Tulips may be as Dutch as windmills, but the flower is not actually native to Holland. Most tulips originated in the rugged mountains and steppes of Central Asia, the Mideast and China. Designed by nature to endure poor soil, hot dry summers and frigid winters, wild or species tulips are a special combination of toughness and charm.
In the home garden, these shorter, tougher tulips introduce a wildflower look to sunny spots where other plants might not thrive, including rocky areas, along sidewalks and drives, at woodland edges and even in gravel – as long as the site has good drainage.
Here are some wild or near-wild tulips from Holland to plant this fall suggested by Christian Curless, horticulturist at Colorblends, a Connecticut-based flower bulb wholesaler that sells direct to landscape professionals and home gardeners across the country.