Regarded as extinct in the wild, Tulipa marjolettii (syn T. perrieri) is a tulip with a little history. It has been 'rediscovered' growing in gardens in Europe. Low growing and often late flowering this is a species that seems to flower in tune with the seasons.
Originally from the Savoy Alps, France, Italy and Switzerland, they have been so heavily collected that they are only available from commercial growers, or a friendly neighbour. However they are easy care.
The true species opens a pure clear yellow, this does come as bit of a surprise for those gardeners looking for the much looked for deep red flushes. The color comes later and is at its peak a week or so after opening.
In the top photograph you can see the red at the base of the yellow flower, just waiting to appear ina few days. Mid green foliage is lance shaped and upright.
The height of Tulipa marjolettii is a little debatable, however we find it depends on the actual bulb, where you have it planted and the season. In a container they seem to be shorter than in good soil in the garden. Young bulbs seem to produce shorter flower stems than older, larger bulbs. And a good spring rain with good sunshine just makes them thrive.
Flower colour does vary with some growers reporting a pale lemon flower with red feathering, this may be a natural variation, however it may also be due to climate and soil.
Not as showy as many of the hybrids, however they are perhaps a more subtle addition to the garden. As the red edges develop they take on a different character to when first opening. They will happily naturalise spreading from the offsets, and in good seasons they may even self seed
Plant the bulbs around 15 cm deep (6 inches) in a well drained soil they will happily appear year after year until the clump requires dividing.
In containers, look for a deep pot and use a good quality potting soil. Drainage is important in containers, and a dry summer is also required, so after the foliage has died back, put containers away until the following autumn. You can also naturalise these bulbs into a lawn, plant them near the front of the perennial border or grow them in a rock garden.
Tulipa marjolettii can be propagated from seed sown into trays in spring, much easier by division of established clumps during dormancy in autumn. Bulbs are readily available for sale fr om online nurseries, best planted in autumn.