Red Species Tulips – from Fat Buds to Big Blooms

Low to ground, red botanical tulips.

From low growing, fat buds to big, beautiful blooms, red Species tulips are next on deck with this Native, Wildflower, Botanical and Species Tulips series. These gorgeous tulips appear right at home in the rocky gardens. Long-lived and hardy, they can withstand the unpredictable weather conditions. 

Fat Buds Emerging from the Rocky Gardens

Red species tulip buds in rocky garden
Red Species tulip buds emerging in the rocky garden.

Around mid-to later in April, these fat, low to ground buds begin emerging from the rocky xeriscape gardens. Their whimsical, tentacle-like foliage is similar to the little Candlestick, wildflower tulips. It appears to reach out along the otherwise stark gardens.

Species Tulips have a more relaxed look to them than their more common hybridized tulip brethren. They appear to have almost no stem at all. It’s like the bud is just popping ut of the ground!

These tulips are not only easy to grow – requiring little attention – but they multiply naturally!

Visiting the gardens with regular frequency allows me to capture images of this blooming evolution. I love these photo ops! Walking around and observing the daily changes, you can really see Nature do its thing.

Solitary botanical tulip bud in rocky garden.
A side by side comparison: from low growing bud with whimsical foliage to big open bloom.
Solitary red botanical tulip in rocky garden.

Opening to the Warming Morning Sun

Close-up of red botanical tulips.
Bright red Species tulips open wide in the morning sun.

These red Species tulips can withstand the spring elements – which often includes snow. But their blooms are big and open wide to the warming sun.

Their color REALLY is that vibrant. Very little – if any post processing has been done to enhance the color.

It’s hard to believe while many hybrid tulips lose their vigor and decline over a few years, these do not. Since photographing these tulips over the last few seasons, they continue to retain their bright, red color. Perhaps their origins explain this…

Originating in rocky, mountainous terrain, Species tulips are made to deal with droughts and won’t tolerate wet soils.

Natural Born Drifters AND Multipliers

A drift of red species botanical tulips in xeriscape garden.
A naturally occurring drift of red Species tulips.

Another interesting thing about these types of tulips is they are natural born drifters. Unlike their commercial tulip brethren – which are usually planted in perfectly orchestrated rows, these drift and multiply naturally.

Given room to roam, they spread!

This photo taken to the right perfectly reflects how they expand in the rocky xeriscape gardens. It’s quite incredible to see – especially if you’ve never seen it before. They form these clusters and just spread out, bud and bloom. Talk about low maintenance!

“You can count on Species tulips to multiply and form drifts in areas that have good drainage”.

“Pure native species that have not been hybridized or selectively bred Species tulips are the king of the naturalizers.”.

Bees Love them Too!

Honey bee dotted with pollen hovering over red botanical tulip.
Honey bee dotted with pollen hovering over a red Species tulip bloom.

Since these tulips bloom in early spring, no doubt they are a welcome sight to foraging bees! Food is likely still in short supply for bees so they can be seen completely dotted with yellow pollen from going head first into these tulips. Sometimes they appear to be in slow-motion determining which may be the best spot to land.

In the photo above, it was one of my last snaps of the morning. I had come across another cluster of tulips that must have been sending out the right messages to entice the bees. Was so grateful to have been there to capture the moment 🙂

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