Kaufmanniana Plant Info: Tips For Growing Water Lily Tulips

Kaufmanniana Plant Info: Tips For Growing Water Lily Tulips

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

What are Kaufmanniana tulips? Also known as water lily tulips, Kaufmanniana tulips are showy, distinctive tulips with short stems and huge blooms. Kaufman tulips flowers return every year and look stunning in naturalized settings with crocus and daffodils. The following article provides more Kaufmanniana plant info, including tips on growing Kaufmanniana tulip plants.

Kaufmanniana Plant Info

Kaufmanniana tulip plants are native to Turkistan, where they grow wild. They were introduced to Europe in 1877. Today, Kaufman tulip flowers are available in nearly every color except true blue, including dazzling shades of rose, golden yellow, pink, violet, orange and red. Interiors of the blooms are multicolored.

Like all spring bulbs, Kaufmanniana looks best when planted in groups of at least five or 10. These early-blooming tulips are especially noticeable when planted in combination with other flowering bulbs.

Water lily tulips are suitable for growing in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 7. In warmer climates, Kaufmanniana tulip plants can be grown as annuals.

Caring for Kaufmanniana Water Lily Tulips

Like most tulip bulbs, they should be planted in fall, around October or November. Plant Kaufmanniana tulip bulbs in rich, moist, well-drained soil and full sunlight.

Dig in a little compost and all-purpose granular fertilizer to the get the bulbs off to a good start.

Spread 2 or 3 inches (5-8 cm.) of mulch over the planting area to conserve moisture and staunch growth of weeds.

Water deeply after planting, as water lily tulips need moisture to trigger growth. Thereafter, don’t water unless the weather is hot and dry. Tulip bulbs rot in soggy soil.

Feed Kaufmanniana tulips every spring, using a general-purpose fertilizer or a handful of bone meal.

Remove flower stems immediately after flowering, but don’t remove foliage until it dies down and turns yellow.

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3 to 8. Tulips require 14 to 15 weeks of winter temperatures below 48 degrees to perform, faring best when springs are long and balmy with temperatures between 45 and 60 degrees.


Varieties from 6 to 24 inches tall.

When do tulips bloom?

From early spring to late spring, depending on the variety.


Full sun—in the shade, flower stalks can become weak and spindly and produce small flowers. Keep in mind that they grow and bloom before most deciduous trees leaf out.

Flower colors:

Large variety of single and multi-colored types. Popular colors include pink, white, red, orange, purple and yellow.

Kaufmanniana Hybrids

Also known as Water Lily Tulips , Kaufmannianas are colorful, low-growing Tulips perfect for rock gardens and border plantings. Some varieties have beautiful mottled foliage while all open fully on sunny days to reveal multi-colored interiors. They may naturalize for years when left undisturbed in a good spot. Top size bulbs: at least 12 cm. Bloom time: early Spring. Plant 6" to 8" deep and 6" apart. Horticultural zones 3-8. Height: 8" to 10".

Tulips are The Art & Soul of Spring.


Tulipa, or the common Tulip, is a bulbous perennial herb that blooms in mid- to late spring with flowers in with all solid or mixed colors except true blue. You can grow tulips in organically rich, fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. They grow best in areas with cool, moist winters and warm dry summers. and are typically grown in mass plantings.

The common garden tulip as well as a vast array of complex hybrid cultivars are commonly planted for their spring flowers. Over 3500 names applied to tulips are currently listed. Taxonomic difficulties abound in Tulipa due to their long-established cultivation, hybridization, and selection. Tulips are generally organized into 15 divisions based upon flower shape and origin for example, the Single Early Group with single, cup-shaped flowers blooming in early spring, Single Late Group with single, cup/goblet-shaped flowers blooming in late spring, the Parrot Group with single, cup-shaped, late spring flowers with fringed and ruffled tepals, and many others.

To grow from bulbs, plant bulbs 4 to 6 inches deep (or three times the depth of the bulb) in fall. In heavy clay soils, a slightly shallower depth is best. Space bulbs 2 to 5 inches apart depending on plant size. Tulips may be grown as perennials or as annuals, although species tulips often perform better than hybrid plants as perennials. When growing tulips as perennials, promptly remove spent flower stems after bloom to prevent seeding, but do not remove foliage until it yellows. In most cases, tulip performance declines substantially starting with the second year. Many growers prefer growing tulips, particularly hybrids, as annuals.

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

Tulip break virus causes white or greenish streaks in perianth color. The plant is intolerant to heat loads and loses floral vigor when soil temperatures reach 70 degrees. Bulb and root rots may occur, particularly in wet, poorly drained soils. Gray mold. Mosaic virus may also occur. Animal pests include aphids, slugs and snails. Mice and voles are attracted to the bulbs. Squirrels may dig up newly planted bulbs.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.

Profile Video: See this plant in the following landscapes: Cottage Garden Perennial BorderBorder Garden, UpcycledDavidson County Demo Garden Cultivars / Varieties:

    T. fosteriana
    T. greigii
    T. kaufmanniana
    Tulip hybrids
T. fosteriana, T. greigii, T. kaufmanniana, Tulip hybrids Tags: #showy flowers#houseplant#colorful#interiorscape#mass planting#cpp#Tunicated bulb#spring flowering bulbs#HS302#problem for cats#ebh#problem for dogs#problem for horses#ebh-g

Flower Downing Street CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Bulbs Welcome Images CC0 Tulips 3dman_eu CC0 Tulip Field quantz CC BY-ND 2.0 Tulips Marta m8 CC BY-NC 2.0 Tulips Hans Simon Holtzbecker CC0 Flower Close-up (Wake County, NC)-Spring Cathy Dewitt CC BY 4.0 Inside Flower (Wake County, NC) Cathy Dewitt CC BY 4.0

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