Tulips can last for 25 years or just one. It's all about where they are planted and which variety is put in the ground. If all you're getting now is foliage, here are a few tips for planting this fall. Remember to write down where you need to plant, you'll never remember in September.
The key is to plant them in a bed which will dry out in the summer. If something like impatiens are planted over them to hide the dying foliage, the water used to keep the impatiens alive will drown the bulbs below.
Problem areas for most plants can be a great place for tulips. The drip line of trees is perfect. The tree won't leaf out until after the tulips are done. The leaves above will keep the ground reasonably dry, just right for tulips.
Darwin tulips are one of the most perennial varieties. I've had great luck with another variety too. Tulipa fosteriana 'Red Emperor' was one of the first tulips I ever planted. It continues to come up year after year.
Species tulips are smaller versions of the hybrids we love. They are perennial and have intense colors in their diminutive blooms.
Use a good source for your bulbs like Brent and Becky's Bulbs. They will never let you down. You can find bulbs cheaper, but the key is quality and size of the bulbs. Order from a good bulb house.
I treat tulips like annuals, planting them every fall. I love it when they become perennial, but understand they might only put on a show for a few years.