Wild Tulips: Why You Should Plant Them – And How To Succeed

Wild tulips are not only visually impressive with delicate flowers and colorful variety, but are also an enrichment for insects in the garden. Learn here how you can plant wild tulips.

What are wild tulips?

Wild tulips are the ancestors of our modern-day garden tulips. The home of wild tulips is in the southeastern Mediterranean and the high steppe areas of Central Asia. For centuries, the wild species of the tulip were cultivated in the Middle East until they gave rise to the garden tulip.

The original tulips can grow up to 30 centimeters high and show great diversity in terms of species, colors and flowering times. Compared to our garden tulips, the wild tulips form more delicate flowers, most of which are widely spread.

Wild tulips are bee friendly early bloomers

Wild Tulips: Why You Should Plant Them - And How To Succeed

Wild tulips provide visual variety in the garden and are also very useful for the insect world: they belong to the so-called early bloomers. Early bloomers are those plant species that are the first to form their flowers and foliage in the year. So if you want to help bees, you can plant this important food source in your garden in spring. Other insects are also happy about it.

Cultivated garden tulips look particularly splendid, but they are rather uninteresting for bees and bumblebees because they have a low pollination value. This means that they offer little nectar and pollen. Wild tulips, on the other hand, virtually attract insects because their widely fanned petals allow insects to easily reach pollen and nectar.

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The fact that the wild forms of plant genera are more insect-friendly also applies to other plants: The so-called “botanical” crocuses, for example, are also preferred by insects than cultivated varieties. Wild forms of roses are also preferred by bees and co. because they are unfilled. Cultivated roses often have double flowers in which there is no more pollen to collect.

Another advantage of wild tulips is that, unlike many cultivated tulips, they can remain in the same spot for years without losing vigor or flowering abundance. Many varieties can be left to run wild: they self-propagate over time to form a growing carpet of flowers in the garden. Varieties that are particularly suitable for wilding include the lady’s tulip and Sprengers tulip.

Planting wild tulips: Timing, location and care

Timing and planting

You can plant wild tulips until the beginning of November. To do this, place the bulb in the ground with a distance of ten centimeters and with the tip facing upwards. The planting hole should be at least twice as deep as the wild tulip bulb is long. Right at the time of planting, it is recommended to fertilize the wild tulips a little. It is best to use organic fertilizer for this purpose.

Location and soil

Wild tulips are originally from warm climates. Therefore, they should be placed warm and sunny. A well-drained and nutrient-rich soil is particularly suitable for them.

Ideal conditions for low-growing wild tulips can be found, for example, in sunny rock gardens, for medium-high growing wild tulips in perennial and steppe beds.

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But even if you only have a balcony available, you can plant wild tulips well in containers. Make sure that the container has holes so that water cannot build up in it. The more bulbs you put in the pot, the smaller the plants will grow.

Water, fertilize and care

You should water the soil regularly in spring, when the wild tulips sprout, grow and bloom. However, you should avoid waterlogging at all costs. In summer, however, the wild tulips tolerate dry soil better than moist soil after flowering.

You can fertilize the soil when planting or when the wild tulips sprout. After flowering, it makes sense to cut off the heads of the wild tulips. This way the plants can put their energy into seed formation and the bulbs will also sprout strongly in the following season.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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