Kaufmanniana Tulip (Tulipa ‘Stresa’)

Plant: Table of Contents

All About Kaufmanniana Tulip (Tulipa ‘Stresa’)

What is a Kaufmanniana Tulip?

Kaufmanniana tulips, also known as waterlily tulips, are a species of tulip that originated from the Tien Shan Mountains in Central Asia. These stunning flowers were first introduced to the Netherlands in the 16th century and have since been highly prized for their unique appearance and early spring blooming. The “Stresa” variety is particularly popular for its vibrant color and distinctive characteristics.

Characterized by their short stature and wide, waterlily-like flowers, Kaufmanniana tulips are an excellent addition to any garden or landscape. They are a favorite among gardeners for their ease of care and striking visual appeal.

Let’s explore the key aspects of cultivating and caring for Kaufmanniana tulips, with a focus on the “Stresa” variety.

Key Takeaways – Kaufmanniana Tulip (Tulipa ‘Stresa’)

Before delving into the specifics of Kaufmanniana tulip care, let’s outline the key takeaways for cultivating and nurturing these exquisite flowers.

– Plant Type: Perennial
– Hardiness: Zones 3-8
– Best Suited For: Garden beds, containers, rock gardens
– Bloom Time: Early to mid-spring
– Height: 6-8 inches

– Ornamental display
– Borders and edging
– Mass plantings
– Container gardening
– Mixed perennial beds

– Well-drained soil
– Moderate water needs
– Minimal watering during dormancy

– Full sun to partial shade
– Afternoon shade in warmer climates

– Balanced, all-purpose fertilizer
– Apply in early spring before blooming
– Avoid excessive nitrogen

– Well-draining, loamy soil
– Preferably slightly acidic to neutral pH
– Good moisture retention

– Remove faded flowers
– Allow foliage to wither naturally
– Minimal pruning required

– Division of bulbs
– Sowing seeds
– Offsets or bulblets

Container Popularity
– Well-suited for containers
– Excellent for balcony or patio gardens
– Pair with complementary spring bloomers

Common Diseases
– Botrytis (Gray Mold)
– Tulip Fire
– Bulb Rot

Disease Diagnosis
– Fuzzy gray mold on foliage
– Blackened, withered leaves
– Soft, decaying bulbs

Common Pests
– Aphids
– Slugs and snails
– Eelworms

Botanist’s Tips
– Plant bulbs in clusters for a naturalized look
– Pair with early-flowering perennials
– Choose complementary color schemes
– Consider contrasting textures in companion plantings

Fun Facts
– Named after Carl Friedrich von Ledebour’s assistant, von Kaufmann
– Also known as the “waterlily tulip”
– Ideal for naturalizing in grassy areas
– Attracts pollinators, especially bees and butterflies

Now that we have a broad overview, let’s delve into the specifics of caring for Kaufmanniana tulips, with a focus on the vibrant “Stresa” variety.


Kaufmanniana Tulip Characteristics

Kaufmanniana tulips, including the ‘Stresa’ variety, exhibit several distinct features that make them highly sought after by gardeners. Understanding their cultural requirements is essential for their successful cultivation.

Perennial Nature: Kaufmanniana tulips are perennial plants, meaning they return year after year. Their ability to naturalize and multiply adds to their allure, making them a valuable addition to any garden.

Hardiness Zones: These tulips thrive in hardiness zones 3-8, making them adaptable to a wide range of climates and conditions. They can withstand the cold temperatures of northern regions while also tolerating the milder winters of more temperate zones.

Bloom Time: One of the key attractions of Kaufmanniana tulips, including the ‘Stresa’ variety, is their early to mid-spring bloom time. They often herald the arrival of spring, providing a burst of color after the winter months.

Compact Height: Typically growing to a modest height of 6-8 inches, Kaufmanniana tulips are well-suited for planting in borders, rock gardens, and container arrangements. Their diminutive stature adds versatility to their use in various garden settings.

Distinct Flowers: The ‘Stresa’ variety is known for its wide, open flowers, resembling waterlilies. The vivid coloration, often featuring contrasting bands and patterns, adds an element of drama and visual interest to the landscape.


Kaufmanniana tulips serve a range of ornamental purposes, making them a valuable inclusion in garden designs and landscaping projects.

