The Parrot Tulip
Flower of the Week

apricot parrot tulip

When I was in line to buy these flowers at the grocery store – yes, they’re grocery store flowers – the cashier asked me if they were “Carrot Tulips”  Pffttt.  Carrot Tulips.  What a doofus! I politely squinched up my face and said, “Uh, um … well … they’re … Oh!!!  I thought you said Carrot Tulips!  Yes – sorry – Yes, they’re Parrot Tulips!”  Yet again, I am the doofus.

Parrot tulips are the most beautiful tulip in the world to me.  They come in different colours, but always have fringed or serrated edges.  No matter what colour they are they usually have a tinge of green, along with a couple of different swipes of colour inside.  They are not perfect.  They’re kindda messy actually and a bit wild looking.  But boy are they flamboyant.   They are the Liberace of tulips.

A few weeks ago I did a post featuring a rubber web for keeping your tulip stems separated and upright.  That was for those of you who like your tulips to appear somewhat under your control.  Snicker … as if.   In fact, after years of trying to tame the terrible tulip, I finally came to embrace its tendency to droop, squirm and bend.   And now, I  actually prefer for my tulips to have a mind of their own.  ‘Cause then they look like this:

the parrot tulip

I just cut an inch off the ends and plunked them in my Dollar Store vase. I placed them so they were all drooping over to one side.  Since I wanted them to be as messy as possible, I left all the leaves on (which also helps to give added bulk to the arrangement thus keeping it in place).  Where some of the buds were covered with leaves, I simply peeled them back like a banana peel,  to reveal the flowers.

When you buy your flowers, buy the ones that aren’t completely open yet (like the ones shown in this post).  Resolve to abide by this rule, right now!  Because once you get in that flower shop/grocery store/neighbour’s garden, you’ll be tempted by the luscious beauty of the fully bloomed flower.  DO NOT FALL INTO TEMPTATION.  If you need a sponsor, gimme a call … I’ll steer you straight and convince you to purchase the closed flower.  They’ll last longer and you’ll get to see them through all of their stages. The ones that are fully bloomed inside the flower cooler will croak a day after you bring them home.  Got it?

By the way, I do realize that, kind of like messy hair, the messy tulip isn’t for everyone.  But I love it.  Messy hair … that’s another story.


  1. These are my kinda flowers. Every time I try to “arrange” flowers, they end up looking ridiculous. I love the idea of messy-on-purpose!

  2. Anastasia says:

    I showed your blog to my African Grey parrot and my little Fischer Love Bird parrot–and they both approved! They think you have excellent taste and asked me to thank you for spreading the word on all things parrot!

    Seriously? I had no idea there was such a thing as a parrot tulip. But my birds and I are on the way to nursery right now. Gotta get some!

  3. Andrea says:

    Just killed uh I mean, had a bunch of these in my house last week.
    Great flower! Rumor has it they like vodka – although personally I don’t like to share that with them…

    • Karen says:

      I have ALSO heard they like vodka. I’ve also heard if you stick a pin through their little necks they won’t wilt. But I like the wilt so I don’t bother with it. I have however, stuck many a pin into my trusty voodoo doll.

      • Andrea says:

        the pin at the neck does not work – used to do floral design and that trick is a myth. stick with the trusty voodoo doll and be kind to the tulips.

        • Shannon @ says:

          I didn’t see this before I posted my comment. I am a florist & for me it seems to work.

        • Karen says:

          Shannon! I wondered if you were going to browse and find that other comment! I’ve spoken with a few different florists about this tip and some seem to think it works, and others don’t! What I CAN tell you is my tip for wilted hydrangeas works 100% of the time. It’s fantastic! If I do say so myself. 🙂

  4. Jessica says:

    I was told by a florist that a couple of pennies in the bottom of the vase stop the tulips from wilting. I’ve tried it and it works.

    Also interesting fact the color variation in these tulips and in other tulips with color variation is caused by a virus.
    if only all virus’ caused beauty instead of boogies..hehe

    • Karen says:

      Jessica – thanks for the tips! Your last line made me guffah in such a way that I got spit all over my computer screen. Good job!

  5. Shannon @ says:

    An old wifes tale I have picked up is that if you prick the stem of the tulips right near the calyx with a pin (I even used a bamboo skewer once) they grow straight.
    I have done a few tests & it seems to work
    Another tip with tulips is to put them outside in the cool air at night.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)

The Art of Doing Stuff