Wyoming is a vast and sparsely populated landscape rich in natural wonders. If you’re a Wyoming gardener ready to plant some natural wonders of your own to pop up in the spring, look no further than tulips. A member of the Lily family, the tulip boasts an impressive variety. Read on to discover which tulips grow well in Wyoming, how to plant and care for them, and so much more!
5 Tulips to Grow in Wyoming
Once you’ve decided to add tulips to your spring display you’ll need to narrow the list down from over 3,000 tulip varieties. While the classic egg-shaped tulip remains a staple in many gardens, they come in a dazzling array of colors with surprising variations in size and form. It’s helpful to know that the varieties are divided into 15 groups based on their flower type, blooming period, and heritage.
So, which tulips are best for planting in Wyoming? As we’ll discuss, tulip bulbs require a cold period for healthy development. Most are rated for USDA planting zones 3-7. All regions of Wyoming experience cold winters, and the state’s planting zones range from zone 3 to 6, so any variety of tulip can perform well in Wyoming. However, It may be best to focus on late and midseason bloomers to avoid the risk of early-season freezing. The shorter, Species varieties may do best in windy climates.
We’ll focus on 5 tulips that grow wonderfully in the state of Wyoming to get your garden off to the right start:
1. Tulipa ‘Beauty of Apeldoorn’
‘Beauty of Apeldoorn’ is a stunning Darwin Hybrid tulip variety in the classic egg-shape. These radiant blooms each develop golden hues that range from mostly yellow and dusted with orange to brilliant red with golden-orange edges. A planting of Appeldoorn’s is a spring bouquet in itself! Darwin Hybrids are known to be sturdy, with tough stems that can withstand some wind and rain. They grow 20-24 inches tall and bloom midseason.
2. Tulipa ‘Elegant Lady’
‘Elegant Lady’ in bloom has the graceful appearance of a sunset-hued skirt twirling toward the sky. The pointed and slightly reflexed blooms begin with pale cream-yellow petals and a rosy-pink flush. The petals are known to transform over time with variations in hue as the tulip matures. This Lily-flowered variety is one of the tulips that grow well in Wyoming. It reaches 20 inches tall and blooms in late spring. These delicate darlings do best when grown in wind-protected locations.
3. Tulipa hageri ‘Little Beauty’
A member of the group known as Species, or Botanical Tulips, ‘Little Beauty’ is a showy but diminutive tulip that naturalizes well. Each bulb produces between two and five fuchsia pink, pointed petals with blue centers that are edged in white. The flower clusters are surrounded by long, narrow foliage. They share their delightful fragrance when opened with the sun but will close up at night and sometimes remain closed on cloudy days. ‘Little Beauty’ is a dwarf variety that grows to be 4 to 6 inches tall. This mid-spring bloomer will perk up any Wyoming landscape. They make an incredible impact when planted in large groups.
4. Tulipa clusiana ‘Lady Tulip’
Tulipa clusiana ‘Lady Tulip’ blooms early in the spring. Bright green foliage and tender stems lead up to dainty vase-like white blooms with pink or red edges. Their tepals taper out to pointed tips. The blossoms close in cloudy weather and at night. When closed, the blossom is bowl-shaped, but on sunny days they extend out into a star shape. They reach 9 to 12 inches tall. This Species Group tulip naturalizes well in the garden and will produce larger colonies in time. Lady Tulips do well in rock gardens and containers and are an excellent choice for a graceful planting that will bless your garden bed with blooms year after year.
5. Tulipa ‘Creme Upstar’
‘Creme Upstar’ is a robust tulip that can fill any space with floral grace and is one of many tulips that grow well in Wyoming.
A full-bodied Peony Flowering, or Double Late variety, ‘Creme Upstar’ has rows of buttery yellow petals accented with magenta blushes and hints of green fold out to reveal ivory white bases. These tulips make an excellent cutting variety and are stunning in any bouquet. They bloom in late April and grow up to 14 inches tall.
Are Tulips Annuals or Perennials?
