Plant Profile: Tulipa fosteriana ‘Zombie’


Do you remember, several months ago, when we were all potting up our spring bulbs …. each and every one of us full of excitement at the promise of the floral display that would follow? Well, here we are in springtime, confined to our homes and gardens (I refuse to mention the ‘c word’) which means that, from a positive perspective, we can fully enjoy the flurry of flowers currently nodding in the breeze and basking in the sunshine.

‘Zombie’ in full bloom

One such bloom is Tulipa fosteriana ‘Zombie’ which, in my opinion, has been given an unfortunate name. When one thinks of zombies one is reminded of the walking dead or the rather brilliant song by The Cranberries, rather than a very lovely tulip. Awful name or not, when I saw it in the catalogue I knew we had to have it.

Rhubard & Custard perfection

Tulipa ‘Zombie’ is a Fosteriana tulip, originally a wild species from the mountainous areas of Central Asia. The wild species is apparently no longer in cultivation, however ‘Zombie’ is a rather lovely cultivar with large flowers and glaucous-blue leaves.

How lovely is this tulip?

To my mind it’s a flower of two halves. On the outside of the petals there is a very striking vibrant-pink centre with a creamy-yellow stripe on either side, lending the closed flower the colour of a classic rhubarb & custard boiled sweet. The insides of the petals are the same creamy-yellow, until you reach the central bowl, which is marked by a shocking neon red ring filled with black. Maybe this central colouring is why it’s called ‘Zombie’? The inner really doesn’t match the outer at all.

Look at that colour.

Being tall with large flowers (around 25-50cms tall), ‘Zombie’ makes an excellent cut flower. Packed with bright colours it is certainly not a bloom to be considered for a traditional bridal bouquet, that’s for sure! What ‘Zombie’ lacks in understatement, it more than makes up for with its colourful presence in the garden, or in a pot on the patio. I only wish we had bought more, but perhaps that would have been gilding the lily?

This is my type of Zombie Apocalypse

As I’m sure you’re now salivating at the thought of ‘Zombie’ in your garden, why not put it on your list for next year? It’s truly a stunning flower to have in your collection and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. We got ours from J. Parker’s Wholesale. And, while you’re there, why not look up another gorgeous Fosteriana tulip called ‘Purissima Design’ that we have in the garden, with it’s large creamy white blooms and grey/green leaves edged in yellow? ….. I know, I’m a tease ….

Happy Gardening One and All.

The Beau

Tulip ‘Purissima Design’