Bloom of the Week: Dahlias

October 02, 2019

Bloom of the Week: Dahlias

Dahlia flowers come in so many shapes, sizes, and colors. The blooming season of the dahlia is longer than most other flowers, earning her the title “Queen of the Autumn Garden.” Their long blooming season makes them great garden flowers and they last a long time as cut flowers too.

There is great variation among the roughly 42 different species of dahlia flower. Variations include everything from size and color, to petal shape and number of rows of petals. Large dahlias grow up to 6 feet and have flowers up to 12 inches in diameter. The petals are either solid or patterned with different colored stripes or edges.

Grand Dahlia, Gold Cone Flower, & Foxtail Grass Front Door Fall Wreath

Though they are often referred to as bulbs, the roots of dahlias are actually called tubers. The roots look similar to a bunch of brown carrots. The majority of dahlia species are unscented, attracting pollinators with their vibrant and attractive colors rather than scent.

Dahlias are native to Mexico and Guatemala. This bloom is the national flower of Mexico but is loved by people all over the world. It is San Francisco's official flower and is considered to be a sign of good taste in Japan.

Before the Spanish migrated to Mexico, the Aztechs named dahlias "Acocotli," meaning “water cane.” The variety of dahlia they named Dahlia imperialis is called tree dahlia today. This variety of dahlia has hollow stems and reaches heights of twenty feet or more, making its stems useful for transporting water. 

Some dahlia flowers are actually quite poisonous so it is recommended that they are not eaten or used for medical purposes, though they are sometimes used as garnish for cakes. Because of this, it is recommended that children and pets are kept away from these flowers.

All Seasons Cream Dahlia, Hydrangea & Lamb's Ear Floral Arrangement in Glass Vase

Dahlias are presented to couples at engagement parties and weddings because they symbolize hope for an everlasting union between two people, an idea started by the Victorians.

Some believe that these flowers symbolize diversity because of how many different looks the different species take on. This bloom inspires us to celebrate what makes us different!

Dahlias come in nearly every color imaginable, excluding pure blue and pure black. Sometimes dark burgundy dahlias are so dark they can appear black. Usually the most difficult decision when deciding to grow dahlias is choosing what color to grow because the options seem endless!

Red Christmas Hydrangea & Dahlia Woven Willow Holiday Front Door Wreath

When growing dahlias, direct sunlight and constant watering in a must. Some varieties become massive and need support, especially types with large flower heads.

You can encourage larger flower heads to grow by pinching off some buds before they bloom. This allows plants to focus its energy on growing fewer, larger flowers. 

The hollow stems of these plants make them similar to succulents and make it difficult for them to support their own large blooms. It is recommended to tie these plants to a stake when they reach 1 foot high and continue to tie at roughly one foot increments.

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