Tulipa humilis ‘Lilliput’

Last fall, once the summer annuals had died off, I began the process of dividing up the right side of my garden into smaller beds separated and accessible by paths. While I managed to move a few perennials out of the newly formed pathways before the ground froze, there were a few borderline tender(ish) perennials that I kept in place for their own good. It was simply too late to uproot and establish them elsewhere.

I am now in the process of transplanting those that remain to new beds and accidentally dug up this species tulip in the process. Since it was out of the ground I figured that I might as well take its picture.

Soon, once the flowering bulbs have finished doing their thing, I will carefully remove those that are sitting in the middle of pathways and replant them as well. Since I’m bound to find fault with some of these new plantings, I’ll likely dig up and replant a few of the perennials again in the fall once I see how the garden looks with its new form. We gardeners are rarely satisfied.

Fully opened Tulipa humilis ‘Lilliput’ in my garden May 2011.

About This Plant:

According to my records, this bulb bloomed in May last year, proving once again that spring 2012 is well ahead. Humilis species tulips are from Turkey and Iran, which is one of the reasons why I bought the bulbs. I have childhood interest in Turkey that has found new legs through the plants of the region.

As the name suggests, ‘Lilliput’ is indeed very tiny. The flowers first appear as little crimson red balls that eventually open up in the sunshine to reveal a dark purple interior. These little plants seem to love the sandy soil in that part of my garden and are a good rock garden choice. Large tulips are nice, but I really go for these small species types as they naturalize and spread without fuss. I imagine these would do well in small pots as well.


Speaking of bulbs, my newest article on saving and replanting forced bulbs is up on the HGTV Gardens website.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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7 thoughts on “Tulipa humilis ‘Lilliput’

  1. Ok, twice in one week we are in complete bulb sync. It’s too weird/fun not too comment. I image searched ‘Liliput’ earlier today to confirm it was NOT the photo I took on a recent garden visit (Stonecrop Gardens – Cold Spring, NY is a must visit if you’re ever in the Hudson Valley area. You’d LOVE it!) Turns out I was lusting over ‘Persian Pearl,’ but Liliput is a beaut too.

    And I whole-heartedly agreed w/ an FB post. I too had made notes on my bulb log that Crocus ‘Spring Beauty’ was gorgeous.

    Sigh. I love spring…Cheers!

  2. I agree with you about the tulips. I love large hybrids for arrangements but for the garden I plant mostly species tulips. I love the clusianas and humilises.

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