tulip ‘Violacea Black Base’

The deep magenta flower on Tulipa humilis ‘Violacea Black Base’ resembles a crocus when observed from a side angle. Looking straight down on the flower reveals a black star shaped center with bright pink petals.

The intense color really invites the visitor to come down to ground level where this little plant hangs out and take a look. If you get close you find that the single and sometimes multiple blooms are sweetly scented. If you get even closer, you can see anthers covered in pollen which in our garden attract syrphid flies, beautiful bee mimics, which are some of our first pollinators every year.

Because the long leaves on this early spring bulb are linear and thin they are unnoticeable as the plant dies back when the flowers fade. We deadhead the spent blooms, and allow the bluish-green, crinkled leaves to feed the bulb as they decompose. This species tulip returns every year and slowly naturalizes in the garden. It is the first of the tulips to bloom in the garden, usually in full bloom by the time the crocus finish and is soon in the company of Tulipa polychroma, another early blooming species tulip.

Botanical Name
Tulipa humilis ‘Violacea Black Base’
Common Name tulip ‘Violacea Black Base’
Family Liliaceae
USDA Zone 3 to 8
Light Requirement Full Sun to Part Shade
Season(s) of interest Spring
Height and Spread 3-6in x 3in (7-15cm x 7cm)
Flower Color Red
Attracts Wildlife Pollinators
Additional Information T. humilis native to Turkey
Location in Lurie Garden Northeast Light Plate