15 Purple Tulip Varieties For Your Flowerbeds

Looking to add some purple tulips to your garden, but aren't sure where to start? There are many different varieties you can grow in different hues of purple. Each variety has different bloom sizes, and colors. In this article, certified master gardener Liz Jaros looks at some of the most popular purple tulips you can add to your flowerbeds!

purple tulips

Universally considered a symbol of perfect love, tulips occupy a special place in most of our hearts. Not only are they traditional and beautiful, but they bloom in spring when we’re desperate for bright color and a new growing season.

Requiring a dormant period of around 14 weeks, tulips are favored by gardeners in cold northern climates (zones 3 through 7), but they can also be grown effectively in some warmer regions (zones 7 and 8). They can be left in the ground to perennialize and return, or they can be treated like annuals and removed at the end of the season.

With more than 3,000 different tulip varieties sold around the globe, tulips come in hundreds of shapes, sizes, and colors. Associated with both royalty and rebirth, purple is one of the most coveted of these colors, but definitely not one of the most common.

To make the task of choosing a few to try in your garden at home, here is a list of 15 purple tulips with photographs, growing requirements, and detailed descriptions of each.

‘Purple Prince’

Aerial view of 'Purple Prince' blooming purple tulips among beautiful light green foliage. The buds are small, ovoid, with dark purple petals. Each tulip has 2-3 large, long, green leaves with a narrowed end.
‘Purple Prince’ has dark purple flowers with a yellow base.
Scientific Name: Tulipa ‘Purple Prince’
  • Plant Type: Bulb
  • Geographic Origin: Central Asia
  • Plant Size: 12-16 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Early/Mid Spring
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

This early blooming tulip has a classic, egg-shaped flower head and a traditional presence in the garden. Petals are a deep, rich purple on the inside with a yellow base. Their exteriors are feathered with a lighter, violet color.

Purple Prince is often planted with yellow daffodils for a delightful spring palette. Sturdy stems make this one a good choice in a vulnerable location as well as a vase. Bright, direct sunlight will intensify this cultivar’s purple color, but a little shade will help prolong bloom time.

‘Purple Dream’

Close-up of a blooming 'Purple Dream' tulip against a very blurred green background in a garden. Lily-shaped flower with pointed, reflex, velvety purple petals. The bloom is fully open showing its creamy center with yellow stamens.
‘Purple Dream’ is a lilac-shaped tulip with dark purple flowers and a creamy heart-shaped base.
Scientific Name: Tulipa ‘Purple Dream’
  • Plant Type: Bulb
  • Geographic Origin: Central Asia
  • Plant Size: 18-24 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Petals are pointed, reflexive, and a dark, velvety purple on this Lily-flowered tulip variety. Blossoms have a creamy, heart-shaped base that’s on full display during the day when the sun encourages them to open fully.

Stems are long and extend way above foliage, making Purple Dream a good choice for the back row of a mixed border. Pair with tulips from the orange or white color families for a dramatic color scheme.

‘Vincent Van Gogh’

Close-up of 'Vincent Van Gogh' tulips blooming in a field. The blooms are cup-shaped, dark purple, almost black, have shiny petals with cut tops.
‘Vincent Van Gogh’ produces deep dark purple flowers with sheared tops
Scientific Name: Tulipa ‘Vincent Van Gogh’
  • Plant Type: Bulb
  • Geographic Origin: Central Asia
  • Plant Size: 16-20 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Mid/Late Spring
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

With flower heads that are such a deep, dark purple they read almost black, a Vincent Van Gogh tulip commands attention wherever it’s planted or displayed. Petals have a plum base with hints of scarlet, especially when viewed in full sun. They are ovate and incurved, with sheared tops – a key characteristic of cultivars from the Fringed tulip class.

Foliage is bright green, almost chartreuse, which creates a stunning contrast beneath the midnight-purple perennial blossoms. Leaves are ruffled and low spreading.

‘Flaming Flag’

A Close-up of four blooming Tulipa 'Flaming Flag' flowers against dark green leaves and stems. The blooms are cup-shaped, large, snow-white in color with an amethyst flame wriggling from their base. The leaves are large, long, with parallel veins.
This variety has purple stripes along the white flower petals.
Scientific Name: Tulipa ‘Flaming Flag’
  • Plant Type: Bulb
  • Geographic Origin: Central Asia
  • Plant Size: 14-16 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Mid Spring
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

A mid-sized, mid-season tulip in the Triumph family, Flaming Flag has a unique bicolor profile. Petals are predominantly snowy white with amethyst flames curling up from their bases. Foliage is green-gray and leaves have a broad, ovate shape.

This cultivar can be easily forced to bloom inside if it’s been chilled properly. It also tolerates a bit of shade so it’s a good choice for locations beneath a budding tree canopy.

