Sometimes known as the 'Fire Flame' tulip or 'Turkish' tulip, the Tulipa acuminata is indeed a rare bulb to find. Growing to a height of between 12 and 18 inches it can create a stunning, almost tropical display from early to mid spring. Its long, narrow, scarlet and yellow petaloids sit high on delicate stems making it ideal for cut flowers but these delicate heirloom bulbs may need a little support if heavy winds or rain are due.
Although a species bulb, Tulipa acuminata is no longer found in its native habitat. Although catalogue dated to 1813, it is in fact belived to be the last survivor from the early 1700's when tulips like this were all the fashion in the Ottoman empire.
If you are lucky enough to get hold of a couple of specimens then they are relatively easy to care for. Plant them into a fertile, sandy soil situated in an open and sunny location; however they will need to be protected from excessive damp and strong winds. Once planted, give them a good top dressing and - unlike most cultivated varieties - Tulipa acuminata can be left in the ground and allowed to spread naturally. Once planted give them a good top dressing, and start to water your bulbs as soon as you see the buds beginning to rise. This will encourage larger blooms and taller stems. Allow the old foliage to dry off before cutting it back as this will allow most of the nutrients and carbohydrates to be absorbed back into the bulb proper in readiness for next years display.
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