Dahlias are tender herbaceous perennials native to the cool, moist mountains of Mexico and Central America. They are a member of the aster family, Asteraceae, that also include sunflower yarrow, and lettuce. There are 49 species of dahlia, and most of the garden dahlias are hybrids. Dahlias have tuberous roots and flowerheads of both central disc florets surrounded by ray florets. The flowerhead color varies and maybe any color but black or blue. Plants also vary in the color of their foliage and may be so dark they appear black. There are thousands of varieties of dahlias and they are divided into 14 groups by RHS according to their flower type: Single-flowered dahlias, Anemone-flowered dahlias, Collerette dahlias, Waterlily dahlias, Decorative dahlias, Ball dahlias, Pompom dahlias, Cactus dahlias, Semi Cactus dahlias, Miscellaneous dahlias, Fimbriated dahlias, Single Orchid dahlias, Double Orchid dahlias, and Peony-flowered dahlias. ‘Twynings After Eight’ is in the first group, Single-flowered dahlias with its 3″ wide flowerheads consisting of broad white ray florets surrounding yellow-orange disc florets. The flowers appear from mid-summer to fall and since they are not overly heavy, the plants don’t require staking. ‘Twynings After Eight’ grows 3-4′ tall and has herbaceous stems and very dark leaves that appear almost black. The flowers are beautiful in the border as well as in the vase where they last up to 8 days. The genus name, Dahlia, honor Anders Dahl (1751-1789), Swedish botanist.

Type: Tender herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Single flowerhead with white ray florets surrounding orange-yellow disc florets, from mid summer to frost

Size: 3-4′ H x 1-2′ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Fertile, consistently moist, well drained

Hardiness: Zones 8-11

Care: Plant is a spot sheltered from the wind; cut flowerheads often to encourage blooming; lift tubers in zones 7 and colder, store in cool, frost-free place, and replant in the spring.

Pests and Diseases: Slugs, snails, earwigs, aphids, red spider mites, caspid bug, powdery mildew, grey mould, verticillium wilt, dahlia smut, phytophthora, viruses

Propagation: Tubers

Companion Plants: Rough goldenrod, ‘Rozanne’ crainsbill, Mexican feather grass

Photo Credit: en.Wikipedia

By Karen