Our Flower of the Month September is a true showstopper. Its colourful petals and often massive flower heads are truly mesmerising. Did you know that The National Garden Bureau has appointed 2019 as the Year of the Dahlia? Read on and learn more about the origin and characteristics of these award-winning flowers.
According to the National Garden Bureau, the genetic source for our modern hybrid Dahlias goes all the way back to the 16th century. Back then, they were found in the mountains of Mexico and Guatemala. This happened about 200 years before the Dahlia eventually came to Europe and got named after Andreas Dahl, a Swedish botanist. Nowadays, there are 42 known Dahlia varieties, each one is available in different colours and sizes.
The size of a Dahlia can range from 2 inches up to 15 inches. The popular large varieties also go by the nickname ‘dinner plate Dahlia’. These impressive flowers are often used as the focal flower in wedding work such as bridal bouquets. The most frequently requested Dahlia for wedding work is probably the gorgeous ‘Café Au Lait’ Dahlia. This multiple award-winning flower features fully double florals and grows up to 10 inches wide. Impressive, right?
An eclectic family
Did you know that the Dahlia is – amongst others – related to the Sunflower, Daisy, Chrysanthemum and Zinnia? You probably wouldn’t expect them all to be one big family, due to their quite different looks. However, when you have a closer look, they do have a few things in common. Take for example their always bright and colourful appearance.
The vase life of Dahlias is usually fairly good: you could enjoy these blooms up to 10 days. Make sure to put them in water as soon as you can, because Dahlias are very thirsty flowers. Cut the stems at an angle and remove all the leaves that will touch or go below water level. Change the water every two days. The blooming period of the Dahlia generally starts in July and ends in October.