic flowers.

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