How To Grow Turkestan Tulip (Tulipa turkestanica) In Your Garden

The Tulipa turkestanica, or "Turkestan tulip", is a type of tulip from central Asia. It is native to Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Xinjiang, and Uzbekistan.

Explorer Eduard August von Regel first talked about this tulip in 1873. At first, he thought it was a kind of Wild Tulip plant (Tulipa sylvestris), but later realized it was its own unique type.

Tulipa Turkestanica photograph by cristina.sanvito; CC.

Turkestan tulip is a small plant, that grows from a bulb and comes back every year. It grows up to six inches (15 cm) tall, with two to four skinny leaves of the same length. The ends and edges of the leaves are slightly pink, and the bulb is a shiny reddish-brown with a hairy outside.

When it blooms, Tulipa turkestanica displays one to twelve star-shaped flowers. These flowers are white to pink-red with an orange to yellow spot at the base, stretching up to a third of the flower. The back of the outer flower petal is gray-red with white edges and is bigger than the inner petals.

Turkestan tulip
Turkestan tulip image by Andreas Rockstein; CC.

The parts inside the flower are orange, and the tips are either yellow or dark violet. This makes it distictive to Tulipa biflora.

Although some people don't like the smell of the flowers, they do like that it blooms early when the sun is out. In the wild, Turkestan tulip fblooms between March and May, depending on how high in altitude it grows at.

How to Grow Tulipa Turkestanica

This tulip is a real beauty. It can stay in the ground for years and then come back with a pop of color.

The flowers are usually white with a hint of green-yellow or pink and last longer than other tulips. When they open, the flowers look like a star with a yellow center floating above its grey-green leaves.

Turkestan tulip likes lots of sunlight and does well in rock gardens. In Europe, it blooms around mid-March. It can't breed with other tulips.

To grow this tulip, use a good soil that drains well. Plant the bulbs in October or November, about 2.5 inches (8 cm) apart, and six inches (15 cm) deep. After the flowers bloom, remove spent ones, supply liquid fertilizer every week for the first month of its growing season.

Quick Tulipa turkestanica Growing and Care Guide

Scientific Name: Tulipa turkestanica

Common Name(s): Turkestan Tulip

Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): USDA Zones: 3-8 RHS Hardiness Rating: H6 (-20 to -15°C)

Best Used For / Garden Location: Rock gardens, borders, under trees, and in containers.

Plant Details

Life Cycle / Plant Type: Perennial bulb

Plant Height: 6-10 inches (15-25 centimeters)

Plant Spread: 3-6 inches (7.5-15 centimeters)

Blooms: Early to mid-spring

Flower Details: Star-shaped, white to cream flowers with orange centers

Leaf Foliage: Grey-green, lance-shaped leaves

Fruit: N/A

Growing Conditions and Location

Best Light Conditions: Full sun to light shade

Suitable Soil Types: Well-drained, sandy or gritty soil

Sowing / planting: Plant bulbs 4-6 inches deep in late autumn.

Germination time: N/A, propagated from bulbs.

Propagation: By bulb offsets in summer.

Plant Care: Requires little maintenance once planted.

Growing in pots and containers: Suitable for containers.

Growing as a Houseplant: Not typically grown as a houseplant.

Further Information

Miscellaneous: Attracts bees and butterflies. Tolerates deer.

Pests and diseases: Watch for slugs and snails.

Common Cultivars / Varieties: No specific cultivars.

Family: Liliaceae, the Lily family.

Native: Central Asia.

References and Further Reading: JC Raulston Arboretum; RHS Turkestan tulip; ISU Tulip Guide.

Common Questions

Does Tulipa Turkestanica make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Tulipa Turkestanica can make a great addition to a spring garden. Its multi-flowered habit and attractive foliage make it a standout during its bloom period.

Is Tulipa Turkestanica a fragrant plant?

Yes, Turkestan tulip is a fragrant tulip variety. It has a sweet, honey-like scent that's most noticeable on warm, sunny days.

What is the perfect location to grow Turkestan tulip?

Turkestan tulip prefers a sunny to partially shaded location with well-drained soil. Like all tulips, it appreciates a cold winter to induce blooming.

Is Tulipa Turkestanica invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Tulipa Turkestanica is not considered invasive in the USA. It's generally well-behaved in the garden and doesn't aggressively spread.

How do I remove Tulipa Turkestanica from my garden?

To remove Tulipa Turkestanica, dig up the bulbs when the plant is dormant, typically in late summer to early fall. Dispose of the bulbs so that they can't regrow.


Turkestan Tulip is a delightful tulip with multiple yellow flowers per stem. Plant bulbs in well-drained soil in full sun. Water regularly during active growth and allow the soil to dry out during dormancy.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this guide on how to grow Tulipa turkestanica. You may also enjoy the following growing guides: How to grow Butterfly Garden Plants, Hunnemannia, Galega, and Papaver plants in the garden.