‘Lilac Perfection’

Top view, close-up of blooming Tulipa 'Lilac Perfection' tulips against dark green foliage. The blooms are large, lush, double, peony-shaped, with a white center and yellow stamens. Petals are large, slightly wavy at the edges, soft purple.
‘Lilac Perfection’ is a peony-shaped tulip variety that produces beautiful double flowers with soft lilac petals.
Scientific Name: Tulipa ‘Lilac Perfection’
  • Plant Type: Bulb
  • Geographic Origin: Central Asia
  • Plant Size: 20-24 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Sweet and romantic with large, multi-layered blooms that resemble peonies or roses, this Double Late tulip has soft lilac-hued petals that are ruffly and incurved at the edges. When opened by the sun, Lilac Perfection’s creamy white base and butter-yellow anthers are on full display.

While this cultivar is easy to grow, it does require some protection from strong, direct winds. Use in a location backed by a picket fence or brick wall to prevent stem breakage.

‘Prince Charles’

Close-up of many blooming 'Prince Charles' tulips in the garden in the sun. Cup-shaped flowers, composed of brilliant purple petals. Large foliage of a sage-blue hue.
‘Prince Charles’ is a gorgeous tulip variety with brilliant purple petals.
Scientific Name: Tulipa ‘Prince Charles’
  • Plant Type: Bulb
  • Geographic Origin: Central Asia
  • Plant Size: 18-20 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Mid Spring
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

With a classic, egg-shape and shiny purple petals that give off royal vibes, Prince Charles can bring a dash of sophistication to any garden or bouquet. Foliage is smooth and sage-blue in hue, with multiple leaves per stem.

Despite the haughty name, this cultivar is just as comfortable in a mixed, casual garden as it is in a large, formal mass. It also spreads easily and returns faithfully for many years to come.

‘Pittsburg’

Close-up of 'Pittsburg' tulips in bloom against a blurred background of green foliage. The blooms are ovoid, with large rounded purple petals tipped with caramel red. The flowers are fully opened, showing their white centers with yellow stamens.
‘Pittsburg’ produces beautiful purple ovoid flowers with slightly sloping edges.
Scientific Name: Tulipa ‘Pittsburg’
  • Plant Type: Bulb
  • Geographic Origin: Central Asia
  • Plant Size: 16-20 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Mid Spring
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Packing a bold punch in the spring garden against a sea of pastels, Pittsburg’s blooms have large, rounded petals with slightly sheared edges and a classic egg shape. Their color is predominantly purple but tipped with candy red.

Stems are bright green and very strong on this Triumph tulip, holding up well in mid-spring when the weather is temperamental. Pair this variety with solid red tulips for a dramatic color scheme in both the landscape and the vase.

‘Light and Dreamy’

Close-up of 'Light and Dreamy' tulips in bloom, surrounded by bright green foliage. The blooms are cup-shaped and have pale pink and lavender petals with slightly pointed tips. The leaves are large, long, dense, and bright juniper hue.
‘Light and Dreamy’ has classic tulip flowers in gorgeous lavender hues.
Scientific Name: Tulipa ‘Light and Dreamy’
  • Plant Type: Bulb
  • Geographic Origin: Central Asia
  • Plant Size: 24-28
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Mid/Late Spring
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

A wispy, gentle tulip with a classic, cup-shaped bloom in varying shades of lavender, this cultivar is also exceptionally tall. Flower heads sit just above juniper-toned leaves, creating a density that works well in a large planting.

Plant Light and Dreamy with other spring bloomers in shades of pale pink and yellow for a lovely pastel garden. As a Darwin Hybrid tulip, this cultivar should return predictably for about five years after planting.

‘Jacuzzi’

Close-up of blooming flowers of Tulipa 'Jacuzzi' against dark green large leaves. The flowers are goblet-shaped, closed, have pale periwinkle petals that inside have a bright dark purple color.
‘Jacuzzi’ is a delightful tulip variety with deep lilac petals on the inside and pale periwinkle on the outside.
Scientific Name: Tulipa ‘Jacuzzi’
  • Plant Type: Bulb
  • Geographic Origin: Central Asia
  • Plant Size: 18 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Mid Spring
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Petal interiors are a bold, dark lilac color while exteriors are a pale shade of periwinkle. This creates a unique stained glass effect in the sun, as petals overlap to create various shades of purple. As blooms mature, they take on a silvery hue in their final act of the season.

Jacuzzi tulips have mid-length, burgundy-toned stems and sage green foliage that also has notes of silver. Pair with dark plum-hued flowering perennials for an even bigger variety of purple in your spring landscape.

‘Candy Prince’

Close-up of many blooming 'Candy Prince' tulips in a tulip field. Classic goblet-shaped flowers with single-layer pale purple petals. The flower has a yellow base. Dark green large leaves are grouped in twos at the base of the plant.
‘Candy Prince’ is an enchanting variety of tulips with pale purple flowers.
Scientific Name: Tulipa ‘Candy Prince’
  • Plant Type: Bulb
  • Geographic Origin: Central Asia
  • Plant Size: 12-16 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Mid Spring
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Delightfully simple with a classic, goblet shape and single-layered, pale violet petals, Candy Prince also has a charming yellow base that’s visible during the day when they are fully open and soaking up the sun.

