Hot-summer Tulipa and other species?
Thu, 23 Jun 2005 20:33:43 PDT

I've lived in Tucson and Sierra Vista for many years and recently moved to Yuma.  Tulipa clusiana var. clusiana (from Old House Gardens) did beautifully in Tucson where I had it growing in my front yard among native plants.  The yellower McClure & Zimmerman strain of T. clusiana did not do as well, but thrived in Sierra Vista and Odessa, TX where it is markedly colder (Sunset zone 10).  Another tulip that grew and bloomed beautifully in Sierra Vista was T. montana (wilsoniana) and I hear it does well in southern California.  I haven't tried T. clusiana var. chrysantha in Arizona yet, but it was wonderful back in Alpine, TX (also Sunset zone 10).  A tulip that surprised me in Odessa was T. turkestanica; I didn't think the winters would be cold enough, but it thrived.  At the Boyce-Thompson Arboretum they have long-established plantings of Tulipa 'Big Chief' and T. saxatilis/bakeri that are doing well; that area is at least the warm end of Sunset zone 12.

Tulipa sylvestris is supposed to ba a warm-winter tulip, but for me, it's been useless.  I'm surprised Chinese sacred lilies are short-lived for you; my parents' plantings are 25 years old (although I think they're virused).

If you're designing a desert rock garden, you really, really, really need to get Allium schubertii.

Good luck!  You're very fortunate to have a yard to work with.

Shawn Pollard
Yuma, AZ  

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