Red Emperor Tulips
Madame Lefeber or the Red Emperor?
Madame Lefeber is a queen among tulips. Of course, when she is called Red Emperor - which is often - she becomes a male ruler. Confusing. Either way, this is one of the first and best of the early spring flowering fosteriana tulips; a little shorter than that some others at 35-45 cm tall, Madame Lefeber makes up for a lack of height with an attention-grabbing display of larger-than-life, brilliant red flowers. If lots of red, early in spring is not your thing, we have dozens more varieties of tulip bulbs for sale to fill your garden with flowers right through spring!
Called the Red Emperor tulip because so many fosteriana tulips are "Something" Emperor, Madame Lefeber bulbs self-seed readily, so they’ll spread over time to make a right royal carpet of huge, sizzling scarlet flowers from late March through April.
Looking good in the garden
This tulip is a real head-turner in the early spring garden with flowers of the kind of retina-popping scarlet the Coldstream Guards made famous. It’s impossible to ignore it in full flower: the large, goblet-shaped flowers positively glow when back-lit by low early spring sunshine, each petal dipped delicately in egg-yolk yellow at the base. On sunny days they open wide to reveal a dark, velvety heart picked out in a halo of gold. They also make fabulous cut flowers.
Madame Lefeber looks wonderful partnered with sunshine yellow ‘Tete-a-tete’ daffodils, or you can really set your garden on fire by planting in mixed drifts of other vividly colourful fosteriana tulips like tangerine Orange Brilliant.
Red Emperor Tulips in Brief
- Colour: Fiery red, with a velvety dark heart edged in yellow
- Height: 35-45cm
- Scent: None
- Flowering: March/April
- Foliage: Sage green with paler stripes
- Naturalises: Yes
- Group: Fosteriana (very early)
Naturalising Tulip Trivia
Many tulips are bred to flower spectacularly, but only once. But several species of tulip, including the fosteriana group, are true perennials and return every year. Often known as ‘species’ or ‘wild’ tulips, they usually flower earlier than other tulips, and have slightly shorter stems; the leaves are also often striped or mottled. They’re fantastic value – plant just a few bulbs and they’ll gradually spread into carpets of jewel-like flowers.