“ Fowers. Dahlias are Bushy, summer- and autumn-flowering, tuberous perennial plants native to Mexico, where they are the national flower. The Aztecs gathered and cultivated the dahlia for food, ceremony as well as decorative purposes, and the long woody stem of one variety was used for small pipes. „
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Scientific Name : Dahlia
Family : Compositeae
Common names : Dahlia, Dalia
Flowering Season : July- October
Colour : Varied
Dahlia is a flowering plant originating from Mexico.The blooms are generally curvaceous or spiky with single or multiple petals. The Colours range from white to red, orange to yellow, pink to dark purple shades .The blooms are very attractive and are a great favorite with the florists.
Dahlia is a herbaceous perennial. It is a splendid looking flower and Dahlia is one of the most popular garden plants.
The height of the plant varies from 30 cm- 2 m depending upon the different varieties. It is used extensively in indoor decorations and garden display. It is very easy to grow Dahlias except in extreme cold conditions or hot dry weather. They grow well at 55-80 degree F soil temparature.
Requirements and care
Dahlias need a light loose sandy soil with plenty of manure and peat moss or bone meal , also adding vegetative refuse such as leaves etc is an ideal medium for planting Dahlias. Dahlias need a lot of sunlight and need a lot of water.The soil around the plant needs to be kept moist. It needs regular manures feeds once the plant starts flowering . The plant should be Watered once daily and may be twice in hot weather.
The new plants can be grown from the seeds or tubers that are found clustered around the roots. Once the tuber is separated from the main plant and planted in a new prepared flower bed,the plant may take 6 -to 8 weeks before any growth becomes visible above the ground level. But once the plant starts growing, it requires staking or support to grow erectly.
The most common fungal disease is powdery mildew, where white powdery mass appears on upper surface of leaves and this can be overcome by spraying with any plant spray .
I have noticed that it is very easy to grow Dahlias in pots.They grow very well and yield plenty of flowers, and once the flowering is over , which is about 7-8 months after the tuber is planted, the tubers can be replanted in other pots and thus becomes a continuous process.
Once the plant begins to grow and it is about 12 inches tall i generally pinch out the top leaves, this encourages the plant to grow bushy and yield a lot of flowers.this can be done with other flowering plants too..
If there are many tubers got from a plant, they can be stored by putting them in an earthen pot with some sand covering it, and can be used when required.They generally last quite long, a few months at least!
I have noticed that the local manure consisting of neem cakes and dried cow dung is most effective in growing Dahlia and the plant really flourishes with this treatment.The neem cake prevents the insect attacks and dried cowdung mixed with dry leaves , soil and sand forms an ideal medium for the plant to grow.
Dahlias are very attractive flowers that look bright and cheerful in any home.They are georgeous additions to any summer garden , adding a bright splash of color.
As cut flowers in a vase they last very long and i add a piece of charcoal to the water and i find that the flowers last longer and look fresh for at least a week.
The Dahlia was first introduced into Europe from Mexico, around 200 hundred years ago. The first dahlias grown just outside Madrid were single stemmed with open centres.
Then came the multi-ray variety. Spainsh growers soon discovered that when dahlias are grown from seed they change colour and form quite readily. That's why we have such a wide variety available today.
Water lily, peony, chrysanthemum, orchid and anemone are all varieties of dahlia. There are cactus types, pompom dahlias and even those with ball shaped flowers that look like little globes.
These all came from the same stock.
These amazing flowers come in a variety of colours. Infact they currently come in almost every colour, except blue. (Apparently this is being worked on at the current time.) There are mauves and violets but no pure blue. Sizes range from the miniature Topmix variety to giant flowers of almost twelve inches across which come on thick, powerful stems.
Dahlias in the garden:
Dahlias vary from about one to twelve feet in height so it's important to know which variety you have. The tall ones need to be at the back of the border. Leaf colouring varies from very light green to dark green with a tinge of black. Topmix, or Lilliputs, are miniatures that grow well in pots, and flower from late summer to mid autumn.
These need little attention so they are perfect if you are, like me, a lazy gardener.
If you are interested in exhibiting your dahlias there are a few rules to remember (or to aim for). An ideal bloom should be symmetrical in shape and perfectly circular. Double flowered dahlias should grown at no less than 45 degrees to the stem. Stems should be straight and of appropriate thickness for the size of the flower.
This isnt of course, a full list of the technical criteria that show growers aspire to but it does give you an idea of what its all about.
All varieties of dahlia make lovely colourful additions to the garden and the longer stemmed varieties are good for cutting and placing in a vase. They tend to last quite a long time in the house, although I am always reluctant to cut them after they have struggled so hard to produce those gloriously coloured flowers.
Even if you are not an avid gardener, you will find dahlias easy to grow and quite forgiving when it comes to neglect. (I don't mean serious neglect!)
Most of all, you will get a lot out of these plants for a minimum of effort and you don't need to be an expert. They actually make perfect flowers for the kids to grow in pots.
