Origin: Mexico and Guatemala
Uses: Dahlias can be used for dyeing — all dahlias produce warm yellows and oranges with an alum mordant and greens with iron mordants. Dyeing not your game? Dahlias are also being bred in various shapes and colors for perking up your garden.
Types: Single, double, pompon, cactus, waterlily, peony-flowered and
Fun Fact: The Aztecs used the tree dahlia (D. imperialis) for hauling water, as the stems of these plants could grow over 20 feet tall. The Aztec name for “tree dahlias” was “acocotli,” or water cane.
A Bit of History: While conquering the Aztec nation, 16th-century Spanish conquistadors pursued side explorations that led to the discovery of the New World plant life, but it took about 200 years before dahlia seeds, roots and plants found their way to Spain and other parts of Europe. Initial breeders of dahlias were interested in it as a food source, because the blooms at that time were not noteworthy.
Breeders: Longfield Gardens, Brent and Becky’s, Jung Seed, Garden Trends, Harris Seeds, American Meadows, PW, Burpee, Park Seed, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Select Seeds, Reimer Seeds
Source: The National Garden Bureau