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are the darlings of the late summer garedn. Visit any county or
state fair in the autumn and you will likely find dozens of dahlias.
The array of flower colors, sizes and shapes is astounding.
American Dahlia Society now recognizes 18 classifications of flower
form and 15 different colors or color combinations.
are available in almost any color: white, shades of pink, red,
yellow, orange, shades of purple and various combinations of these
colors. Some of the flower forms are truly amazing, from the charming
single, daisy-like flowers to the popular double varieties which
can range from the 2-inch-pompons to 12 inches across. Some of
the most spectacular are the peony and cactus forms.
garden with fertile, well-drained soil and lots of sun can become
a home to dahlias. Since all garden dahlias are hybrids, they
are most often planted as tuberous routs. Seeds are available
for mixed, small-flowered types. Plant the tuberous roots or plants
about the time of the last forst date. Varieties that get taller
than 2 feet may need stakes or other supports.
may languish during the heat of summer, but keep them mulched
and provide plenty of water and they will reward you with a show
from late summer through fall.
tuberous roots will not survive the winter in the ground in most
of the Piedmont region and the western part of the state, so those
of us in these regions must be prepared to dig roots in the fall
to store during the winter. The dahlia is hardy in the Raleigh
area and east to the Coast.
year, the JC Raulston Arboretum (JCRA) devotes one of the annual
trial beds to a single plant that has lots of cultivars. This
year will be the season of the dahlia! Visit the JCRA this summer
to view over 25 different types, from dwarfs to tall and from
green leaves to red leaf forms, each with a character all it's
own. The dahlia is a wonderful ornamental plant high in color
value. Learn more at www.ncsu.edu/jcraulstonarboretum