Shirley Tulip Tulipa 'Shirley' (3)

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
tulip 'Shirley'


Tulipa 'Shirley' is a unique and striking variety of the common tulip. This particular plant is admired for its elegant and delicate flowers. The blooms of 'Shirley' tulips display a color palette that is both subtle and sophisticated, starting as a creamy white with gentle strokes of purple at the edges. As the flowers mature, the purple shading becomes more pronounced and can sometimes bleed into a lilac or bluish tone, creating a lovely gradient. The petals of this tulip variety have a distinct shape, with a smooth and slightly pointed form that is characteristic of classic tulip silhouettes. They come together at the base to form a cup-like structure before flaring out gracefully. The 'Shirley' tulip has a clean and fresh appearance, with each flower sitting atop a singular, sturdy stem which is surrounded by lance-shaped leaves. These leaves are typically a rich green color, providing a perfect backdrop that highlights the beauty of the blooms. The contrast between the green foliage and the predominantly white petals with purple accents makes the 'Shirley' tulip a favorite for gardeners looking to create an impactful visual display in their garden. The transformation of the petal edges as the flower matures adds to the dynamic nature of this plant, ensuring that it captures interest throughout its blooming period.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Shirley Tulip

    • Common names

      Tulipa 'Shirley'

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The common name of Tulipa 'Shirley' is Tulip. Tulips are generally considered to have low toxicity for humans. However, ingestion of any part of the plant, especially the bulb, can cause symptoms of poisoning. Possible symptoms could include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and dizziness. In rare cases or instances of severe ingestion, more serious effects like difficulty breathing or an irregular heartbeat may occur.

    • To pets

      The common name of Tulipa 'Shirley' is Tulip. Tulips are toxic to pets, particularly cats and dogs. If a pet ingests any part of a tulip, especially the bulb, they might experience symptoms of poisoning. These symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, hyper-salivation, and an increase in heart rate. In severe cases, ingestion can lead to more serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing or changes in cardiac rhythm. Seeking veterinary care is recommended if a pet has ingested tulips.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Spread

      6 inches (15 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      Central Asia


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: Tulipa 'Shirley' offers striking visual interest with its unique color pattern, enhancing the beauty of gardens and landscapes.
    • Easy to Grow: It is relatively easy to cultivate in a range of garden conditions, making it accessible for gardeners of various skill levels.
    • Pollinator Attraction: The flowers attract bees and other pollinators, supporting local ecosystems and biodiversity.
    • Seasonal Interest: Blooming in spring, 'Shirley' tulips provide early seasonal color after winter dormancy.
    • Versatility in Landscaping: They can be planted in a variety of settings including borders, containers, and as cut flowers in floral arrangements.
    • Cultural Symbolism: Tulips are associated with different symbolic meanings across cultures, often representing love and happiness.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Tulips like the Shirley tulip can be used in art projects, such as pressing the flowers for decorative purposes or to create botanical prints.
    • Their strong stems can inspire artists and designers to mimic their form in things like jewelry or architecture design.
    • Shirley tulip petals are occasionally used in culinary presentations as a natural garnish for salads and desserts.
    • The petals can also be candied to create a sweet, edible decoration that has a delicate tulip flavor.
    • Educational tools, such as in biology or botany classes, where students can study the tulip’s structure and genetics.
    • Eco-friendly confetti can be made from dried tulip petals, providing a biodegradable alternative to traditional paper or plastic confetti.
    • In crafting, the bulbs can be hollowed out when dormant and used as small natural containers or planters for other plants.
    • Photographers often use Shirley tulips to learn macro photography skills, taking advantage of their vibrant colors and intricate patterns.
    • The striking appearance of Shirley tulips can influence interior design, particularly in creating color schemes or textile designs.
    • Floriculture students can practice cross-breeding with Shirley tulips to understand the principles of hybridization and color genetics.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Tulip is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Tulip is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Perfect Love: As a variety of tulip, 'Shirley' tulips often symbolize perfect or deep love, embodying the ideal of lovers or a deep emotional connection.
    • Fame: Tulips in general can also symbolize fame or being a perfect lover, so 'Shirley' tulips might be given to recognize someone's success or to express admiration.
    • Forgiveness: Offering 'Shirley' tulips can be a way to ask for forgiveness, using their gentle appearance to convey a sincere apology.

