Tulips have long been a favored addition to a spring garden. Gardeners love their bright colors, versatile shapes and sizes, and their easy nature. Purple tulips capture the essence of spring, ranging from deep, nearly black shades to soft pastels to add dimension and charm to a spring garden.
Here are some charming types of purple tulips to add to your garden during the next planting season.
History of Purple Tulips
Purple tulips, with their dazzling hue, have attracted people for centuries.
Tulips were first cultivated in ancient Persia (modern-day Iran) around the 10th century. These beautiful flowers quickly gained popularity and spread across the globe. However, it was in the 17th century Netherlands that the tulip craze reached its peak.
During the Dutch Golden Age, tulips became a status symbol and a hot commodity. Tulip bulbs were traded for exorbitant prices, reaching extraordinary levels during the tulip mania bubble. The market frenzy eventually led to a financial crash, known as the “Tulip Mania,” in 1637. It was a classic case of supply and demand spiraling out of control.
While tulips come in many colors, including purple, true purple tulips are not naturally found in nature. They result from careful breeding and hybridization by horticulturists to create the stunning shades we love today.
Purple tulips hold various symbolic meanings. They are often associated with royalty, luxury, and power. Many consider purple tulips a symbol of admiration and adoration, making them popular for expressing deep affection and love.
With this fascinating history in mind, let’s dive into the best types of purple tulips.
Botanical Name: Tulipa ‘Arabian Mystery’
The Arabian Mystery tulip is graceful and enchanting. The tulip’s petals are slender and elongated, gently tapering towards pointed tips. The outer petals exhibit a deep shade of purple, while the inner petals boast a lighter tone, transitioning to a captivating lavender hue. The rich tones and contrast are exotic and mysterious, fitting its name.
This cold hardy tulip prefers full sun and a wind-sheltered area with well-draining soil in USDA zones 3-8. Arabian Mystery grows up to 18 inches tall—true to its Triumph tulip group. These gorgeous purple tulips are mid to late-season bloomers and make beautiful cut flower arrangements.
Botanical Name: Tulipa ‘Purple Rain’
Tulipa ‘Purple Rain’ is a captivating tulip variety with a mesmerizing combination of colors and a distinct shape. This Triumph tulip has large, goblet-shaped blooms with petals that curve outward gracefully. The outermost petals boast a deep purple hue, while the inner petals reveal a vibrant magenta or fuchsia tone. The contrasting colors create a striking visual effect, adding depth and dimension to the flower.
Purple Rain grows up to 20 inches tall and prefers well-draining soil and a South or East-facing plot with full sun exposure. Plant this tulip in USDA zones 3-8 for best results.
Botanical Name: Tulipa ‘Blue Parrot’
Don’t let the name fool you; Blue Parrot is a purple tulip. Blue tulips are exceedingly rare, with no naturally-occurring true blue species. However, many purple varieties have blue notes—and the Blue Parrot is a prime example.
The Blue Parrot’s petals are soft and velvety, gently curving outward in a symmetrical cup shape. The coloration is a breathtaking blend of rich, deep purple, and vibrant magenta, with white-edged and blue undertones. The petals, starting with a darker shade near the center, gradually transition to a lighter, more resonant tone towards the edges.
This award-winning tulip is a late-season bloomer that prefers full sun and a wind-sheltered garden plot. The Blue Parrot thrives in USDA zones 3-8 and soil with adequate drainage. It will grow up to 24 inches with proper care.
Botanical Name: Tulipa ‘Shirley’
Tulipa ‘Shirley,’ boasts a stunning and distinctive appearance. It has an elegant, cup-shaped bloom with gently pointed petals. The petals are broad and slightly reflexed, creating a captivating display.
The coloration of Tulipa ‘Shirley’ is truly enchanting. The base of the petals is a creamy white, gradually transitioning into a soft, pale lavender tone towards the outer edges. Delicate strokes of deep purple add depth and richness to the petals, creating a captivating contrast. The balance of colors could also classify Shirley as a white tulip.
This Triumph tulip is a mid to late-season bloomer and grows 18-24 inches tall. Plant in full sun in USDA zones 3-8 in soil with plenty of drainage to avoid root rot.
