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Pink Dahlia


Dahlia yellow

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Dahlia flowers range from 2-3 inches across for single flowered forms and up to twice that for the double-flowered forms. Bloom color range includes just about every color except blue.

Dahlias are pretty easy to grow. They like rich, well-drained soil and plenty of sun. They can be planted as seeds but then need at least a year of growth before they will flower. The most common way to plant dahlias is to plant the tubers, either purchased or acquired through dividing the roots of an existing plant. The tubers are planted in spring, about two weeks before the last frost, in trenches, about four inches deep, with the buds pointing up, then covered with about two inches of soil. They will need plenty of water and support (drive a post into the dirt beside the tuber) or else they will break under their own weight. As they grow, add more dirt to the trench until it is level with the ground. When the plant is about one foot high, pinch off the top to encourage lateral growth. The more you pick them, the more blooms they produce.

Dahlias, used to a sunnier climate, are sensitive to frost. After the plants have been destroyed by frost, dig up the tubers on a sunny day, shake off the dirt and store them in a dry, cool place. I must admit that I have never dug up my dahlias (but then the Northwest has relatively mild winters) and they keep producing blooms year after year. This poem written by Edith Matilda Thomas, and printed by Bobby Ward in his book on flower lore, captures both the beauty and the melancholy of this season when the dahlias bloom.

In the language of the flowers, depending on which source you use, the dahlia means gratitude, dignity, pomp, instability and misrepresentation. Geraldine Adamich Laufer provides these even more specific meanings:

double dahlia—participation

single dahlia—good taste

variegated dahlia—I think of you constantly

white dahlia—gratitude to parents

yellow dahlia—"I am happy you love me"


Note: Talking to flowers is dangerous to others health....Note: Talking to flowers is dangerous to others health....Note: Talking to flowers is dangerous to others health....Note: Talking to flowers is dangerous to others health....


American Dahlia Society,
Carbonell, Ann Maria, "From Llorona to G ritona: Coatlicue in Feminist Tales by Viramontes and Cisneros, Melus, Summer 1999,