Tulipa clusiana 'Lady Jane'
LADY TULIP, CANDY TULIP, RADISH TULIP
Iran to Himalayas.
Sunset zones: All zones (chilling requirements may be necessary in warmer zones).
USDA zones: 3-8.
Height: 8-10 inches (20-25 cm).
Late April to early May.
Bowl shaped white flowers, striped pink. Inside opens up to white.
Full sun to afternoon sun.
Light well-drained, fertile soil on the neutral to slightly acidic side.
When planting bulbs in fall mix a complete organic fertilizer into planting hole.
Lift bulbs after foliage has died down and harvest smaller offsets of bulbs. Plant these in a separate bed until they reach blooming size and plant back out in the garden.
Do not prune foliage until it has died back. If flowers are used for bouquets leave as much of the foliage as possible on the plant.
Rainy Side Notes
Tulipa clusiana was named after the great botanist Clusius. The species tulip grows tall and slender with three or four narrow leaves, with 'Lady Jane' being an improved variety of the species. Some people commonly call it the radish flower. Its flower "has exactly the appearance of a radish dressed for the table," Louise Beebe Wilder described the tulip's flowers in her book Adventures with Hardy Bulbs. She liked them growing with yellow alyssum (Aurinia saxatilis) and deep purple flowering Aubrieta cultivars. I can imagine it is a charming combination and I am tempted to grow the combo myself.
I planted the tulips in clumps of ten tulips behind silver thyme shrubs (Thymus 'Silver Posie'. The gray green foliage of 'Lady Jane's' went perfectly with the evergreen, silver variegated foliage of the thyme.
When the flower opens, at the base inside is a blotch of purple. These are great cut flowers for the early May garden. Cut them while still in tight bud after they color up and they will last a long time in the vase.
Photographed in author's garden.