Tulips are technically perennial flowers, but most have been hybridized to display impressively large and vibrant blooms. These can often lose potency with successive seasons and take effort to successfully perennialize. These are most often grown as annuals, with a fresh batch of bulbs planted each year.
Species tulips, also known as Botanical tulips, do well when grown as perennials and will naturalize well in the garden.
Tulip Life Cycle is Temperature Dependent
The annual cycle for tulip growth follows a warm-cool-warm pattern. Temperature is the most important factor governing successful tulip cultivation.
In the fall, the bulbs are planted in cool soils that allow for proper root development. Tulips require prolonged cold exposure in order to develop properly. In Wyoming, the climate is right for this to occur naturally, so there is no reason to worry about chilling bulbs or buying pre-chilled ones. A range of 35 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit initiates flower formation. As temperatures rise to 50 degrees and above during springtime the flower begins to mature within the bulb. Finally, when the soil reaches the low 60s, the stalks emerge, and the blooms make their ephemeral appearance.
Those in the coldest regions of the state can rest assured that tulip foliage and closed flowers can withstand a light freeze occasionally. However, long periods of freezing temperatures can result in damage. Yellow or white patches are signs of freeze damage but don’t worry about cutting them back unless they are completely wilted. This allows for important photosynthesis to continue for the plant.
When to Plant Tulips in Wyoming
Since tulips are rated for planting zones 3-7 they can thrive in any Wyoming region. Consult the USDA plant hardiness zone map for Wyoming to find out which zone your region falls within to get an idea of when you should plant your tulips. With a short growing season and somewhat unpredictable frosts, it can be a good idea to get tulips in the ground early in the fall. Consult the predicted freezes for your area and plant your tulip bulbs about 6-8 weeks before a hard freeze is expected. For planting zones 3-4, this will likely be sometime in September, and for zones 5-6, you will probably plant in October.
How to Plant and Care for Tulips
Tulips love to be planted in full-sun locations but can succeed in areas of partial sun as well. As a general rule, try to choose an area that receives 6 hours or more of direct sunlight per day. Plant your bulbs in rich, well-draining soil and add compost or other amendments as necessary to improve these qualities.
When planning your tulip plantings, consider planting them up against buildings or other structures as protection from wind and other elements. They look best in clusters, so no need to stick to exact rows. Place a single bulb pointed end up into each hole that you dig. These holes should be 2 to 3 times as deep as the bulb is tall. Space the holes about 3 to 8 inches apart depending on bulb size and how you would like the plantings to look. Cover holes with soil and a 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch. Shredded bark or straw works well for this. If rodents digging bulbs is a potential problem in your area, you may need to lay down some chicken wire to protect the bulbs until springtime.
Water your tulip bulbs at planting time to wake the bulbs and initiate the process of tulip development and eventually blooming. A good thorough watering just once should be all that is necessary until springtime. If there is a major drought, feel free to water again to maintain moisture. Just be sure not to overwater. Overwatering can lead to rot and a host of other potential problems.
When do Tulips Bloom in Wyoming?
When your tulips will bloom is largely dependent on which types of bulbs you decide to plant. Darwin Hybrids like the ‘Beauty of Apeldoorn’ and certain Species varieties such as ‘Little Beauty’, bloom midseason. Lily-flowered tulips like ‘Elegant Lady’ and Double Late varieties like ‘Creme Upstar’ bloom late in the spring. ‘Lady Tulips’ are an early spring flowering Species variety.
After a dazzling spring display, your tulips will begin to wilt and show signs of decline. If growing as annuals, dig them up once they look spent and compost the bulbs, leaving room in your garden for the next planting. If growing tulips as perennials, clip wilted flowers from their stalks to prevent them from spending energy to seed and let the leaves continue to grow until they are fully wilted, then remove them. This allows the plant to continue to harness energy for the following season. If crowding begins to occur in a perennial tulip bed, simply dig up the bulbs and divide them. You can store quality bulbs in a cool, dry location for future replanting.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Lena Maximova/Shutterstock.com
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