How to Grow Parrot Tulips


Parrot tulips are spring-flowering bulbous plants valued for their showy, exotic blossoms with fringed edges. Blooms appear in springtime in shades of red, orange, yellow, white, pink, violet and indigo. Some varieties feature stripes or splashes of color on the petals. Hardy in zones 4 through 7, parrot tulips thrive in most areas of the United States but do not respond well to hot temperatures. They also require protection from wind as their large, cup-shaped flowers are easily damaged.

Step 1

Choose a planting site for parrot tulips that has full sun during the day; consists of fertile, well-drained soil for adequate nutrition and drainage; and is protected from strong winds.

Step 2

Plant parrot tulips bulbs during early fall, about 5 inches deep in the soil. Space each bulb 4 to 6 inches apart to provide plenty of room for root growth and development. Water lightly after planting to compact the soil.

Step 3

Apply a 3-inch layer of organic mulch to the planting site just as the ground begins to freeze during winter to insulate the soil. Remove the mulch during early spring, just as new growth begins.

Step 4

Water parrot tulips once a week during the spring, summer and fall months. Apply water directly to the soil and avoid overhead watering. Do not water during winter, as the plant does not require supplemental moisture while dormant.

Step 5

Feed once a month during spring and summer using a balanced 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer. Water both before and after applying to prevent potential root burn. Apply according to the manufacturer's directions.

Step 6

Deadhead (remove) faded parrot tulip flowers whenever necessary to prolong the blooming season and encourage the formation of additional flowers. Pinch off flowers near their points of origin to minimize damage to the plant.

Step 7

Dig up parrot tulip bulbs in early summer after flowering has ended and leaves have died back, usually about six weeks after the last bloom. Store the bulbs in a warm, dry location, such as a sun room, until fall. Replant parrot tulip bulbs in fall after hot temperatures are no longer a threat.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer


  • Cornell University Flower Growing Guides: Tulip, Parrot cultivars
  • Texas A&M University Department of Horticulture: Bulbs: Tips on Tulips
  • "New York Gardener's Guide;" Ralph Snodsmith; 2004

Who Can Help

  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: grow parrot tulips, parrot tulips, parrot tulip care

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including