YOU can beat having to replace tulips by growing their smaller species varieties, hailing from mountainous regions in Central Asia.
They’re extremely tough and can be left in the ground where they will come back year after year, forming goodsized clumps.
All they need is a sunny spot with reasonably fertile, freedraining soil. Plant November-December, 1015cm deep and 1015cm apart. Remove the flowers after they have faded and apply a balanced liquid fertiliser for a month before they die down.
I have Tulipa Little Beauty, with upright bowlshaped 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 has bowlshaped mauvepink flowers, with a paler interior and a luminous, welldefined eye. Ideally suited to pots or windowboxes, 25cm tall.
Tulipa tarda: Shiny, lanceshaped green leaves form loose clumps, which in early to midspring are crowned with whitetipped yellow flowers, often with a reverse that is flushed with red and green, 15cm tall.