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The Rococo Tulip

If you’re looking for a tulip to show off in your garden, then the rococo tulip is waiting for you to choose it. An award-winning tulip, the rococo tulip is best known for its bright, blazing colors, and its showy appearance.

Tulips are one of our favorite signs of spring. Whether you’re looking for beautiful flowers to make the neighbors jealous or to cut to impress Mom with next Mother’s Day, look no further than the elegant rococo tulip.

Keep reading to learn all about the Rococo Tulip. Looking to buy the Rococo Tulip plant? Check availability.

rococo tulip

Characteristics of the Rococo Tulip


The rococo tulip is a beautiful, rich red bulb with wavy petals appearing in various dramatic colors: red, orange, yellow, purple, blue, and green. This tulip is known for its soft luster of colors that make the flower stand out.


The blooms are 2 ½ to 3 inches and change shape as the flower matures. These tulips will reach about 16 to 24 inches tall. As the flower is exposed to the sun over time, the bulb opens so wide that it nearly flattens and mimics the appearance of parrot feathers.

History of the Rococo Tulip

rococo petals

This tulip was introduced in the 1940s, and it won the Japan Bulb of the Year Award in 2003. It is considered a parrot tulip. Parrot tulips are famous for their Parrot-feathered bulbs and unusual bright colors.

Today, these tulips are grown for their vibrant appearances in USDA Zones 3-8.

Uses for the Rococo Tulip

The rococo is a tulip variety best for showing off as an ornament in your home landscape. These tulips grow best in groups, so plant a whole bunch of them next to each other or with other tulip varieties like the Apricot Beauty (which will also add scent to your garden).


They are often planted with hostas, which help shield the flower’s dainty stems. Hostas also help hide their faded foliage in the summer.

Raised Flower Beds

Rococo tulips are perfect for planting in raised garden beds. Check out some of our favorite beds for your tulips:

Window Box Planter

These tulips will look beautiful in window box planters around your house. Check out some box planters we love:


Rococo tulips make excellent borders around your home, driveway, or garden.


Put tulips in containers and enjoy them inside or on your porch.

(Tulips grown in containers are unlikely to grow back as perennials, so you will have to discard them and plant new ones next year.)

Check out some of our favorite pots for tulips:


Rococos are easy to cut to place in vases and make dazzling centerpieces. Check out some of our favorite vases for tulips:


Rococo tulips are famed for appearing just in time for Mother’s Day. Treat the moms in your life to this vibrant tulip next Mother’s Day. They’re also the perfect gift for your friends and family members with late spring birthdays.

How to Grow Rococo Tulips

Gentle and fantastic Double Rococo Parrot Tulips, large double flowers in spring

Rococo tulips can be grown from either seeds or bulbs, although bulbs will grow much faster. Tulip seeds take only a few months to germinate. However, it may be years before you will see flowers. Bulbs will bloom the following spring.

If you intend to plant rococo bulbs in containers, read our post on How to Plant Tulip Bulbs in Pots.


Regardless of whether you’re planting in your garden, pot, or window box container, you need to identify a location where your tulips won’t be bothered by strong winds. Avoid the north side of your house.

Choose a sunny spot, so your tulips can meet their sun requirements every day.

When to Plant

The best time to plant rococo tulips is sometime between early fall and the end of November. It’s most important that you get your tulips in the ground before the ground freezes.

If you wait until early spring to plant your bulbs, they’re unlikely to bloom in the spring, although they may bloom later in the summer, or they may just wait until the next year.


Rococo tulips prefer soil that is well-drained and neutral to alkaline. They also grow in sandy soil but do not grow well in clay soil. Add coarse sand and humus to clay soil to enhance the soil’s growing conditions for these tulips.

The ideal pH for rococos is 6.0-6.5. You should always test your soil before adding a new plant to your garden. See our top 10 picks for best soil pH kits.


If your soil is in poor condition, mix balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10 Hoss All-in-One Fertilizer or bone fertilizer like Burpee Fertilizer into the soil when planting.

Although rococos are perennials, most people use them as one-time bulbs. If you are using them as an annual, you do not need to apply additional fertilizer.

If you plan to use your rococo tulips as perennials, apply fertilizer on top of the soil in the fall, then apply the same fertilizer in the spring when new green shoots appear. Fertilize the perennials twice a year with no more than two pounds per 100 square feet.

Even though your tulips will go dormant in the summer, they will begin to initiate new roots in the fall by utilizing their fertilizer.


Regardless of where rococo tulips are planted, they require at least 7 hours of sun each day to foster gorgeous blooms.


Rococo tulips do not require much water. Regardless of where they are planted, you should only need to plant them once after they are planted.

While they are in bloom, tulips require period watering to prevent them from drying out prematurely. If your rococos are in a small pot, they will require more watering since small pots dry out faster.

Typically, rainwater is enough to keep these tulips happy unless you are experiencing drought conditions, in which case some watering may be necessary.

When Rococo Tulips Bloom

Rococo tulips are a late-spring bloomer, typically blooming in May just in time for Mother’s Day.

Leave Leaves and Stem

Avoid removing leaves and stems until all the green color has been left if you are planning on your rococo tulips being a perennial. As long as the stems and leaves are green, they are creating carbohydrates that will be stored in the bulbs for energy in next year’s growing period.

Where to Buy

how to plant tulip bulbs in pots

Look for these beauties at local nurseries in late spring.

Check availability at Nature Hills Nursery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are rococo tulips toxic to pets?

Yes, rococo tulips are toxic to most household pets. Be sure to watch your pets carefully when planting these in your home garden, and try to avoid planting these flowers in your pet’s play area. We recommend using plant protectors if your garden is visited often by animals.

Does the rococo tulip have a scent?

The rococo tulip is not an aromatic variety and does not have a scent.

Is the rococo tulip edible?

While some tulips are edible, the rococo tulip is known for causing discomfort when ingested, so we do not recommend using the rococo tulip in recipes that call for them. Many people also have skin reactions from the rococo tulip, so we recommend wearing gloves when handling it.

The Perfect Floral Gift

Now you know all about the rococo tulip. Are you looking to learn more about other tulip varieties, possibly to pair with the rococo tulip in your garden? Check out our Tulips page to learn all about the many varieties of tulips!