Every 10 days
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every year
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    Tulips, including the 'Shirley' variety, should be watered deeply when first planted and then lightly once a week while they are growing, with approximately 1 inch of water per week, including rainfall. It's important to avoid over-watering, as tulips prefer well-drained soil and can rot if too much moisture is present. Typically, a gallon per square yard per week would suffice. After blooming, reduce watering gradually as the foliage starts to die back, ensuring the soil is dry to the touch between waterings.

  • sunLight

    Tulips, such as the 'Shirley' tulip, flourish in full sun to partial shade. They need at least six hours of sunlight per day to produce the most vigorous blooms. Planting them in an area that receives morning sunlight and some afternoon shade can help to protect the flowers from the heat of the day.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The 'Shirley' tulip prefers cooler climates and is typically hardy in USDA zones 3 through 8. They require a period of winter chilling at temperatures between 35 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit to bloom properly. During the growing season, they can tolerate a wide range of temperatures but perform best when the daytime temperatures are between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning 'Shirley' tulips involves deadheading the spent flowers immediately after they bloom to prevent seed formation, which can deplete energy from the bulb. Cut back the flower stalks to the base but leave the foliage in place until it turns yellow and dies back naturally, typically by late spring or early summer. This allows the plant to photosynthesize and replenish the bulb for the next year.

  • broomCleaning

    Not needed

  • bambooSoil

    Tulips, including 'Shirley' tulips, require well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. A good soil mix consists of equal parts loamy soil, sand, and compost to ensure proper drainage and nutrients. In heavier soils, adding grit or perlite can improve drainage, vital for tulip bulb health.

  • plantRepotting

    Shirley tulips, being perennial bulbs, do not typically need repotting. Instead, they should be lifted every 3 to 5 years to divide and prevent overcrowding. After flowering, allow the foliage to die back naturally before lifting the bulbs if necessary.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Tulips, such as the 'Shirley' tulip, are tolerant of a wide range of humidity levels and do not have specific humidity requirements. They grow best in outdoor conditions where humidity is naturally regulated by the environment.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure bright light and cool temperatures for indoor 'Shirley' tulips.

    • Outdoor

      Plant 'Shirley' tulip bulbs in fall, 4-6 inches deep, in full sun.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Tulipa 'Shirley', commonly known as the 'Shirley Tulip', begins its life cycle as a bulb, which is typically planted in the fall before the first frost. The bulb undergoes vernalization, a period of cold temperatures necessary to initiate spring growth. In early to mid-spring, the bulb sends up leaves and a stem, culminating in the flowering stage where the distinct cream-to-purple edged blossoms appear. After blooming, the tulip's petals fall, and the plant focuses energy on replenishing the bulb for the next season. As the foliage yellows and withers, the bulb enters a dormant stage throughout the summer and early fall. This annual cycle repeats each year, with proper care allowing the bulb to produce new flowers each spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time


    • Tulipa 'Shirley', commonly known as the Tulip 'Shirley', is most commonly propagated through bulb division. The best time for this method is in the fall, after the leaves have died back and the bulb has entered a period of dormancy. Gardeners typically dig up the bulbs, gently separate any small bulblets that have formed at the base of the parent bulb, and replant these immediately at a depth of about 6 to 8 inches (15 - 20 cm) and spaced 4 to 6 inches (10 - 15 cm) apart. It is vital to ensure that the new planting site is well-drained and the bulbs aren't planted too shallowly as tulips require a cooler period underground to develop properly for the following spring's bloom.