Tulips In Iowa

Written by Heather Hall
Published: March 2, 2023
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The climate in Iowa is generally considered to be continental. The state experiences warm summers and cold winters. Iowa has four primary USDA Hardiness Zones, which range from Zone 4b – 5a, depending on your region. Because tulips are best planted in Zones 3-7, they can definitely grow well in Iowa! It’s important to plant them in a location that gets plenty of sunlight since tulips require 6 to 8 hours a day for strong flowers. Additionally, you should consider using mulch to protect the bulbs during extreme weather conditions. With proper care and attention, you can look forward to seeing beautiful blooms every spring! Here are some of the most stunning varieties of tulips to grow in Iowa.

Tulips need 6-8 hours of daily sun

Tulips can grow well in Iowa, just remember to plant them in a location that gets 6 to 8 hours of sun each day to ensure strong flowers.


7 Types of Tulips

Tulips are beautiful and iconic flowers, and they come in a variety of colors and shapes. Depending on the type of tulip, they can bloom at different times throughout the spring. For instance, some types of early-blooming tulips sprout in March before most other plants have started to grow. Mid-season varieties start blooming around April, while late-season types (like parrot tulips) flower in May. All tulip bulbs should be planted several weeks before the expected first frost in the fall so that they have time to establish themselves before winter arrives. 

1. ‘Daydream’ Tulip

If you’re looking for a tulip to admire and daydream about, the ‘Daydream’ tulip is your dream come true. This tall, strong variety has a beautiful coloration that changes and evolves as the flower matures. At first, it’s a honey-gold hue that slowly develops into tangerine orange and then into a rich sunset red-orange. When these charming tulips begin to bloom, the garden will be filled with an array of vibrant colors. This Darwin Hybrid is ideal for spring weather and produces a sweet aroma. It’s a perfect choice for a back planting in a spring bulb bed or cut flower bed due to its impressive height of 22 inches. The ‘Daydream’ tulip is sure to bring a kaleidoscope of splendor to your space.

Daydream tulips change color as they mature

The ‘Daydream’ tulip changes its color as the flower matures, from a honey-gold hue to tangerine orange and then into a rich sunset red-orange.

©iStock.com/Kristine Radkovska

2. ‘Aveyron’ Tulip

The ‘Aveyron’ tulip is a stunning variety known for its delicate beauty as well as its resilient stem, which can endure tough weather conditions. The petals are arranged in a staggered pattern to give the flower an exaggerated and full look that will last for a long time. The pink color of the ‘Aveyron’ tulip is particularly eye-catching, and its ruffled edges make it an ideal flower to photograph. This romantic flower will bring a touch of joy when it blooms in the early spring.

The 'Aveyron' tulip has vibrant pink flowers with ruffled edges.

The ‘Aveyron’ tulip has vibrant pink flowers with ruffled edges.


3. ‘Nightrider’ Tulip

It is difficult to believe your eyes, but the ‘Nightrider’ tulip (Tulipa ‘Nightrider’) is as beautiful as it looks in photos. This type of tulip, which dates back 500 years, is unique not only due to its green petals but also because its blooms last longer than almost any other type of tulip. This green, cream, and purple flower will be enjoyed for weeks when it blooms in late spring. The ‘Nightrider’ is an incredible sight with its green flames bordered by cream and surrounded by purple, making it a dream come true for tulip collectors. Its petals are perfectly puckered and curl inward, creating the traditional tulip shape. Its rare coloration makes it look like it was made by fairies. Florists keep the ‘Nightrider’ tulip a secret since it is taller than the other viridifloras (22 inches) and appears out of this world when cut and put in a vase.

'Nightrider' tulips bloom longer than other tulips

The ‘Nightrider’ tulip is unique not only due to its green petals, but also because its blooms last longer than almost any other type of tulip.


4. ‘Peptalk’ Tulip

This double late peony tulip is sure to put a smile on your face with its beautiful appearance! It boasts old-fashioned charm with its combination of red, pink, and peach colors, fading delicately into one another. Reaching an impressive height of 16 inches, the ‘Peptalk’ tulip is ideal for gardens and can also be used to decorate beneath larger trees. It blooms in the early spring, around late March. The blooms will be the highlight of your landscape with their vibrant colors and inviting warmth.

