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Ice cream tulip, the tulip that makes your mouth water… Double cone, anyone?

Ice Cream tulip looks like an ice-cream cone with two scoops

The Ice Cream tulip is a variety in the Tulipa family that is particularly exotic-looking, it look just like a vanilla-strawberry ice cream cone!

Ice Cream tulip key facts:

Botanical name – Tulipa
Common name – Tulipa Ice Cream
Family – Liliaceae
Type – true bulb

Height – 10 to 16 inches (25 to 40 cm)
Planting distance – 4 inches (10 cm)
Exposure – full sun to partial shade
Soil – clayish loam, well-draining, cool

Planting – October to December
Blooming – mid-May to mid-August

A late bloomer, earliest mid-May, it produces spectacular 4 inch (10 cm)flowers, the crown of which contains several rows of petals. The outer rows come in different colors like red, purple or pink, and the inside layers are white and very densely packed together. Since they’re longer than the outer ones, they stick out from the center.

All in all, this double tulip looks incredibly like two delicious scoops of ice cream, vanilla on the top and what might be strawberry on the bottom. Hence, the name “Ice Cream” tulip. The stems of this late double variety are stocky and short, since they won’t grow any taller than 10 to 16 inches tall (25 to 40 cm) when mature. Around then stems, deciduous foliage appears, dense and a lush, lively green.

Growing the Ice Cream tulip

This double tulip blooms late, around mid-May. Even so, the blooming lasts a very long time: it can hold for up to 2 months. It’s often planted in large clusters in a flower bed, along edges, and even in pots.

Proper care for your ice cream tulipa will give you beautiful flowersTulipa ‘Ice Cream’ loves loose, soft soil that is moderately moist. Water it every 2 to 3 days in case of heat waves, and only every 5 to 7 days when the weather is milder. Remember to remove weeds from around your plants. Add bulb flower fertilizer before the blooming begins.

Cut wilted flower stems but keep the leaves until they turn yellow, too. That’s the sign that you can cut and remove them. Add fertilizer and start watering again so that you can beef up the nutrient reserves to the point that it reaches a large caliber size (11+).

Note: the Ice Cream tulip resists diseases well.

When and how to plant the Ice Cream tulip

The late double Ice Cream tulip loves sunny spots, but it will also prosper in partly shaded areas.

  • Plant its bulbs before it freezes, sometime from October to December, and it will grant you many flowers in the following spring.
  • Tulip flowers, indeed, require a few months of vernalization to be able to bloom.

Given that the Ice Cream tulip is a hardy bulb flower down to -4°F (-20°C), you can simply let it spend the winter in the ground in most temperate climates.

  • Planting distance for ice cream tulip is 4 inches or 10 cmPlant the bulbs in light and fertile soil, but make sure it drains well and is soft, to a depth of at least 6 inches (15 cm).
  • Note that it’s best to space the bulbs by about 4 inches (10 cm), so that they don’t crowd each other out, but still create a unified cover upon blooming.
  • To learn more, read: Tulip: how to plant the bulbs in the garden and in pots

If you’re growing your ice cream tulips in a pot, follow the same steps, but don’t plant the bulbs as deep: let the tip peek through the soil.

The Ice Cream tulip: fabulous as a cut flower

This tulip will stay beautiful for a very long time in a bouquet !

  • Ice cream tulip in a bouquet of cut flowersTo prepare your cut flower bouquet, it’s always best to cut your tulip stems in the morning.
  • After that, place your cut flowers in a vase with lukewarm water, to which a little bit of sugar and vinegar has been added. This mixture is perfect for fresh flowers to stay alive for longer.


Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
CC BY-NC 2.0: Farrukh
CC BY-NC-SA 2.0: naoK
iBulb: Wouter Koppen
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