In his classic volume, The Essential Earthman, Henry Mitchell observes of Dahlias, "while none have yet been bred that are quite as large as TV sets or as bright as atom bombs, they will bloom magnificently and conspicuously enough through September and October, when few other things do." One each of the Decorative Form varieties below, all with dinnerplate size blooms. Tubers.'Holland Festival'. Touches of white trim the mellow orange petals of these 8in flowers and add a special glow.'Kelvin Floodlight'. The monster 10-12in flowers of this winner in gardens and shows for over 40 years are a clear, penetrating shade of pale yellow.'Ace Summer Sunset'. Masses of vibrant orange petals lightly touched in yellow. Each flower measures 6-9in across.'Fleurel'. The elegant, 8in white flowers of 'Fleurel' have a touch of cream in their centers.
Please note: 'Holland Festival' has been replaced with 'Tabeijo'. The petals of these majestic, 10in blooms are tinted in shades of pink, purple, and wine. A truly impressive sight when plants are in full bloom.
We can't think of a genus that offers more variety of color and form than Dahlia. These hybrids of species native from Mexico to Colombia hold their display in reserve for mid- to late summer and early fall, when most gardens and most vases are looking a little tired. Planted in 3s and 6s, they serve to fill holes that develop in the perennial border and make excellent potted plants (1 tuber in a 12in pot). Dahlias prefer full sun, though partial shade is acceptable. They like rich soil and even moisture, which means regular watering in areas with hot, dry summers. Dahlias are perennial in Zones 8-10. Where they are not hardy, Dahlias are easily overwintered indoors (Click on "Growing Guide & Tips").