I’m always pleasantly surprised when tulips come back a second or even third year.
Daffodils are reliably perennial here in the Hudson Valley; tulips are not.
With most tulips, you rarely get more than one or two flowers the second year from a bouquet of 10 or so bulbs. Most of the big public gardens simply dig out all of their tulips after they finishing blooming and plant new ones in October.
So what a delight when all of my ‘Olympic Flame’ tulips came back into bloom last week.
They were part of a gift package from the Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center in the fall of 2007 in honor of the Beijing Olympics last year
The petals of ‘Olympic Flame’ are deep yellow, with flaming streaks of crimson red running through the flower cup. It blooms in mid to late spring.
Like other Darwin hybrid varieties, you’re much more likely to get return flowering from year to year with this tulip.
‘Olympic Flame’ tulips, like most spring bulbs, look best when planted in bouquets of 10 to 15 bulbs. Plant the bulbs in the fall about 8 inches deep and 3 inches apart and expect to see blooms that are about 2 feet tall.
Tulips prefer full sun to light shade and well-drained soil.
When the foliage begins to emerge in April, spray the shoots with a deer repellent and continue spraying every week or so as they grow. If you’ve got a major deer problem, go with daffodils not tulips.