I GREW tulips for the first time last year in pots and loved them – but I don’t like the fact most varieties need to be replanted fresh each year to keep a display up to scratch.
However, you can beat this problem by growing species tulips.
These varieties come from mountainous regions in Central Asia and are extremely tough.
They can be left in the ground where they will come back year after year, forming good-sized clumps.
All they need is a sunny spot with reasonably fertile, freely draining soil.
You can plant them as late as December, but no later, 10-15cm deep and 10-15cm apart.
Remove the flowers after they have faded and apply a balanced liquid fertiliser for a month before they die down.
I’ve just planted Tulipa Little Beauty, with upright bowl-shaped flowers.
The hot pink petals often have a green flush on their outer edges, while the inside eye is a mix of creamy white and rich blue, 15cm tall.
Tulipa saxatilis Lilac Wonder: bowl-shaped mauve-pink flowers, with a paler interior and a luminous, well-defined eye.
Ideally suited to pots or windowboxes, as well as in the border, 25cm tall.
Tulipa tarda: Shiny, lance-shaped green leaves form loose clumps, which in early to mid-spring, are crowned with white-tipped yellow flowers, often with a reverse that is flushed with red and green, 15cm tall.