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International Flower Bulb Centre
TULIPA 'Big Chief'
Big Chief Tulip, Darwin Hybrid Tulip
This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.
Elegant and showy, the Big Chief tulip boasts white flowers edged with wide-band edges of salmon-pink. A member of the Darwin hybrid tulip class, this cultivar was selected by breeder Frijlink & Sons and introduced in 1959. Perched atop extremely tall stems above broadly lance-shaped leaves, the elegant blooms have six pointed "petals" (more accurately tepals). Each tepal is white, but is progressively more salmon colored toward the upper and outer edges. A rather short-lived bulbous perennial, 'Big Chief' may be best treated as an annual. It flowers mid-season, corresponding to early to mid-spring, varying by climate.
Tulip bulbs are a favorite food of small mammals including voles, and their succulent leaves and buds are favored by deer. Deep planting (at a depth of four to five times the bulbs' width) and underground barriers (such as buried hardware cloth) can discourage bulb predation. Interplanting with daffodils or other pest-resistant bulbs may deter both below-ground and above-ground pest damage.
Despite these problems, tulips are generally easy to grow. They prefer full to partial sun and require average to fertile soil with good drainage. Leave the lower foliage of perennial tulips after they bloom, so they can collect and store energy for next spring’s display. Once the leaves start to yellow, cut plants to the ground. Hardiness is cultivar/species dependent, but most require at least two months of chilly soil conditions across winter in order to bloom in spring.
Tulips are unsurpassed for bringing spring color to containers or sunny gardens. Be sure to consider height and bloom time when designing with them as these vary greatly from cultivar to cultivar. It is also wise to plant extra for cutting as they make superb long-lasting cut flowers. This cultivar is good for winter forcing in large containers in scale with the tall plants, but these extra-long stems make it an exceptional cut flower. In cool summer soils and climates, Darwin hybrid tulips tend to be among the best to perennialize.
8 - 1
3 - 8
1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Bulb or Corm or Tuber
Full Sun, Partial Sun
24"-27" / 61.0cm - 68.6cm
14"-17" / 35.6cm - 43.2cm
Early Spring, Spring
White, Pink, Salmon
Bedding Plant, Container, Cutflower, Foundation, Mixed Border
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