Native to Turkey, tulips date back to 1000AD when they were predominantly wildflowers, well before they were first introduced in the Netherlands.
- 1. Lisianthus – (Eustoma Grandiflorum)
- 2. Crocus – (Crocus Spp)
- 3. California Poppy – (Eschscholzia Californica)
- 4. Daffodils – (Narcissus Spp)
- 5. Crown Imperial – (Fritillaria Imperial)
- 6. Canterbury Bells – (Campanula Medium)
- 7. Tulip Tree – (Liriodendron Tulipifera)
- 8. Little Volunteer Tulip Tree – (Liriodendron ‘Little Volunteer’)
- 9. Japanese Magnolia – (Magnolia × Soulangeana)
Bulbous Tulipa, or Tulips as they are commonly known, is a perennial that typically blooms in spring in a profusion of bright colors. Although, they do prefer cool winters and dry, warm summers.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of plants that look like tulips and produce stunning blue-hued flowers. And unlike tulips, some lookalikes are also incredibly hardy and can thrive in the harshest weather conditions and even in drought-prone regions.
So, here is a run-down of the best plants that look like tulips, including their most outstanding features:
- Lisianthus – they produce pink blooms that make excellent cut flowers.
- Crocus flowers – look like smaller versions of tulips in colors ranging from white and purple to golden yellow.
- California Poppy – this hardy tulip lookalike produces orange, yellow, white, red, and pink blooms.
- Daffodils – are often tulip companion plants as their yellow and creamy white flowers.
- The Crown imperial – plants are drought-tolerant, with fragrant orange flowers.
- Canterbury bells are available in a wide range of colors, from blue, purple, pink, and white.
- Tulip trees – have stunning tulip-shaped foliage and flowers and can reach a height of 60-80 feet.
- Little Volunteer tulip trees – are the dwarf variety of tulip trees, albeit with similar features.
- Japanese magnolia – trees and shrubs produce fragrant pink and white blooms in winter.
1. Lisianthus – (Eustoma Grandiflorum)
Lisianthus is a single-petaled plant species closely resembling tulips, especially the spectacular. Vulcan Pink Picotee Lisianthus blooms in spring.
Like tulips, Lisianthus flowers are diverse and can be grown in a container or garden soil. They can last for at least two weeks in a vase, so they are outstanding cut flowers.
The University of Florida’s IFAS Extension has also proven that hardy Lisianthus flowers can flourish in all USDA plant zones.
2. Crocus – (Crocus Spp)
Like tulips, humble crocus flowers grow from bulbs and look like a smaller version of their lookalikes in colors ranging from golden yellow and white to purple.
Although, Crocus venues, or the Dutch crocus as they are commonly known, is the largest variety and grows up to a height of roughly 6 inches. And unlike Lisianthus, crocus flower varieties are best suited to plant hardiness zones 3-8
3. California Poppy – (Eschscholzia Californica)
Edible California poppy flowers are part of the Papaveraceae plant family. They have the distinction of being California’s state flower since 1903.
Native to both Mexico and the western United States, the annual or perennial California Poppy reaches an average height of 5-60 inches.
These flowers have green-blue narrow-lobed foliage and silky four-petal blooms attached to long stems, which may be either solitary or clustered with 2-3 flowers with yellow-hued stamens.
The poppy flower petals are broad and long (0.79-2.36 inches) in various colors ranging from orange, yellow, white, and red to pink that bloom in spring, summer, and fall (February- September) in the northern hemisphere.
California Poppy flower petals close in cloudy or cold weather and at night. However, their petals open in the morning on sunny days.
They are hardy plants and often feature in gardens with hot Mediterranean climate conditions. They retain their beauty, even when dried, and used for flower arrangements.
Related: Are Poppies Poisonous?
4. Daffodils – (Narcissus Spp)
Even though daffodils could not be confused with tulips, they share the same growth habits. They are often used as tulip companion plants as they bloom simultaneously.
Like tulips, daffodils are grown with bulbs and produce slender long-stemmed blooms ranging from creamy white to bright sunny yellow, contrasting beautifully with vivacious tulip hues.
