Queen of Night (Tulipa 'Queen of Night') tulip bulbs produce striking, single-headed cup-shaped blooms that are a rich purple-black in colour.
Large, velvety flowers appear late spring (mid April-May) and sit on tall stems of up to 60cm in height. This is the favourite amongst the black tulips - a fully hardy variety with a good reappearance rate year after year.
It makes excellent cut flowers and a beautiful show in containers, stunning in single-variety clumps and drifts, and adds a touch of drama to our Tulip Naturalising Collection.
Tulips like to be planted in the colder weather of October/November. Plant the bulbs 15-20cm deep in well-drained, fertile soil, 10-15cm apart. (If planting in clumps, allow 7-9 bulbs per 30cm square; in pots, a dozen bulbs per 12-inch container will give an excellent display.)
They will tolerate most soil pH, preferring neutral to slightly acidic, but good drainage is the key, especially so in containers; they like moisture, but must not stand in water. Tulips would always choose full sun, but will tolerate partial shade.
Don't feed the plants during the growing season as this will tend to produce leggy growth. If planting in containers, protect the pots from severe frost/wind by wrapping them up in straw or bubble wrap, or simply storing in the garage. Containers must be watered in dry periods leading up to flowering.
Dead-head the flowers once they have faded and remove the seed pod, but don't cut the foliage back until it has died down naturally as this will impede flowering in following years. Tulips should continue flowering for several years unattended. If you wish to extend their life, lift the bulbs once the foliage has died right back. Clean and dry them, then store in boxes or net bags in a cool, dry place for re-planting the following autumn.
Keep a watchful eye out for slugs and snails as the plants emerge - take all your usual precautions until they are growing strongly.
Squirrels have a passion for digging up freshly planted tulip bulbs! If you know this will be a problem in your garden, plant them deeper than usual (30cm should foil their efforts), or cover the freshly dug hole with some chicken wire.
A true black tulip is the Holy Grail of tulip breeding. 'Queen of Night' is the closest that any of the breeders have come to date. Although in reality the flowers are deep purple, in some lights the blooms can appear to be jet black.
'Queen of Night' was given an Award of Merit by the Royal General Bulb Growers Association in 1944.