Home > Flowers Identification > Dahlia-Family: Compositeae, Dahlia imperialis

Dahlia-Family: Compositeae, Dahlia imperialis

If ever there was a flower that knew the meaning of variety, it is the Dahlia. While it’s colors are limited to the warm ranges of red, orange, yellow, pink and white, it’s flowers come in a dizzying array of shapes and sizes. Dahlias are grouped into 6 size categories:

  • Giant – more than 10 inches in diameter
  • Large – 8-10 inches in diameter
  • Medium – 6-8 inches in diameter
  • Small – 4-6 inches in diameter
  • Miniature – 2-4 inches in diameter
  • Mignon – Less than 2 inches in diameter

Dahlias like well, drain, humus rich soil. They also like full light. While dahlias are not cold hardy, they do benefit from being grown in a cooler climate with plenty of rain fall.

Dahlias bloom from mid summer all the way up to frost. Many times their displayed will become more spectacular as the weather cools. Dahlias produce a better display if they are properly deadheaded and pinched.

Dahlias are commonly grown as an annual but they can be grown as a perennial if their tubers are dug up shortly after the first frost. To dig up a dahlia properly, simply dig the frost blackened plant out of the ground. Brush (not wash) as much soil off as possible and then cut the stems back to about 6 inches. Set them out in a cool dry place to dry for a day or two. Basements or garages are ideal for this. After they have dried out a bit, dust them with a bit of fungicide and pack them away. Packing them in vermiculite or sand will help to ensure that the tuber will not be affected by fungal infestations.

Dahlias are easily propagated by division. Simply replant the tubers and wait until the growth reaches between a half inch to a full inch. Dig the plant back up and divide the clump into a few pieces. Each new clump needs to have a shoot on it.

If you haven’t grown dahlias before, then this summer I would highly recommend that you give them a try. The variety and vividness of the dahlia flower is difficult to find in any other flower.

Part of the Compositeae family

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