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The dahlia is a perennial herbaceous plant, which forms large tuberous roots, gathered in clusters; these plants originate from Central America, from where they were imported into Europe already in the late 1700s. Their cultivation in gardens throughout Europe began in the mid-1800s, and since then numerous hybrids and cultivars developed. In fact there are hundreds of varieties of dahlia, with the strangest flowers, or with particular dimensions.
The plant develops from the end of winter, produces thin hollow, herbaceous, fairly branched stems, which bear large green leaves, often divided into some lobes; starting from the beginning of summer until the first cold of autumn dahlias they produce numerous flowers.
There are dwarf varieties, which develop up to a maximum of 35-45 cm, and also giant varieties, which exceed a meter in height; the flowers of the dahlias are gathered in inflorescences, called flower heads: the flowers gathered in these bunches can all be identical, or differ in shape or color depending on the position they occupy inside the inflorescence, as happens for the flowers of the daisies.
Bloom in succession, so flowering can be very prolonged; there are very many types of dahlias, and since their hybridization began centuries ago, it is difficult to name the new varieties by looking for their progenitor species, for this reason the dahlias they are divided into classes, which group the plants according to the shape of the flower head.
How they are cultivated
These tuberoses are easy to cultivate, and very common in gardens; in general, the large fleshy tuber, often made up of a few cylindrical tubers, gathered in small clusters in winter. After having worked the soil well, mixing fresh soil and manure, prepare a hole about 10-15 cm deep, on the bottom of which the bunch of tubers is spread well, which must then be covered with the prepared soil, then compacting the substrate with the back of a shovel.
For our dahlias we will choose a sunny, or partially shady, place in the ground or in a large vase.
Immediately after placing the dahlias at home we will provide a good watering; subsequently we will continue to water starting from when we will see the first shoots, and only when the ground is well dry: in fact the dahlias they are very afraid of root and collar rots, which develop very easily in constantly moist soil.
To obtain more compact shrubs we can periodically trim the new shoots, so as to favor the development of numerous branches.
Every 10-12 days we remind to provide specific fertilizer for bulbous plants or flowering plants.
Most of the dahlias fear the cold, so if, at the end of flowering, we leave the tubers to stay, it is unlikely that the following season will flourish again, especially if we live in an area with very cold winters.
To preserve the flowers from year to year it is appropriate, as soon as the plant hints at yellowing, remove most of the aerial part and gently dig up the tubers; we provide to rinse them and remove the earth that surrounds them; then let them dry in the sun for a few hours, sprinkle them with a good powder fungicide and place them in boxes filled with perlite or sawdust, in a cool, dry place, and above all dark.
At the end of winter we will be able to recover our dormant tubers and reposition them.
There are some very cold resistant varieties, but let's make sure of this characteristic at the time of purchase; in uncertainty we treat all the dahlias as if they feared the cold.
If we have chosen to plant dahlias of very conspicuous development, let us remember that often the thin stems will not be able to support the larger flowers: therefore we endow every floriferous apex of a solid tutor, which supports it during flowering.
How to multiply dahlias
Most of the species, after flowering, produce small capsules containing seeds; these can be sown the following year, in seedbeds, at the end of winter. In general, however, we will not be sure that plants with flowers identical to those of the mother plant are obtained from the seed, due to the numerous hybridizations to which all the dahlias on the market have been subjected.
To propagate plants of dahlias all with the same identical flowers we will have to divide the bunches of tubers; this can be done before planting the tubers stored for the winter.
The subdivision of dahlias
as we said before, the dahlias are divided according to the shape of the flower; there are about a dozen classes in which dahlias are grouped, within each class we can however subdivide each variety according to size: medium, high and dwarf.
Dahlias with single flowers: the inflorescences are flat, divided into a central disk, around which 8-10 flat ligules develop, in a single sequence.
Dahlias with anemone flowers: flat inflorescences, with an outer edge consisting of flat ligules, usually in 2-3 rows, and in the outer zone characterized by shorter, cylindrical-shaped petals.
Dahlia with collarette: very similar to dahlias with a single flower, they present around the center of the flower a series of ruffled and short petals, forming a sort of collar.
Dahlias with water lily flower: the flat and enlarged inflorescences have very wide petals, reminiscent of large colored water lilies.
Decorative dahlia: very double inflorescences, with curved petals on the margins, to constitute a kind of cylinder.
Ball dahlia: spherical inflorescence.
Dahlia pompon: spherical inflorescences, but smaller than ball dahlias.
Dahlia cactus flower: very double flowers with thin, pointed and arched petals upwards.
Dahlia in semi-cactus flower: very double flowers, with triangular petals, wider at the base, and pointed.
Dalia - Dahlia: Meaning of dahlia
If you particularly love this flower and its beautiful colors there are things you need to know before giving it away. The dahlia is a beautiful flower with beautiful colors that can be given on several occasions. The shades of its petals, always full of color and vivid, always express positive and lively feelings and for this reason the dahlia is used to communicate a series of feelings that we will see together, which are always very positive. The specific meaning of the dahlia has undergone many variations and changes over the years, depending on the period and time. In the 1600s, the century in which this plant arrived in Europe imported from central America, the Dahlia was initially experimented in the kitchen and therefore was not immediately valued as a flower. It took a few years and several culinary experiments ended badly to make those who thought of using it in the kitchen desist and start using this flower only as an ornamental in gardens and flower boxes. Since then the dahlia has been used to express admiration and gratitude, both in a loving and affective environment. Dahlia for instance, is not a flower like the rose that always expresses a close and passionate emotional bond. Dahlia can also be used to express gratitude and affection among people without necessarily having a sentimental bond.