Most gardens are full of color until midsummer, when they begin a long decline culminating with the first autumn frost. The best way to combat this trend is to plant Dahlias. They come into their own in the dog days and mount a dazzling season finale. For your garden's last hurrah, we select one tuber each of five varieties. Each labeled. Exclusive.
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").