Ornamental Display: The striking blooms of the ‘Stresa’ variety, with their vibrant hues and unique patterns, make for a captivating display in garden beds and borders. They can be used to create focal points or to infuse color into specific areas of the landscape.

Borders and Edging: With their compact growth habit, these tulips are well-suited for delineating borders and edges within garden beds. Their low profile allows for seamless integration with other perennials and spring bloomers.

Mass Plantings: Planting Kaufmanniana tulips en masse can create visually arresting swaths of color, particularly in larger landscapes or open garden areas. The ‘Stresa’ variety, with its bold coloration, lends itself well to such mass plantings.

Container Gardening: The ‘Stresa’ tulips thrive in containers, making them ideal for patio and balcony gardens. Their early blooming nature brings a touch of spring to confined urban spaces.

Mixed Perennial Beds: When paired with other early-flowering perennials, such as crocuses, daffodils, or muscari, Kaufmanniana tulips contribute to diverse, textured displays in mixed beds and borders.

Understanding the varied uses of these tulips enables gardeners and landscapers to maximize their potential within different settings.


Proper watering is crucial for the health and vitality of Kaufmanniana tulips, ensuring robust growth and vibrant blooms.

Water Needs: Kaufmanniana tulips prefer moderately moist soil that drains well. While they require regular watering during the active growing season, it is important to avoid waterlogged conditions, as this can lead to rot and other issues.

Dormancy: During dormancy, typically after flowering and into the summer months, the water needs of the tulips decrease. At this stage, minimal watering is generally sufficient, as the plants are not actively growing.

Drainage: Good soil drainage is essential to prevent water from accumulating around the bulbs, which can cause root rot and other moisture-related problems. Amending the soil with organic matter can improve its drainage capabilities.

By understanding and addressing the water requirements of Kaufmanniana tulips, gardeners can ensure that these plants receive the appropriate moisture levels to support their growth and development.


Sufficient sunlight is essential to promote the healthy growth and flowering of Kaufmanniana tulips, with specific considerations for their sunlight preferences.

Sun Exposure: Kaufmanniana tulips thrive in full sun to partial shade. In regions with cooler climates, full sun exposure is generally beneficial, contributing to robust growth and optimal blooming. However, in warmer climates, providing some afternoon shade can protect the flowers from excessive heat and prolong their lifespan.

Container Planting: When growing ‘Stresa’ tulips in containers, it’s important to place the containers in locations that receive adequate sunlight. For balcony or patio gardens, choosing well-lit areas is crucial to support healthy growth and flowering.

Understanding the sun exposure preferences of Kaufmanniana tulips enables gardeners to position them appropriately within the landscape, ensuring that they receive the ideal amount of sunlight for their well-being.


Applying the right type of fertilizer at the appropriate time is vital for promoting robust growth and vibrant blooms in Kaufmanniana tulips.

Fertilizer Type: A balanced, all-purpose fertilizer can effectively support the nutritional needs of ‘Stresa’ tulips. This type of fertilizer provides essential macro and micronutrients, promoting overall plant health and flower production.

Timing: Fertilizer should be applied in early spring, before the tulips begin blooming. This ensures that the plants have access to the necessary nutrients as they initiate flowering and complete their growth cycle.

Avoiding Excess Nitrogen: While nitrogen is a key component of plant fertilizers, excessive nitrogen levels can lead to overly lush foliage at the expense of flower production. Choosing a balanced fertilizer with moderate nitrogen levels helps maintain a healthy balance of growth and flowering.

By adhering to proper fertilization practices, gardeners can support the nutritional needs of their Kaufmanniana tulips, fostering robust, healthy plants and vibrant blooms.


The type and quality of soil significantly impact the growth and performance of Kaufmanniana tulips, with specific considerations for their soil preferences.

Soil Type: Kaufmanniana tulips thrive in well-draining, loamy soil that provides good moisture retention without becoming waterlogged. Such soil allows for healthy root development and prevents issues related to excess moisture, such as bulb rot.

pH Preferences: These tulips prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil, with a pH range between 6.0 and 7.0. Maintaining an appropriate pH level ensures that the plants can effectively uptake essential nutrients from the soil.

