If you’re looking to augment your garden with late season blooms at a time when most perennials begin to fade (usually blooming right up until the first frost), consider dahlias. Dahlias come in many colors, shapes, and sizes, and because of their variety, can be incorporated into many garden landscapes. Dahlias are also beautiful in the home, as they make excellent cut flowers.
A member of the aster family, the dahlia is related to the chrysanthemum and sunflower and features eight sets of chromosomes, which allows for their varied flower forms—21 forms, to be exact. The American Dahlia Society recognizes dahlias in three groups according to purpose: garden-type dahlias, exhibition dahlias, and border or container dahlias.
The American Dahlia Society recognizes 15 different colors or color combinations, 21 flower forms, and six sizes of dahlias. Dahlia plants range in height from 15 inches to more than 6 feet tall; and while some dahlia flowers are less than 2 inches wide, others can grow to more than 10 inches in diameter. The dahlias with the largest flowers are often referred to as dinner plate or giant dahlias.
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