Dahlias (DAL-lias) are rapidly becoming one of the most popular flowering plants in American home landscapes. They come to us from Central America. Although they are perennials and will bloom year after year, they are too tender to withstand the winter cold in northern regions. In return for the trouble of digging, storing over the winter and replanting them, they provide a steady riot of colorful bloom all summer.

Height And Spread of Dahlias - Dahlias grow anywhere from 2 to 8 feet tall. The medium and tall varieties are likely to grow from 3 to 8 feet, depending on the variety. The dwarf bedding varieties, as their name suggests, are typically 1 or 2 feet tall.

Flowers of Dahlias - Dahlias begin flowering in early summer and continue until the first hard frost in autumn. With the exception of perhaps chrysanthemums, they are almost unmatched for their diverse selection of flower colors and types. Colors include shades of yellow, red, orange, pink, purple and white with many bi-colored combinations.

After setting, buds are tantalizingly slow to open--up to 30 days--but the wait is worth it. Flower forms may be anything from small ball-shaped pompons to giant, curly-petalled wonders. The four most popular flower forms are: cactus, a prized cut flower with elongated, quill shaped, petals often curving inward; pompon, which bears short, tight cup-shaped petals; double and semidouble flowers, both of which are available from seed. Flower size varies widely also, dwarf plants having flowers 1 to 4 inches across and medium and tall plants capable of producing flowers as large as 18 inches across. Dahlia flowers are slow to open, so an average of 30 days or so may go by before their buds open.

Foliage of Dahlias- Dahlia leaves are somewhat coarse in texture with prominent mid veins and toothed edges. They are usually medium-green, sometimes with pale edges, and 2 or 3 inches long. Some dahlia varieties have bronze or purplish foliage.

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