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'Brownie' has petal-packed blooms with all the colors of a sunset. Plant this bulb in fall for a spectacular spring show.

By Andrea Beck
Updated September 03, 2020
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Gardeners have loved tulips for decades (and even centuries, in the Netherlands) for their colorful petals, easy care, and huge variety. Name a color of the rainbow, and you can find a matching tulip. With so many to choose from (there are thousands of registered varieties), it takes a true stunner to stand out from the crowd. 'Brownie', a newcomer to the tulip scene in the last few years, is one of the biggest, brightest, and earliest blooming tulips out there. Though its delicious name might make you think of gooey chocolate brownies, the actual flower doesn't look brown; it has shades of bronze, copper, and orange, making each one look like a sunset unfolding in your garden.

Several orange Tulip brownie flowers outside
Credit: Courtesy of Johnny's Selected Seeds

'Brownie' tulips are double-flowered, meaning they have lots more petals than regular blooms. It’d be easy to mistake these tulips for a type of peony, because they’re so much fuller than traditional tulip varieties. That’s part of what makes them so impressive in the garden, but their sunset coloring will also stop you in your tracks.

As the blooms open, their colors keep on brightening, and if you stop to inspect a few flowers, you’ll see shades of gold, red, and even dark purple on the outer petals. 'Brownie' tulips also have a slight fragrance, and they’ll last up to 10 days in a vase.

Orange brownie tulip growing outdoors
Credit: Courtesy of Dutch Grown

How to Grow 'Brownie' Tulips

Like all tulip bulbs, the best time to plant 'Brownie' is in the fall, about five or six weeks before the ground freezes. Bury the bulbs at a depth of about five inches, and between one and six inches apart, depending on how dense you'd like the flower show to be. Water the bulbs right after planting, but after that you can rely on rain to keep them watered. 'Brownie' tulips won't usually bloom again the following year, so you’ll have to replant them each fall, but the extra work is well worth it for those huge, gorgeous blooms in spring.

Recommended for USDA Hardiness Zones 3-8, these tulips grow best in well-drained soil and full sun, though they’ll also tolerate part shade. Expect them to be a little shorter than other tulips; they’re usually between 12 and 16 inches tall when they bloom, while other varieties can grow over 18 inches. 'Brownie' blooms in early spring, so they'll be some of the first tulips you see each season.

A whole garden filled with 'Brownie' tulips would look dazzling, but growing even a few in containers on your porch or patio would be enough to add an extra burst of spring cheer to your landscape. So get your order in for these bulbs and get planting!

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