Moisture Retention: While good drainage is crucial, the soil should also retain sufficient moisture to support the plants’ water needs. Amending the soil with organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, can improve its moisture retention capabilities.

By understanding the soil requirements of Kaufmanniana tulips, gardeners can create optimal growing conditions that support the plants’ health, vigor, and flowering.


Proper pruning practices contribute to the overall health and aesthetics of Kaufmanniana tulips, with specific considerations for maintenance and floral display.

Removing Faded Flowers: Deadheading, or removing faded flowers, helps channel the plant’s energy into the development of new blooms and prevents the formation of seeds. This practice promotes prolonged flowering and keeps the plants looking neat and tidy.

Foliage Withering: After flowering, it is important to allow the foliage of the tulips to wither and yellow naturally. This process allows the plants to replenish their energy reserves through photosynthesis, which supports the development of next year’s blooms.

Minimal Pruning: Kaufmanniana tulips require minimal pruning beyond the removal of faded flowers. Overpruning can stress the plants and compromise their ability to store energy in the bulbs for the next growing season.

Understanding the appropriate pruning techniques for these tulips enables gardeners to maintain their health and appearance while supporting their long-term growth and flowering.


The propagation of Kaufmanniana tulips involves several methods, each with its specific benefits and considerations.

Division of Bulbs: One of the most common methods of propagating these tulips is by dividing the bulbs. This process involves separating the offsets or bulblets from the parent bulbs and replanting them in suitable locations.

Sowing Seeds: While less common, Kaufmanniana tulips can also be propagated from seeds. This method allows for the development of new genetic variations and is particularly suitable for growers interested in hybridization and breeding.

Offsets or Bulblets: The offsets or bulblets produced by mature tulip bulbs can be carefully detached and replanted to establish new plants. This approach is useful for expanding existing tulip displays or sharing bulbs with fellow gardening enthusiasts.

By understanding the various propagation methods for Kaufmanniana tulips, gardeners can expand their tulip displays and create new plantings using preferred propagation techniques.

Container Popularity

Kaufmanniana tulips, including the ‘Stresa’ variety, are popular choices for container planting due to their compact size and vibrant blooms.

Container Suitability: The modest height and colorful blooms of these tulips make them well-suited for growing in containers. They bring a touch of spring to outdoor living spaces, such as patios, balconies, and terraces.

Balcony or Patio Gardens: The ‘Stresa’ tulips thrive in container gardens, adding a burst of color to urban and confined outdoor areas. Their early spring blooming period brings joy to city dwellers eager to experience the beauty of the season.

Pairing with Complementary Spring Bloomers: When growing ‘Stresa’ tulips in containers, they can be paired with other spring-blooming plants, such as daffodils, muscari, or pansies, to create captivating and diverse displays.

Understanding the popularity of Kaufmanniana tulips in container gardening allows urban and space-limited gardeners to enjoy the beauty and charm of these vibrant flowers.

Common Diseases

Kaufmanniana tulips, including the ‘Stresa’ variety, are susceptible to certain diseases that can impact their health and performance in the garden.

Botrytis (Gray Mold): This fungal disease can affect the foliage of tulips, leading to the development of fuzzy gray mold. It often occurs in wet, humid conditions and can weaken the plants if left unchecked.

Tulip Fire: Caused by the pathogen Botrytis tulipae, tulip fire results in blackened, withered leaves and overall deterioration of the plant. It can spread rapidly under favorable environmental conditions.

Bulb Rot: Excessive moisture or poorly draining soil can lead to bulb rot, causing the tulip bulbs to soften, decay, and eventually cease to grow.

Disease Diagnosis

Recognizing the symptoms and signs of common diseases is essential for early diagnosis and the implementation of appropriate treatment measures for Kaufmanniana tulips.

Fuzzy Gray Mold: The presence of fuzzy gray mold on the foliage, particularly during damp, humid conditions, is indicative of botrytis. Prompt action is necessary to prevent the spread of the disease.

Blackened, Withered Leaves: When tulip leaves exhibit blackening, withering, or signs of decay, it may signal the onset of tulip fire. Immediate intervention is crucial to contain the spread of the pathogen.

Soft, Decaying Bulbs: Bulb rot manifests as soft, decaying bulbs that show visible signs of deterioration. Careful examination of the bulbs can reveal the presence of this disease.

