Everybody loves insider info. It’s like you suddenly know a secret few people know.
So, if you’re a tulip fan (who isn’t?) it’s kind of exciting to get a peek at the tulip order that branch manager James Kole placed last year for his Level Green Landscaping customers.
What tulips does a pro order?
Let’s take a look. Then we’ll share some tantalizing tulip tips.
Kole ordered 2,800 of this vibrant mix of red, yellow, and purple tulips for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops main building in Washington DC.
A cheerful mix of lemon yellow, pumpkin orange, and purple, 300 of these bulbs bloomed at the Quebec House apartments.
A combination of brilliant purple and rich yellow tulips, Kole ordered 150 of this regal blend for a condominium complex.
‘Thanks and Praise’
Bonus points to Kole for choosing a tulip named “Thanks and Praise” to bloom in spectacular masses at the Franciscan Monastery, a spiritual oasis in Washington DC that attracts several hundred visitors each week who enjoy the expansive gardens.
Kole ordered 10,000 of the yellow and white mix to wow monastery visitors.
These large flowers open creamy yellow and soon turn pure white, retaining just a glimmer of yellow at the base. Kole ordered these for a high-end office building.
Who knew a tulip name could make you hungry?
This blend of yellow, white, and purple tulips is named less for cake and more for ease of planting.
No wondering if they’ll all bloom at once or at the same height. They automatically bloomed perfectly at a Homewood Suites hotel.
Magnificent, vivid pink tulips on stout stems, 200 of these burst into bloom at a high-end apartment building. This variety is huge, great for borders and mass plantings.
You Can’t Go Wrong with Tulips
“Tulips are a beautiful, long-term investment,” says Doug Delano, founding partner at Level Green and a big fan of spring bulbs.
“You can spend a couple hundred dollars and have a hundred or 200 tulips at your entrance,” he says. “It’s a big bang, like an exclamation point.”
And tulips burst into vibrant bloom right when we need them.
“Coming out of winter, it’s drab,” he says. “We want that hit of color. It just feels good seeing it.”
You Have the Best Tulip Bulbs: Now What?
Delano shares a few pro tips:
- The best tulip bulbs will be firm and dry. The papery wrapper should be intact. The bigger the bulb, the bigger the bloom.
- If you plan to naturalize your tulip bulbs — spread them in drifts that look like they sprouted up naturally — choose “species” tulips, Delano says.
Different from typical hybrid tulips, species tulips are smaller, typically produce more than one bloom per stem, and are the best tulip bulbs for naturalizing.
“They’re what tulips looked like before all the breeding of fancy varieties,” Delano says. “They look different than what we’re used to now with bright reds and yellows.”
- Pay attention to bloom time. Some tulips bloom in early spring, others mid or late season. If you plant all three types, you’ll have cheerful blooms all season.
- Plant tulip bulbs in the fall—about 2 to 4 weeks before the ground freezes.
- Plant the bulbs three times deeper than the bulb's height. Sprinkle a little bulb fertilizer in the hole during planting.
- Critters? Think twice about tulips. Deer and squirrels love to dig up and munch the bulbs. But they leave daffodil bulbs alone. Apparently, they taste terrible.
- Use tulips for a big impact on your commercial property.
“There are some incredible colors,” Delano says. “They’re great to use by your entrance or by your signage. And they’re stunning in masses.”
- For the biggest impact, mass one color, Delano suggests.
“When you start mixing colors, they’ll bloom at different times and you don’t get the same impact,” he says. “It’s more striking to have one color.”
An exception: when you let the bulb sellers mix them for you.
Branch manager Kole turned to a wholesale company called Colorblends last year for pre-mixed batches of bulbs designed to look stunning together and bloom at the same time and height.
Retail bulb sellers offer these easy mixes, too.
The great thing about tulips? They’re all pretty lovely.
“Plant whatever strikes your fancy,” Delano says.
Ready to Tiptoe Through Tulips? Trust Level Green
Want the best tulip bulbs for a stunning display on your commercial property?
Choose a landscaping company that orders tens of thousands of bountiful bulbs.
We’ll do all the digging — you just look forward to the spring spectacle.
If you’re not already a Level Green Landscaping client, we’d love to add you to our growing list of happy customers. Our focus is on commercial properties like offices, mixed-use sites, HOAs, municipalities and institutions in Maryland, Washington DC and parts of Virginia.
Contact us at 202-544-0968. You can also request a free consultation online for a virtual meeting.
We’d love to hear from you.
Image sources: yellow and red tulips