I love to potter around in the garden . While not a novice by any means , I am no Alan Titmarsh , but for the benefit of the DooYoo brigade , I thought I would do complete a few reviews on my favourite garden plants.....so here goes with choice number 1 - The Dahlia . Brief History : The Dahlia family originate from Mexico , and were first introduced into Europe ( actually the Botanical Gardens of Madrid , Spain ) towards the end of the eighteenth century , with three species introduced namely Dahia pinnata , Dahlia rosea and Dahlia coccinea . The name Dahlia was given to the plant in honour of a Swedish scientist turned enviromentalist by the name of Andreas Dahl , by botanist Abbe Caranille , whose authorative work " Icones et Descriptiones Planatarum " ( 1791 , updated 1795 ) , provide some of the earliest known illustrations and descriptions of the dahlia . Initially the said three dahlia's were grown in Europe as the only known / recognised species . However it was not long before Dahlias were grown from seed , from which variations in both form and colour were noted , and thus it was realised that the Dahlia was in fact a natural hybrid. Species : There are thirty-five known different species of Dahlia , which are sub divided into eleven groups . From these groups you then find hundreds of hybrids , providing you with a wealth of choice. Groups : As I previously said , the thirty-five species have been split into eleven groups . The groups are as follows : 1) Single flower - a single ring of florets ( petals ) with centre forming disc. 2) Anemone - one or more flat outer rings , with tubular / conic florets within but no disc. 3) Collerette - single flat outer ring , with a ring of inner florets in the centre that form a disc. 4) Waterlily - double blooms made up of rings of broad flat florets . Depth of these is usually less than half the diameter . 5) De
corative - double blooms whoose florets are broad and flat . The ends f hese florets can either be slightly upturned or slightly twisted to provide a point. 6) Ball - a double bloom , with florets shaped to produce a ball . 7) Pompon - a looser much larger variation of the ball dahlia . 8) Cactus - Again double blooms - this time the florets are mainly narrow and all are pointed . Florets will be a mixture of straight and incurved to produce a thistle effect . 9) Semi-cactus - differing form the cactus variety by having broad based florets that narrow to a point . Other characteristics are the same. 10) Miscellaneous - those that do not fit into a one particular group. 11) Fimbriated - usually cactus or semi cactus type but can be found in other groups - these consists of dahlias whose florets split into two or more divisions at their ends to produce a ragged whispy flower head. Groups 4 , 5 , 8 and 9 are further sub-divided into size of flower head . Colours : Dahlias come in a huge colour spectrum , of which there are 11 groups , namely : 1) White 2) Yellow 3) Orange 4) Bronze 5) Flame 6) Red / dark red 7) Pink 8) Lilac / lavender / mauve 9) Purple / wine / violet 10) Blends ( two of more colours that merge into one new combined colour 11) Bi-colour / variegated ( mainly a single colour , but florets will be striped , splashed or tipped with another colour ) . Groups 1-9 inclusive are further divided into individual colour variations , for example there are four variations of white . Relatives : Belonging to the same family we also find the widely known Waterlily , Anemone , Chrysanthenum Aster and Daisy . So as you can see the Dahlia range is simply huge . Whist choosing an individual sub species may be almost impossible , growers do make things simple for the average gardener by providing a good choice of various size
plants in a good choice of colours. Such plants can be used in mixed beds, dedicated displays and herbaceous borders . It is however not the above that are my main reason for prefering Dahlia's over any other types of flower , for Dahlias are very easy to grow . They do prefer a well drained rich soil , but will flourish in all sorts of climate and soil condition . You will usually pruchase Dahlias in one of two forms - pre-grown plant or tuber - the latter are my preferred choice as you actually get to see then grow from the very beginning . Planting : The traditional time for planting Dahlias is late Spring ( UK - late May - Mid June ) - the actual time is dependant on weather conditions , ie possibility of frost . Before planting use of a fertiliser such as blood fish and bone ( added to the soil ) will aid growth , but is not required subsequently . Should the ground be dry , watering in the plant / tuber is required , however if soil is moist it is best left alone to encourage the roots to seek water on their own . Caring for : Dahlias do require a lot of watering , but do not tolerate standing water . During the flowering season try to keep weeds to a minimum thus reducing the fight for water . At the start of the growing process tuber roots delve quite deep into the ground in search of water . Near to flowering stage the tuber roots spread along just under the surface to further aid water collection . An unfortunate characteristic for all Dahlias is the fact that black / green fly are attracted to it ( especially during the first growth spurts ) , and will require the use of pestiside to control ( although a washingup liquid / water solution can aid in reducing infestation ) . Young plants are also a loved target for slugs and snails , so precautions need to be taken here as well . Dependant on type of Dahlia grown , you may require the use of stakes or netting to secure your plants . In the
UK , mid to lae July is when Dahlias usually first begin to flower . At the first stage , the main growing point should be removed ( yes you are taking off a flower head ) . This however encourages the growth of side shoots , which will result in a greater flower display . For those who require earlier flowering , removal of the main flowering shoot should be made in mid-late June . It is however entirely up to the gardener wether he/she removes this first growth . Plants will still produce a good display without its removal . Dead-heading of flagging flower heads is required as this will encourage new flowers to develop .Flowering will continue upto the first frost , and it is not unknown for flowers to be present in late November . Dahlias are not frost hardy , and the first hard frost will turn leaves black and signal the end of the flowering season . This is the time that tubers are usually removed from the soil and stored for future years . If your area is not prone to very heavy frosts it is possible to leave your tubers in the ground all year round . However a heavy frost will kill the tubers - remedies do exist to protect tubers left in the ground eg. a bed of straw placed over the tubers during winter. Tubers left in situ should however be lifted every three to five years and the tubers split to control population and size . Tubers should be lifted once the first heavy frost has arrived . Foliage should be cut back and the tubers removed from the ground and the surface moisture alowed to dry out. Tubers can then be placed in peat or vermiculite and stored in cold greenhouse or cold frame until the following year . Care should be taken not to allow frost to penetrate them or them them to totally dry out . So why do I like Dahlias ? Well they last for many years , come in a huge range of shape , size and colour , are easy to care for being very undemanding wih respect soil conditions temperatures and sun provision . Furthe
r more , they make excellent cut flowers Finally two facts that may interst you .... a true blue coloured variety is still sought , flower head sizes range from minute ( 25mm ) to huge ( 12" ) in diameter .