Dahlia Family: Compositeae. Origin: Central America (Mexico). Flower colour: nearly all colours are available Flowering period: July- October. Planting depth to base of tubers: 5-7 cm above the top of the tuber. Spacing between bulbs: depends on the type of dahlia (average is 5-7 per m). Type of bulb: tuberous root. Light requirements: sunny (at least for a couple of hours AM sun). Landscape uses: border, and depending on the type also in pots and containers. Also as cut flowers from the garden. Together with gladioli, lililes and begonias, the dahlias are one of the most important and popular summer-flowering bulbs. Dahlias are widely cultivated due to the huge range of colours and flower types available, its many uses, and fairly easy cultivation. Some two hundred years ago the first Dahlia arrived in Western Europe from its native habitat in Mexico. Nowadays, it is difficult to find this original dahlia among the current dahlia assortment as flower enthusiasts and growers have done much in the way of developing new types, shapes and colours. Dahlias are not winter hardy and cannot tolerate frost. Many people pot up dahlias indoors 6 weeks prior to planting them outdoors, to get a "jump on the season and thus get earlier blooms. Only plant outdoors after the last spring night frost, In fali, dig up and bring tubers inside before the first fall night frost. When you store the tubers in a cool but frost-free spot you can keep them until re-planting time next spring. You can increase the bushiness of the plant by pinching out the tips of the main stems 3 weeks after planting. Taking off the faded blooms during the summer months will prolong the flowering life. Dahlias are absolutely perfect for borders. Here, often combined with annual plants, most of them also excel due to their extremely long flowering period. The result? A cheerful rainbow of colours. Dahlias can also be assigned a leading role in the perennial border, the tall varieties fitting in perfectly in the back row. While making their presence known when the summer-flowering plants are in full bloom, they are still going strong with the last autumn-flowering asters are in bloom. Borders featuring spring-flowering plants simply cannot do without dahlias. Dahlias are ideal for growing in pots and containers. Especially good for this purpose are the Top- Mix, Border, and Gallery dahlias, as well as all other low-growing dahlias with compact habits. Experimenting with somewhat taller dahlias in larger containers or tubs is also recommended. The bright colours so typical of dahlias fit in well with other annual plants, but one can also choose to let dahlias play the leading role by combining them with less conspicuous plants. Provide proper drainage for the pots. Holes in the bottom and low on the sides, as well as adding a layer of clay granules to the bottom of the pot or container, are musts. Use ordinary potting soil available from any garden centre. Classification: Single-flowering: One ring of florets, central group of disc florets. Heights: 40 - 60 cm. Anemone-flowering: One or more rings of florets, central group of tubular florets. Heights: 60 - 90 cm. Decorative: Fully double, flat florets are broad and blunt-ended. Heights up to 150 cm. Ball: Fully double, ball shaped (often flat), florets are blunt or round ended. Heights up to 120 cm. Pompon: Fully double, globe shaped, involute florets are blunt or round ended. Heights: 80 - 120 cm. Cactus: Fully double, involute florets are narrow and pointed. Heights is about 150 cm. Semi-Cactus: Fully double, pointed florets are involute for half their length or less. Heights: 150 cm. Fringed: Dahlias of all classes, the petals of which are divided at the end into two or more clearly sharp, straight or curved teeth. Heights: up to 150 cm. Topmix: Small flowers (3 - 5 cm). Very suitable for pots and containers. Height is about 35 cm.