Tulipa Bright Gem border

Plant of the Month October 2023

GENERAL INFORMATION: I like all the shapes and bright colours of the multitude of Tulip flowers. However, many of these gorgeous cultivars are short lived in my garden. They are perhaps at their best massed in formal beds or in large groups in a spring bed.

I discovered species tulips and their cultivars. These are shorter and live much longer. One of my clumps must be 30 years old but only slowly increasing in a somewhat difficult area. Others self seed and appear in different places. 

Synonym: Tulipa batalini ‘Bright Gem’, Tulipa ‘Bright Gem’

Common Name: Species Tulip. Botanical Tulip.

Cultivars: Tulipa linifolia (Batalinii Group) 'Honky Tonk’, 'Red Hunter' (red) ‘Bronze Charm’, ’Apricot Jewel', 'Yellow Jewel’.

Life Cycle: Perennial bulb.

Height: 10-25cm, spreading to 10 cm.

Bloom Time: Mid May.

Flower Size & Colour: Buds 6 cm long, opening to a 6-pointed star. Soft yellow tepals have apricot centre - more colour in strong light. 

Tulipa Bright Gem

Tulipa linifolia ‘Bright Gem’ - flowers and leaves.

Leaves: Long, grey-green narrow foliage with undulating margins, 20 cm tall.

Range: Native to Uzbekistan.

Habitat: Screes and rocky meadows in mountains.


Plant: Bulbs in groups (10-20 bulbs) in fall up to first light frost, 20 cm deep, 10 cm apart.

Light: Full sun to light shade.

Soil: Most fertile, well drained soils.

Water: Moderate, dry in summer.

USDA Hardiness: Zones 3-8. Needs winter cold.

Companion planting: Dwarf evergreens, small bulbs, other rock garden plants.

Tulipa Bright Gem with companion plants

Tulipa linifolia ‘Bright Gem’ with companion plants.

Propagation: From Seed - Expose to fluctuating outdoor winter temperatures including freezing for 3 months. Gradually increase light and temperature in the spring. Grow seedlings at cool temperatures – best achieved by sowing in open ground. Also by division - dig bulbs after leaves die back. Separate and replant, or store in a cool dry place and plant in October.

Problems: Few - rodent and slug damage. Toxic to cats and dogs.






Text and images supplied by Anna Leggatt (Toronto Master Gardener)