Unexpected flower colors

Last spring, I planted several hundred bulbs in the front of the house. It was a hell of a lot of work.

The white crocuses came up, and were perfect.

The white, lacy narcissi are absolutely breathtaking.

Then there are the tulips. I planted an assortment of varieties, all in the pale orange to pale salmon to pink spectrum, colors that complement the color of my brick house. Well, maybe 10% or them are in the color range I expected. About half of them are bright fire-engine red and some others are dark magenta. Now don’t get me wrong, they’re lovely flowers, but not the colors I want.

So what went wrong? Is there that much leeway in the pictures they put on bulb packaging, or is this just plain sloppy merchandising? Does it have anything to do with the type of soil or fertilizer or climate?

Either way, I plan to mark the plants I don’t want, and replace them with new ones in the fall (which won’t be easy, since they’re under the crocuses and narcissi). Is there anything I can do differently next time, or should I just hope for the best?

My experience as well.

A few years ago in an attempt to make my neighbors scratch their heads I planted a few hundred tulips in my front lawn. My carefully planned color schemes were not the same as I was lead to believe from the packaging.

This is only a fraction more accurate than a WAG, but it’s my understanding that with many flowers, the precise coloration is heavily influenced by the soil’s mineral content. In other words, if you have a flowering plant whose flowers are supposed to be blue, they will be blue, but whether Virgin Mary blue, robins-egg blue, spectral blue, Peacock blue, or Navy blue may depend on what minerals the soil contains or lacks. Likewise, presumably, with your tulips.

This is what I’ve suspected. But what has to be changed in order to make next year’s colors lighter?