Cheery spring tulips are a gardener’s must-have for early spring color. These elegant flowers, which bloom from April to May, do well in both garden beds and containers. Plant tulip bulbs in fall for spring flowers. Once established, tulips will return each spring. Tulips come in nearly every color except true black, and there are several spectacular red varieties for planting.
The ‘Kingsblood’ tulip has the classic red tulip shape and color, making a nice choice for mixed color tulip beds. This May-blooming tulip grows 18 to 24 inches in height and performs best in the ground, not in containers. Plant bulbs 5 to 6 inches apart in hardiness zones 3 to 8.
Tulip ‘Red Riding Hood’
Introduced in 1953, ‘Red Riding Hood’ has bright red tulip flowers and red and green variegated leaves. The inside of the flower is scarlet with a black throat. ‘Red Riding Hood’ reaches 10 to 12 inches in height. Plant in hardiness zones 3 to 8 in full sun to part shade.
An early double tulip, ‘Abba’ blooms in April to May. Its petals are red with a yellow stripe. This tulip performs well in containers, growing only 10 inches tall. Plant ‘Abba’ in hardiness ones 3 to 8, spaced 5 inches apart.
Tulip ‘Red Shine’
With a deep ruby bed color, ‘Red Shine’ is a late-flowering tulip that can reach up to 3 feet in height. Plant in full sun and zones 3 to 8 at the back of a late-flowering tulip bed for a burst of color. As the petals push outward, they take on a lily form, meaning they arch outward like lily flowers.
Tulip ‘World Expression’
The striking tulip ‘World Expression’ offers red-and-white swirled petals. More white than red, "World Expression is ideal for use as an accent in a red tulip garden or for transitioning to a white tulip bed, ‘World Expression’ blooms in May and grows 26 inches tall. Plant this red tulip variety 5 to 6 in hardiness zones 3 to 8.