Members of the lily family, parrot tulips are some of the largest flowers in the tulipa grouping, with blooms that open to 4 inches or more in diameter. The petals have ruffled, frilled or feathery margins, giving them a delicate appearance that contrasts attractively with standard tulips and other garden plants. Parrot tulips stand out best in the garden when grown as a mass planting. Parrot tulips come in a wide variety of colors, including bicolors. White parrots have some pale vestiges of green in their petals and dark, leathery foliage.
White Tulip grows to a height of about 20 inches, with brilliant white flowers tinged with pastel green at the center of the petals. The bloom grows on strong, thick stems that are easy to reach and cut for display by themselves or in mixed flower arrangements.
Super Parrot is shorter, about 10 inches tall. Its white, ruffled blooms are enrobed in a pale green on the outside of the petals.
Snow Parrot features curled, twisting petals on long stems that are perfect for cut flowers or as a standout in the garden. The slender stems may require staking in the garden.
Snow Parrot blooms in late spring, while Super Parrot and White Parrot bloom around April. In more southerly regions, the tulips bloom as early as March. Remove (deadhead) flower heads from their stalks when the blooms have faded to prevent the plant from setting seed.
Planting Tulip Bulbs
Choose a spot in the garden where the plants will have some protection from severe weather and will be in full sun or only partial shade. The soil should be well-drained and humus-rich. Tulips are suitable for planting zones 3 through 8. Plant the bulbs in fall for spring blooms. Bulbs should be planted 4 to 8 inches deep and 4 to 8 inches apart. Plant White Parrot 6 inches deep.
Most plants that grow from bulbs are perennials. Tulips may be grown as perennials or annuals. Tulip bulbs must be planted with the root plate facing downwards, or they will fail to grow. Most tulip bulb packages include illustrations and instructions to help you determine which side of the bulb is "up." You can also dig up old tulip plants and compare those bulbs with the new ones you are planting.
Tulips use phosphorous to boost root growth. Mix some phosphorous into the soil before planting the bulbs so the roots can access it easily. Use a bulb fertilizer or 10-10-10 soluble fertilizer and two cups of bone meal for every 10 square feet of tulip bed area. Refertilize when the tulip shoots break through the soil. Stop fertilizing when the plants flower.