As a Single Early tulip, this cultivar is known for having a particularly long life after cutting. Moderate stem length makes it a good choice for a container planting as well.

‘Negrita’

Close-up of many 'Negrita' tulips in bloom against a blooming tulip field. The buds are goblet-shaped with rounded, ruffled petals at the top of a dark grape color with a purple tint.
‘Negrita’ blooms with rounded goblet flowers of dark grape color with a purple hue.
Scientific Name: Tulipa ‘Negrita’
  • Plant Type: Bulb
  • Geographic Origin: Central Asia
  • Plant Size: 14-18 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Mid Spring
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Petals are dark grape with hints of magenta on this Triumph family tulip. Blooms are rounded and ruffled at the top, bending stems gracefully with their weight. Negrita’s leaves are slender, upright, and true-green in color.

Plant this cultivar with purple hyacinth for a garden that offers multiple textures in the same color palette or with daffodils for contrast. With a relatively low stature, Negrita is a champ in high winds.

‘Blue Wow’

Close-up of three blooming 'Blue Wow' tulips against a blurred background of a spring garden. The flowers are large, double, peony-shaped, consisting of purple petals tightly packed in round layers.
‘Blue Wow’ is an incredible variety of tulips with double purple tulips.
Scientific Name: Tulipa ‘Blue Wow’
  • Plant Type: Bulb
  • Geographic Origin: Central Asia
  • Plant Size: 18 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Don’t let the name fool you, this Double Late tulip has peony-form, double flower blossoms that are purple through and through. Averaging 4 inches in width, Blue Wow’s flowers resemble an artichoke with tightly packed, circular layers and a green outer base.

This variety will grow best in regions with consistently cold winters and in areas with some protection for high winds. Mix with bright pinks and yellows for a bold companion planting. Work a few into the cutting garden, as you’ll want to appreciate these beauties inside as well.

‘Saigon’

Close-up of 'Saigon' tulips blooming in a flower bed next to red and yellow tulips. The flowers are goblet-shaped with dark purple petals. Leaves and stems are dusty green.
‘Saigon’ has classic vine-colored tulip flowers and dusty green foliage.
Scientific Name: Tulipa ‘Saigon’
  • Plant Type: Bulb
  • Geographic Origin: Central Asia
  • Plant Size: 12-16 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Mid Spring
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Traditional in form with round, scalloped petals that lean toward grape in color, Saigon blooms mid season atop sturdy stems and dusty green foliage. A member of the Triumph class of tulips, this variety is among the easiest to force for an early display.

Saigon works well in the middle border or in a container by the front door. Pair it with yellow tulips, crocus and daffodils for a rich, regal display.

‘Queen of Night’

Close-up of 'Queen of Night' tulips blooming against a blurred green background. The flowers are classic ovoid, dark purple, almost black, the petals are rounded with a velvety sheen and slightly curled towards each other.
‘Queen of Night’ produces velvety deep purple, almost black flowers in a classic ovoid shape.
Scientific Name: Tulipa ‘Queen of Night’
  • Plant Type: Bulb
  • Geographic Origin: Central Asia
  • Plant Size: 24-30 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

This Double Late tulip is stunning in a midnight shade of dark purple. Appearing almost black in dim light, petals are round with a velvet sheen and curl in toward each other.  Flower heads are a classic egg shape and stand tall above other spring bloomers on Queen’s 24-30 inch stems.

Leaves are narrow and silvery green in hue. Plant this variety when you’re looking for drama in the yard or jewel-toned bouquets in the house.

‘Blue Heron’

Close-up of three blooming 'Blue Heron' tulips against a blurred green background. Tulips are goblet-shaped, have rounded petals with open curved tops and amazing fringe along the edges. Flowers are pale purple.
‘Blue Heron’ produces pale purple goblet-shaped flowers with a delicate fringe on the tops of the petals.
Scientific Name: Tulipa ‘Blue Heron’
  • Plant Type: Bulb
  • Geographic Origin: Central Asia
  • Plant Size: 18-24 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Mid Spring
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Another cultivar that belies its given name, Blue Heron is a Fringed tulip that’s actually lavender in hue. Petals are a solid, pale purple at the base but gradually fade toward their frayed, white edges.

Blooms are goblet-shaped with open, reflexive tops. Foliage is tall, thin, and mottled with burgundy, curling up around blooms gracefully.

Final Thoughts

Ranging from the palest lilac to the darkest burgundy and all shades in between, purple tulips pack a particularly strong punch when they burst from the ground in spring. Before planting bulbs in late fall, take some time to consider whether you’re looking for a soft and romantic cultivar or a bold and royal one. And choose your variety accordingly.

If planting a large bed of tulips, make sure soil is well drained and that sunshine will be plentiful. If growing tulips in a container, make sure bulbs will be insulated from extreme temperatures and that they will not freeze. Take care to make sure sleeping bulbs remain moist but not soaked, and you’ll be tiptoeing through purple tulips next spring.

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