On my recent dahlia post, fellow blogger and organic gardener Oceannah commented:
Dahlia’s never do very well here and I’ve stopped growing them. It may be the cool mountain nights, not sure.
Oceannah lives in the mountains of New York. I live in the hot and humid Ohio valley. Dahlias grow like weeds here, while I struggle to get a few blooms from my foxgloves and delphiniums.
That started me wondering about the history and origins of dahlias. What I found was very interesting!
Dahlias are warm weather plants, occurring naturally in Mexico and South America, where the Spaniards first “discovered” them. They are the national flower of Mexico.
The earliest reference to them occurred in 1615, but were then considered as an edible tuber rather than an ornamental flowering plant. At first, they didn’t attract much notice in Europe and weren’t recorded again until the late 18th century when the first tubers were sent back to Europe.
The dahlia was considered primarily an edible plant until 1815 when the first double flowered varieties were bred in Belgium and they quickly became a popular garden plant. They hybridize very easily and by the late 19th Century more than a hundred different varieties were listed.
They were common in the Victorian gardens, and persist as a popular cottage garden plant. They are easy to grow in fertile, well-drained soil. They favor sunny locations, and thrive in heat and humidity.
Today there are over 50,000 different dahlias in cultivation, and to try to bring a degree of order to the bewildering array of shapes, sizes and colors of dahlia flowers they are classified in ten different groups, ranging from Single and Anemone Flowered types to Pompoms, Large Decorative and Cactus flowered dahlias. At this point the classifying committee seems to have given up, and the tenth group is named simply “Miscellaneous”.
Dahlias love heat, humidity and sun, all present in abundance in southern Ohio. South America’s gift is much appreciated in my garden!!
- Favorite English Garden Bee Plants – Dahlias (romancingthebee.com)
- The dahlia & the bee (susielovesphotography.wordpress.com)
- Dahlia Potty (greenhousestarter.wordpress.com)
- Dahlia flowers : Images and Tips (artprofilesworld.wordpress.com)
- Sunday spotlight: Dahlia ‘Ferncliff Illusion’. (myfloweryprose.wordpress.com)