Color-Changing Tulips Have a New Look Each Day

Color-Changing-Tulips - Longfield Gardens

Holland’s flower bulb breeders are always working on something new. One development we’ve been watching closely is a range of new tulip varieties with built-in color variations.

In some cases, these tulips shift color over time and in others, a single variety can produce flowers in several different colors. If you haven’t grown any color-changing tulips, here are five that we highly recommend:

Sundowner Double Late Tulip

The first is ‘Sundowner’, a double late tulip with gorgeous, peony-like flowers. As with all tulips, Sundowner’s flowers get significantly larger as they mature. In this case, they also start out looking like one variety and end up looking like another.

Color Changing Tulips - Longfield Gardens

Sundowner Tulip – Mature blossom on the left

When they first open, the blossoms are soft, buttery yellow with just a few splashes of cherry red. Over time the color intensifies until they are almost entirely red with just a few yellow highlights. In the photo above you can see the difference between a newly opened blossom on the right and a more mature one on the left.

Sundowner is a fabulous cut flower. In a vase, you can watch the colors shift and spread across the petals, like a work of art being created right before your eyes.

Color Changing Tulips - Longfield Gardens

Tulip Double Gudoschnik

Double Gudoschnik Double Late Tulip

Double Gudoschnik is another color-changing tulip, but its variations work quite differently. Rather than the blossoms changing color over time, the flowers are actually different colors.

Color Changing Tulips Longfield Gardens

Like other double late tulips, Gudoschnik’s peony-like blossoms are large and full, on strong, 20″ stems. The color of the flowers ranges from buttery yellow and gold, to salmon, coral and vermillion. Red and orange feathering on the petals add to their beauty. This is an excellent tulip for a mass planting because it looks like a professional has orchestrated the color mixing. A dozen of them in a vase makes a breathtaking bouquet.

Color-Changing-Tulips - Longfield Gardens

The color of Artist when it first opens

Artist Triumph Tulip

Artist isn’t a new variety. In fact, this viridiflora tulip is considered an heirloom because it’s been available since 1947. Viridiflora tulips are characterized by green markings on their petals. Artist displays more green than the average viridiflora and it also undergoes quite a dramatic color transformation.

Color-Changing-Tulips - Longfield Gardens

Tulip Artist in its mature state.

When the flowers first open, the petals are bright orange with broad, green brushstrokes. Over the next week or two, the orange gradually fades to pale pink and cream, and the green deepens to olive. This variety is shorter than many other tulips. It’s also heat tolerant and very long-lasting. Great for small spaces, the front edge of a flower bed and growing in containers.

Color Changing Tulips - Longfield Gardens

Creme Upstar Double Late Tulip

Creme Upstar is a double late tulip with big flowers and a nice fragrance. When the blossoms first open, the dominant color is buttery yellow and there’s just a whisper of pink. Gradually, the petals blush to rose pink and the yellow also deepens. As with other double late tulips, Creme Upstar is a wonderful cut flower.

Color Changing Tulips - Longfield Gardens

Many gardeners have yet to discover the beauty of double late tulips. As with peonies, the blossoms are large and a single blossom will fill your entire hand with petals. These are also the last tulips to open and they hold up well in the heat. If you enjoy cut flowers, you’ll find double late tulips look spectacular in a vase. By the time they come into bloom, there are lots of early spring perennials and flowering shrubs to complement them.

Color Changing Tulips - Longfield Gardens

Apricot Foxx Triumph Tulip

If you are drawn to the muted, pastel colors of Creme Upstar, we also recommend the new triumph tulip Apricot Foxx. Introduced in 2010, this cultivar changes color depending on the weather. When the flowers first open and the weather is cool, they are a melange of dusty rose and buttercup yellow. As the blossoms mature and the weather gets warmer, the colors merge and soften to pale apricot-peach.

We hope you’ll consider planting some of these color-changing tulips. When spring comes, they’ll delight you with an up-close look at nature’s artistry. Shop our complete tulip selection HERE.