Choosing tulips

Mix & match colours, shapes and symbolism

It's surprising to learn that there over 3000 different tulips: 150 individual types, each one with different colours and varieties of petal. The sheer volume makes it hard to choose the right tulips for a flower bouquet. Our short guide helps you navigate your way through the different shades and shapes, with additional information around the flowers' symbolism, to make gifts and arrangements with extra meaning.

Choosing tulips


The ever-cheerful tulip comes in white, red, yellow, pink, purple, orange, green or with multicoloured petals. Contrary to popular myth, we haven't yet had the fortune of seeing blue or black tulips, although growers have got close, producing indigo and dark purple varieties, which appear blue and black respectively. Squint at them through half-closed eyes and pretend.


For centuries, people have found beauty in the shape of the tulip. The classic form is either a single or double row of petals, but there are also eye-catching fringed tulips, frilly-looking parrot tulips with serrated petals and flame-like lily tulips to contend with. Peony tulips unsurprisingly look remarkably like peonies, and French tulips are exceptionally tall, with very large flowers.


Mythical black tulips aside, the flowers' magic comes into its own when its colour symbolism is taken into account. A red tulip means passionate love, and orange means: ‘I missed you.’ Yellow tulips represent sunshine and fun, whilst purple stands for spirituality and regal dignity. White tulips are useful to have on standby: you give these when you have to apologise for something.


With an array of vases in different sizes and colours, we'll never get tired of tulips. A vintage Delft pottery tulip vase with individual openings for each flower, brought down from the attic and dusted off, will look beautiful next to a bud vase for a single, sculptural stem. Our brown vase is by Bloomingville and Dutch design shop &Klevering made the blue and white vase and tall white vase.