5. ‘Pink Promise’ Tulip

Choosing a single pink hue for your garden can be a difficult task! With the ‘Pink Promise’ mix, you can have a variety of shades in a single garden! This tulip assortment features a combination of rose pink, pale pastel pink, and deep magenta, creating a beautiful show in your garden when springtime arrives. This flower stands approximately 14 to 16 inches tall.

6. ‘Diamond Jubilee’ Tulip

The ‘Diamond Jubilee’ tulip is a stunning white flower with a gentle pink edge that darkens as it matures. The edge is so fine that it looks like it was drawn on with a pink pencil. Its vibrant blue-green foliage forms an upright, vase-shaped cluster of blooms that look gorgeous in bouquets and floral displays. Measuring 18 inches tall, these majestic blooms are sure to add beauty to any Iowa garden. 

7. Lipgloss Stain Tulip

These are some of the most photogenic tulips around. The Lipgloss Stain tulip mix is an incredible combination of two special tulips, ‘Danica’ in rose pink and ‘Lucca’ in bright yellow. Both varieties have dark black centers and yellow stamens, creating a chic blend of colors. These lily-shaped tulips with pointy petals are small enough to be planted in containers, borders, or rock gardens, measuring only 7 to 9 inches tall.

Where to See Tulips in Iowa

Iowa may not be the first place you think of when it comes to tulips, but there are actually quite a few places throughout the state where you can find beautiful blooms. Every spring, several cities host tulip festivals featuring acres of vibrant colors and scents. These events are perfect for an afternoon stroll or picnic with family and friends. Here are a few of them!

82nd Orange City Tulip Festival

May 18 through May 20 in Orange City, Iowa.

Every year, Orange City is honored to host thousands of visitors from near and far for the Tulip Festival. This celebration has been occurring since 1936 to recognize the city’s Dutch heritage and now occurs every third weekend in May. During this internationally-recognized event, guests can enjoy authentic Dutch music and dancing, parades, musical theater, carnival rides, Dutch cuisine, and thousands of tulips. These charming festivities are a great way to discover Dutch culture and its colorful history.

Tulip Festival Extravaganza

March 22 at the Prairie Winds event center.

The Prairie Winds Event Center will host the Orange City Tulip Festival Extravaganza. The event will start with a luncheon at 11:30 am, followed by the revealing of the costumes for the 2023 Tulip Queen and Court and the introduction of the 2023 parade marshals. Additionally, the 2023 Tulip Court will present its road show for the first time. This show, which the festival royalty wrote and will perform at various organizations, schools, and residential care facilities this spring, explains the events and attractions of the Tulip Festival and provides an in-depth look into their costumes.

Pella Tulip Time Festival

May 4 through May 6 in Pella, Iowa

The people of Pella, Iowa, celebrate their Dutch roots every year with the Tulip Time Festival. The town is filled with tulips in various parks and gardens, including the Scholte House Gardens, which were built by Hendrik Peter Scholte, the Dutch founder of the town. To further honor their heritage, locals dress up in Dutch costumes for the Parade of Provinces, listen to traditional Dutch songs and dances from the Dutch Family Singers, and attend a Dutch-themed concert from the local high school orchestra. There are also fireworks and local bands to enjoy.

Pella Tulip Time festival

During the Pella Tulip Time festival locals dress up in Dutch costumes for the Parade of Provinces.

©Phil Roeder / Flickr – License

Summary of 7 Tulips to Plant in Iowa

Tulip VarietyTulip HeightTulip Color
‘Daydream’ Tulip20-22 inchesYellow and orange
‘Aveyron’ Tulip12-14 inchesPink
‘Nightrider’ Tulip18-22 inchesPurple with a hint of green
‘Peptalk’ Tulip16 inchesRed and pink
‘Pink Promise’ Tulip14-16 inchesPink, many shades
‘Diamond Jubilee’ Tulip18 inchesWhite with thin pink trim
Lipstick Stain Tulip7-9 inchesYellow and rose-pink

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Gusztav Bartfai/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Heather Hall is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on plants and animals. Heather has been writing and editing since 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, Heather enjoys hiking, gardening, and trail running through the mountains with her dogs.

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