Daffodil or Narcissus plants vary dramatically in their hardiness. Some are more resilient than other plant species in the same family.
Related: Are Daffodils Poisonous?
Thus, while some do tolerate icy USDA plant zone 3 climate conditions, most thrive in regions that are classified as zones 7-8.
And like Lisianthus, daffodils are long-lasting cut flowers, so it’s worth growing them if you want to add a nice pop of color to your home.
5. Crown Imperial – (Fritillaria Imperial)
The Crown imperial is one of the most stunning tulip lookalikes, with regal, trumpet-like orange-hued blooms with a heady gorgeous fragrance.
Native to Iran, Turkey, and Afghanistan, this bulbous plant can grow up to 2 feet high and produces spectacular blooms each spring.
While you could propagate Crown imperials via seeds, they are best cultivated with divided flower bulbs during fall and spring.
Although plant them in an area of your garden that is mostly sunny, with well-drained soil to prevent root rot. Because they are native to arid climate conditions, they are drought tolerant once they have matured.
6. Canterbury Bells – (Campanula Medium)
Native to Southern Europe, statuesque Canterbury Bells are biennials with tall bell-shaped flowers that, unlike tulips, also produce blue-hued flowers, including purple, pink, and white, each summer when they typically bloom.
Canterbury bells thrive in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 3-9, especially in sunny or partially shaded areas with well-draining, moist soil conditions in cooler regions. And afternoon sun in warmer climates.
If you would like to cultivate some pretty Canterbury bells in your garden, plant them in groups to keep them upright or use stakes to keep them from tumbling over.
While they won’t produce any flowers in the first year and should be protected with a thick layer of mulch during the winter, you will be well rewarded with a spectacular array of Canterbury bells the following summer.
7. Tulip Tree – (Liriodendron Tulipifera)
Native to North America, gigantic Tulip Trees can reach heights of 60–80 feet and thrive in the eastern United States, producing showy foliage and blooms that closely resemble tulips.
Tulip poplar flowers are greenish-yellow, trumpet-like blooms that grow with a profusion of clustered flowers.
Although they are deciduous, they lose their foliage each fall. With an average lifespan of 100 years, they can produce abundant blooms each year.
8. Little Volunteer Tulip Tree – (Liriodendron ‘Little Volunteer’)
Unlike the previously mentioned Tulip tree, Little Volunteers are a dwarf variety. However, they can reach stellar heights between 15 and 20 feet.
Native to the Eastern United States, with its tulip-like foliage roughly 4 inches long and 2 inches wide and an abundance of showy, 6-petalled, green and yellow blooms, it’s clear why they are such a sought-after landscaping plant.
The Little Volunteer is easy to grow as they are drought-tolerant, require very little maintenance, and can adapt to various soil conditions. However, they do prefer to be cultivated in full sun.
So, a Little Volunteer tree is an excellent choice if you want a hassle-free plant with tulip-like, stunning flowers.
9. Japanese Magnolia – (Magnolia × Soulangeana)
The fragrant and spectacular Japanese magnolia is a large hybrid shrub or deciduous tree and a cross between an M. liliiflora and an M. denudate Asian plant cultivar.
The Japanese magnolia was created by Etienne Soulange-Bodin, a French gardener, back in 1820 to much critical acclaim due to the plant’s stunning pink or white flowers closely resembling tulips.
Related: 6 Trees Similar To Magnolia
These stunning plants thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 4-9. With an average height of 20-33 feet, they are a beautiful focal point in any landscape that needs lots of room to accommodate their significant root systems.
And, unlike most flowering plants, they produce an abundance of blooms when they have hardly matured and flower in the latter part of winter before their textured foliage appears.
If you want to cultivate a Japanese magnolia, plant it in full sun or a partially shaded area shielded from late frosts in loamy, acidic, and organically enhanced, well-draining soil.
While Japanese magnolias also produce fruit that starts ripening each fall, they tend to lose their profusion of flowers during the late frosty periods, so they need to be protected as much as possible to produce blooms in the winter.