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12 Interesting Facts About Dahlia

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The dahlia is a genus of bushy, tuberous, herbaceous perennial plants native to Mexico and Central America. Dahlias are autumn flowering plants with beautifully colored flowers that come in different sizes and forms.

Here are 12 interesting facts about this eye-catching plant:

Introduction

Dahlias have been popular garden plants for over 200 years, but there is still much to learn about these stunning flowers. From their origins in Mexico to their vast array of colors and forms, dahlias continue to delight gardeners around the world.

This article will uncover 12 fascinating facts about the dahlia that you may not have known before. We will explore the dahlia’s history, anatomy, growing requirements, and more.

Whether you are new to dahlia gardening or are looking to expand your knowledge, read on to discover some intriguing aspects of this beloved plant.

12 Facts About Dahlia Plants

1. Extensive diversity

Dahlias are incredibly diverse – there are over 20,000 cultivars registered with the American Dahlia Society to date. They come in almost every color except blue and have forms that range from tiny 2-inch lollipop-style pompons to giant 15-inch “dinner plate” blooms.

2. National flower of Mexico

The dahlia was declared the national flower of Mexico in 1963. This makes sense as dahlias are native to the highlands of Mexico and other areas of Central America.

3. Edible tubers

Dahlia tubers are edible and were used as a food crop by the Aztecs. The tubers taste similar to carrots and can be eaten raw or cooked. However, not all dahlia varieties have tasty tubers, so choose carefully if you want to try them!

4. Named after 18th century Swedish botanist

Dahlias were first brought to Europe in the late 18th century and were named after Swedish botanist Anders Dahl by Spanish botanist Antonio José Cavanilles.

5. Possible cancer fighting properties

Some preliminary research shows that certain compounds in dahlia tubers may have anti-cancer effects. More studies are needed, but this points to the potential health benefits of the dahlia.

6. National flower of Ukraine

In addition to Mexico, the dahlia is also the national flower of Ukraine. It likely earned this honor due to its hardiness and resilience, much like the Ukrainian people.

7. Grow up to 6 feet tall

Depending on the variety, dahlias can grow anywhere from 1-6 feet tall. Some small bedding dahlias max out at 1 foot, while giant exhibition types can reach towering heights of 6 feet or more when grown properly.

8. Bloom from mid-summer until frost

One of the best qualities about dahlias is their long blooming period – they begin flowering in mid-summer and will continue right up until frost in the fall. This gives you months of enjoyment from each plant.

9. Not a favorite food of deer and rabbits

Dahlias are rarely bothered by deer, rabbits, or other garden pests, making them a great option for gardens with these types of animal intruders. Slugs and snails may eat young shoots emerging in spring, however.

10. Originated as a high altitude plant

Growing wild, dahlias are used to cool nights and moderate days. For best growth and flowering, they perform well at high altitudes between 2000-8000 feet above sea level. This makes them well-suited to mountainous regions.

11. Sensitive to frost

One downside to dahlias is their sensitivity to frost. A light frost will damage and discolor the flowers, while a harder killing frost will blacken the entire plant almost overnight. So they have a relatively short season in cooler climates.

12. Propagate from tubers, cuttings and seeds

There are three main ways to propagate dahlias – from tubers, cuttings, or seeds. Tubers are the easiest method and ensure true-to-type plants. Cuttings produce genetic clones of the parent plant. Growing from seed produces unique new varieties.

Conclusion

From their stunning diversity of colors and forms to their Mexican origins and edible tubers, dahlias have many fascinating facts behind them.

We explored 12 intriguing details about these late-summer blooming plants – from being named after an 18th century Swedish botanist to potentially having cancer-fighting properties.

Dahlias have rightfully earned their reputation as one of the most versatile and beautiful garden plants. Their long flowering period, low maintenance, and resilience make them a favorite for gardeners around the world.

Hopefully you discovered something new about the dahlia from this article. Next time you see these lovely flowers, you can appreciate the rich history and uniqueness behind them.


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