Tulip hands will be aware of Flaming Purissima's pedigree: Purissima is one of the best RHS AGM creamy white tulips with a wonderful flower that impresses with its size - bowl shaped flowers of up to 12 cm across, longevity and ability to stay upright at all times. There is now a whole family of these Fosteriana tulips and Flaming Purissima is the youngest sibling, a sport defined by the 'flames' of raspberry red that suffuse through the ivory petals as it matures and then deepen in colour. Rather like a well known brand of icecream, every mouthful is different depending on the amount of ripple and just as moreish. The variation between flowers is what makes them so attractive. There is also a hint of gold through the centre and base of each petal to reinforce the flame effect. The strappy leaves are a good green and are slightly broader than other varieties of tulip. They do not envelop the flower which stands proud on relatively short, thick stems. See our full range of tulip bulbs, available to buy online.
If indecision is a trait, the Flaming Purissima will appeal because in planting a whole block of these flowers you will have in effect chosen a whole range of cream, yellow and reddish tulips without having to riffle through the considerable list of tulip candidates. The flushing and ever-changing colour gives movement and excitement to a massed planting that is above all enormously pretty and as fascinating as watching a gently burning log fire in the hearth at home. Fosteriana tulips used to be known as Emperor tulips because of their regal nature and flower size. While being on the short side, they look good in groups of 7 or so close to the front of a border or in pots where they will cope with wind and rain without requiring support. To dampen down the flames consider planting Flaming Purissima with its mother Purissima or another pure white tulip like Diana ramp up the temperature and include the steamy Hemisphere which continues to flower into May and extends the multi-coloured tulip season.
Fosteriana tulips are rarely cultivated now having originated from a wild strain in Central Asia. They are usually red and usually have striking leaves with purple brown leaves which make them even more unusual. Often their names include the word Emperor as with the most famous Fosteriana exponent, Red Emperor (sometimes known as Madame Lefeber)