Botanical Name: Tulipa ‘Ballade’
The tulip ‘Ballade’ has elegant, cup-shaped blooms with slightly pointed petals that gracefully open to reveal their allure. Each petal has a velvety deep purple hue, intensified by darker streaks and edges that create a striking contrast. The petals’ inner side reveals a delicate white flush, adding a soft touch.
The Ballade is a lily-flowered tulip, closely resembling the shape of its lily relatives. The name, Ballade, is Danish for “Trouble,” hinting at a long cultivation journey to become an award-winning tulip.
This gorgeous bloom grows up to 24 inches tall and prefers full sun. Plant in well-draining soil in USDA zones 3-8.
Botanical Name: Tulipa ‘Negrita’
Tulipa ‘Negrita’ is an exquisite tulip variety with a distinct and enchanting appearance. The flowers of ‘Negrita’ feature a classic cup shape with elegantly curved petals.
The blooms are large and sturdy, adding to their visual impact. The coloration of ‘Negrita’ is incredible. It has a deep fuchsia hue that is rich and intense.
A Triumph tulip, Negrita grows at most 18 inches tall. It’s a late-season bloomer that loves total sun exposure and well-draining soil in USDA zones 3-8. Its midline tone is incredible when matched with lighter and darker purple tulips.
Botanical Name: Tulipa ‘Zurel’
The Zurel tulip is a mesmerizing beauty with its unique shape, appearance, and exquisite coloration. Its petals are elegantly cup-shaped that gently curve inward.
The outer petals boast a creamy white hue, while the inner ones display a stunning blend of rich purples and lilacs. Delicate streaks and patterns in shades of purple dance across the petals, adding to their charm.
Another Triumph tulip, the Zurel is a late-season bloomer that thrives in well-draining soil and full sun exposure. Plant in USDA zones 3-8 for best results.
Botanical Name: Tulipa ‘Passionale’
The Passionale is another purple Triumph tulip that looks incredible when paired with contrasting shades. This tulip has a classic cup-shaped bloom with perfectly rounded petals that gently unfurl to reveal its splendor.
The petals’ deep, velvety purple hue is gorgeous, exuding a rich and passionate allure— hence the name! The color is so intense that it almost appears to shimmer in the light, adding an extra layer of enchantment.
The Passionale is an award-winning tulip that grows 16-18 inches tall and thrives in USDA zones 3-8. Plant in full sunlight with well-draining soil for optimal growth.
Botanical Name: Tulipa ‘Purple Dream’
Tulipa ‘Purple Dream’ is a beautiful lily-flowered tulip featuring slender, pointed petals that taper to a delicate point. These petals have a slightly recurved nature, creating a sense of movement.
As the name suggests, ‘Purple Dream’ showcases a stunning purple hue that is rich, deep, and saturated. The coloration is intense and velvety. The petals often exhibit subtle variations in shade and a contrasting off-white center.
Botanical Name: Tulipa ‘Rem’s Favorite’
Rem’s Favorite is similar in appearance to the Zurel, with a deeper shade of royal purple markings and a bright yellow center. Rem’s Favorite has a classic cup-shaped bloom and is another member of the Triumph tulip group.
Plant this tulip in well-draining soil in USDA zones 3-8. Choose a space with plenty of sunlight. With proper care, Ren’s Favorite may reach up to 22 inches tall, making it quite large for a Triumph.
Queen of Night
Botanical Name: Tulipa ‘Queen of Night’
No list of types of purple tulips is complete without mention of Queen of Night. This dark, mysterious tulip is a deep, inky purple shade bordering on black. It’s often classified as a black tulip, its purple notes showing only in the brightest sunlight.
The Queen of Night tulip boasts a sleek and slender shape. Its coloration is intensely dark, contrasting against the green foliage. This tulip reigns as a symbol of elegance and sophistication, fitting its name.
This stunning tulip will grow up to 30 inches tall in ideal conditions and will bloom late in the spring season. Plant in full sunlight and well-drained soil in USDA zones 3-8.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Indra Artelt/Shutterstock.com
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