Peony tulip, a double tulip with massive ornamental impact

Large double flowers characterize peony tulip

The peony tulip earned its name thanks to its lush, thick blooms, similar to those of the original peony. Colors and shapes vary greatly from one variety to the next.

Peony tulip key facts

Botanical nameTulipa
Common name – peony tulip, late double tulip, peony-flowered tulip
Family – Liliaceae

Type – bulb flower
Height – 10 to 24 inches (25 to 60cm)
Landscaping uses – garden box, flower bed, rock garden

Planting distance – 6 inches (15 cm)
Exposure – full sun to partial shade
Soil – loamy clay, well-draining, cool

Planting – fall
Flowering April to May

Particularly beloved of gardeners in recent years, the peony tulip family stand out thanks to their large double flowers which gives them their other name: late double tulip. Sometimes a single stem will even produce more than one flower!

Peony tulip varieties

There are a great many peony tulip varieties, but the most famous are without a doubt:

  • Frizzled variety of peony tulip along with other varieties‘Carnaval de Nice’ with a beautiful white and red flower head;
  • ‘Mount Tacoma’, for its part, shines an immaculate white color;
  • ‘Lilac perfection’ mimics the deep violet color of lilac flowers;
  • ‘Uncle Tom’ wears a robe of intense dark red;
  • the ‘Angélique’ has flowers that start off pink then shift to white;
  • and the ‘May Wonder’ hits the eyes with bright pink blooms.

Description of the peony tulip

Late double tulips grow long stems that are one to 2 feet tall (25 to 60 cm). As their name implies, they’re among the longest-blooming tulips, still opening up new flowers between April and May. The spectacular blooms each reach sizes of up to 4 inches (10 cm) thanks to multiple bright-colored petals that differ depending on the variety.

Peony tulip in a vaseThough peony tulip is most often grown to decorate flower beds, it’s also a prime choice for bouquets. Indeed, each bloom lasts for several days, even after the stem has been cut. To savor the peony tulip for an even longer time in your bouquets, pick it while the flower bud is just barely opened.

Growing late double tulips

As is common for most types of tulip, the peony tulip loves growing in light and well-draining soil. Best is to set your flowers in full sun locations, rather than shady spots. This will ensure they develop well. Peony tulip has very long stems. Though they are relatively sturdy and strong, it’s still best to make sure they’re properly sheltered from wind.

Apart from winter, regular watering will help it grow well, preferably at night after the sunset. Over the fall and during very dry winters, water your tulip bulbs occasionally to promote root growth and, subsequently, future blooming.

Planting double tulip

Plant your double tulips in flower beds, in rocky terrain, or even in deep containers.

Planting and caring for peony tulip

  • Ideally, fall is the best time to plant your peony tulip bulbs: anytime between October and December.
  • If the soil in your garden is too heavy, add sand or gravel in the planting hole, underneath each bulb.
  • Space each one by 6 inches or 15 cm , no closer, and cover them with 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) of soil, more or less.
  • Always position your bulbs with the pointed tip facing upwards, and water immediately after having covered them with soil.
  • To learn more, read: Tulip: how to plant the bulbs in the garden and in pots

Plants to pair peony tulip with

Late double tulips easily coexist with early spring perennials, as they do with other tulips. Indeed, peony tulips scattered about here and there will help grow flower beds full of rich colors, appealing contrast, and spectacular shapes. Paired with botanical tulips and the stunning parrot tulip, it’ll work wonders!


Image credits (edits: Gaspard Lorthiois): Pixabay: Katja S. Verhoeven, an anonymous photographer, Eliza, Epi_