Exotic Emperor is a delightfully loose, slightly slouchy, but totally classy bloom. Its silky inner petals are ivory white, opening from somewhat twisted buds to full, rounded flowers. Surrounding these rose-like blooms are wisps of green and yellow striated petals, cupping the full white flowers with gentle persuasion. It looks like a peony-flowered tulip but is in fact a Fosteriana, indicating large early flowers and colours that aren't too 'in your face'. If you're after something bolder, brighter, or a tulip that flowers later in the season, browse the rest of our range of tulips.
If you're planting Exotic Emperor in borders and flowerbeds, it looks lovely combined with other tulips in contrasting colours. The rich colour of Purple Flag with its simple goblet-shaped flowers, makes a wonderful contrast. Thread through a seam of soft lilac Candy Prince, too, for a mix that's at once dreamy and powerful. Or create a pale and interesting combination by planting Exotic Emperor with white or pale lemon hyacinths (a little yellow brings out its green and sulphur stripe beautifully); pure-white Carnegie and primrose yellow City of Haarlem fit the bill perfectly. Add a few drifts of delicate spidery white Thalia daffodils and you have a planting mixture fit for an empress. Wallflowers, too, make regal companions for all kinds of tulips. White Dame will extend the pure white theme, at the same time emphasising the yellow-green splash of Exotic Emperor.
A strong ruler
If you want to get the best from your tulips, don't be tempted to plant bulbs too early. Leave it until November, and then the first frosts will have reduced disease levels in the soil, making your bulbs less vulnerable to things like tulip fire.