Dahlia season is upon us and personally we’re in love!
Dahlias flower from midsummer through to fall (or Autumn as we call it) and can blossom in all kinds of weather. The Dahlia is not fussy about what type of soil it grows in, making it a reliable and eye-catching feature in any garden. The Dahlia do require some thought though in planting as several of the species can develop into bushes expanding three or more feet wide and four to five feet high.
The Dahlia originated in Mexico however numerous species can be found in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador & Costa Rica as well as parts of South America where it was introduced. In their native region dahlias were long grown as a food crop, their edible roots being highly cherished. The Aztec people of Central America also used the 20 foot tall tree dahlia’s hollow stems to hold and carry water.
The Dahlia was popularised in Europe over two hundred years ago coming from Mexico to the Botanical Gardens in Madrid towards the end of the eighteenth century. The Dahlia was named by Abbe Cavanille in honour of Andreas Dahl, Swedish scientist come environmentalist. It was not long before the horticultural growers of the day discovered the Dahlia was a natural hybrid and when grown from seed, it readily changed its form and colour, so that today we have a range of Dahlia types that offer something to please everyone. At present there are 35 recognised species in existence.
A few fun facts about the Dahlia:
- It’s the national flower of Mexico
- The Victorians used the Dahlia to represent a lasting bond and commitment between two people
- The more popular symbolism of this flower now is grace. It is a flower that one would give to another in times of pressure, to symbolise the inner strength of that person. It can also symbolise life changes and is often used in positive situations
- Some cultures use it to represent diversity as the petals are multilayered, and no matter what the petal looks like, it fits perfectly with the flower
According to the American Dahlia Society there are 15 official Dahlia colours. Colour has a huge influence on emotion and how we understand the world. This means that when you give someone a flower, the colour of the flower also has significance. This is especially true for dahlias.
The Dahlia flower’s message is:
Celebrate what makes you different. Seek out the new pleasures in life and keep moving through the challenges instead of letting them hold you back.