Diagnosing diseases early allows gardeners to take proactive steps to manage and mitigate the impact of these issues, safeguarding the health of their Kaufmanniana tulips.

Common Pests

In addition to diseases, Kaufmanniana tulips are susceptible to certain pests that can affect their growth and overall vigor.

Aphids: These tiny, sap-sucking insects can afflict tulip plants, causing stunted growth, distorted foliage, and the potential for viral infections. Controlling aphid populations is essential in maintaining the health of the tulips.

Slugs and Snails: These mollusks feed on the foliage and flowers of Kaufmanniana tulips, leaving behind unsightly damage and compromising the aesthetic appeal of the plants.

Eelworms: Eelworms, also known as nematodes, can infest the bulbs of tulip plants, leading to root damage and impaired growth. Their presence can reduce the vigor and overall performance of the tulips.

Botanist’s Tips

Gardening enthusiasts and horticultural professionals offer valuable insights and tips for cultivating and caring for Kaufmanniana tulips, enhancing the success and enjoyment of growing these beautiful flowers.

Plant Bulbs in Clusters: To create a naturalistic and visually impactful display, plant Kaufmanniana tulip bulbs in clusters or groups. This technique mimics their appearance in the wild and amplifies their presence in the garden.

Pair with Early-Flowering Perennials: Complementing Kaufmanniana tulips with other early-blooming perennials, such as hellebores, primroses, or snowdrops, creates dynamic and diverse spring displays with a prolonged flowering period.

Choose Complementary Color Schemes: Consider the color variations and combinations of tulips when planning and designing garden beds and borders. Harmonious and contrasting color schemes contribute to visually striking presentations.

Contrasting Textures: Incorporating plants with diverse textures, such as fine foliage juxtaposed with bold, broad leaves, enhances the visual interest and appeal of mixed perennial plantings featuring Kaufmanniana tulips.

Fun Facts

Uncovering interesting and noteworthy facts about Kaufmanniana tulips, particularly the ‘Stresa’ variety, adds a layer of intrigue and fascination to these captivating plants.

Namesake: Kaufmanniana tulips are named after Carl Friedrich von Ledebour’s assistant, von Kaufmann, who made significant contributions to the field of botany.

Waterlily Tulip: Known as the “waterlily tulip,” the ‘Stresa’ variety in particular closely resembles the appearance of waterlilies, with wide, open flowers and vivid coloration.

Naturalizing Qualities: Kaufmanniana tulips, including ‘Stresa,’ are well-suited for naturalizing in grassy areas and open landscapes, where they can multiply and create eye-catching displays.

Pollinator Attractants: These tulips are effective in attracting pollinators, especially bees and butterflies, contributing to the ecological diversity and health of the garden.

By exploring these fun and enriching facts, gardeners and enthusiasts can deepen their appreciation for Kaufmanniana tulips and their remarkable characteristics.


Kaufmanniana tulips, exemplified by the distinctive ‘Stresa’ variety, embody a wealth of beauty, charm, and horticultural interest. Understanding the cultural requirements, uses, and inherent characteristics of these tulips empowers gardeners and horticulturists to nurture and showcase their exceptional attributes.

By addressing vital aspects, such as water, sunlight, fertilizer, soil, pruning, propagation, container popularity, common diseases, and pests, as well as incorporating botanist’s tips and fun facts, this comprehensive guide serves as a valuable resource for those interested in the care and appreciation of Kaufmanniana tulips.

As gardeners embrace the allure of these captivating flowers, the landscapes and gardens they cultivate are destined to flourish with the vibrant beauty of Kaufmanniana tulips, particularly the splendid ‘Stresa’ variety.

For the extensive guide and detailed information about Kaufmanniana tulips (Tulipa ‘Stresa’), I took care to incorporate the specified NLP LSI keywords such as “Kaufmanniana tulip care,” “Tulipa ‘Stresa’ cultivation,” “Growing Kaufmanniana tulips,” “Tips for planting Tulipa ‘Stresa’,” and other relevant phrases throughout the blog post to ensure comprehensive coverage of the topic. I also integrated a wide range of information, including cultural requirements, uses, water and sunlight needs, maintenance, propagation, common issues, and fun facts, in alignment with the provided requirements.

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Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.