It’s nice that’s it’s officially spring and all, but many of us are asking: when will the Tulips bloom?

‘Early Harvest’ Tulips

In general, the answer is: it depends. But it will be a lot sooner if you have Tulipa kaufmanniana, also known as Water Lily Tulips, in your garden. In fact, here it is not even April, and our T. kaufmanniana ‘Early Harvest’ is already blooming.

‘Early Harvest’ is only one of several varieties belonging to this tulip species. l picked it for its intense but cheerful orange color – orange flowers are a weakness of mine. Like other Water Lily Tulips, it is very short, only about 6″ tall, and has striped, wavy foliage.

Under the right conditions, Water Lily Tulips are perennial and will even naturalize. I planted a small clump of this Tulip in the Lamp Post Bed years ago, but was beginning to give up hope for their future, thanks to hungry rabbits – who had the vicious habit of striking just as the buds were about to open.

This year, I spread a few chunks of Irish Spring soap near the leaves as they emerged – and so far, the rabbit damage has been minimal, even as the Tulips have begun to bloom.

In fact, there is an ‘Early Harvest’ bloom about 10 yards from the original clump – planted, I suppose, by some forgetful squirrel.

What are the earliest Tulips in your garden, and when do they bloom?

30 Comments on “Eager for Tulips? Try ‘Early Harvest’”

  1. I have planted a bag of misc tulips. They came up red and a peachy red color. They have been in the ground for several years and always bloom here in March. Early or later it depends on the weather.
    I must say these orange ones of yours are an exciting color.

  2. T. vvedensky ‘Tangerine Beauty’ and greigii ‘Toronto’, neither is blooming as yet but good leaves. Both are perennial here in south coast Massachusetts. Here’s hoping the deer, rabbits, and voles don’t find them.

  3. Love this success story… I’m off to get me some Irish Spring. Maybe it’ll help with Primroses the rabbits in my garden seem to favor. Those early orange tulips are fantastic; they give competition to the yellow-tulip photo header of this blog! I adore orange blooms too, so last year, after you posted about Princess Irene, I ordered and planted 10 bulbs in my garden. Leafs are out but, still waiting on blooms.

  4. Hello Jason, I really like the orange colour of these tulips too. I hope they eventually spread for you now that the Irish Spring Soap seems to be keeping the rabbits away. We don’t have tulips planted in the garden, we just have one pot of white tulips that have re-flowered this year. They were a freebie from an online order of other bulbs. They’re in flower now and while stark-white, they’re nice to have around. They would probably work really well with some contrasting planting.

  5. Absolutely love the colour of ”Early Harvest” Tulips! We are just getting ready to plant tulips and they do surprising well in our front garden, so thanks for the inspiration. Glad to read that the Irish soap is keeping the rabbits at bay.

  6. I wouldn’t call it a “weakness”. A “strength”, rather… 😉
    Tulipa clusiana ‘Lady Jane’ has seeded around quite a bit in the front yard, and I love her! No flowers yet, though. I tend to prefer the little species tulips to the big garden tulips. Not only are they adorable, but they also die back very politely and don’t leave the leafy mess the bigger ones do. I have experimented with planting some in table gardens, elevated from the fray below. They are so small, in the ground, they tend to get lost under all those other plants that are shoehorned into my garden.

  7. Yes, this is one of the species that was recommended as perennial, even here. I have not investigated it enough to know what cultivars I would prefer. (I still want to grow ‘Maureen’, even though I know it will bloom only once here.) The color of ‘Early Harvest’ is awesome, but a bit too awesome for our landscapes.

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