We are already accustomed to the bright variety of these charming beauties in our suburban summer cottages, in gardens, in flower gardens of city parks and squares, or even on the sides of many municipal roads. But taking a closer look, we are all also surprised and delighted with the variety of shapes and colors of these bright and homely warm plants. Maybe that's why we can meet them at almost any village house or fence.
A bit of history
A whole story is connected with the name of the dahlia. It is known that they were grown even by the ancient Aztecs and Mayans for various rituals associated with the worship of the sun. And their hollow stems were used in those ancient times as pipes for supplying water. Dahlias came to Europe at the end of the 16th century from Mexico, and at first as only exotic vegetables. At first, they were named Dahlias in honor of K. Linnaeus's student A. Dahl, but later they were renamed in honor of the professor of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences Johann Gottlieb Georgi into dahlias. In Russia, it was the second name that was fixed, but scholars abroad still more often use the first name - Dahlia x cultorum (Dahlia cultural).
How to understand the modern classification of dahlias?
Currently, there are already tens of thousands of varieties that differ in the height of the bush, the shape and size of the inflorescences, as well as in their appearance and color of the foliage. According to the structure of the inflorescences, their doubleness and the size of the flower, dahlias are divided into 14 groups, the names of which speak for themselves: simple, collar, anemone, peony, nymphaean, cactus, pompon, etc. The color scheme is also very, very impressive - from maroon and even bluish-violet to bright snow-white. Naturally, there are a lot of intermediate colors and halftones, including now very popular multicolor and variegated varieties and varieties.
Since the division of dahlias by color and flower shape is very cumbersome and can take several pages, modern catalogs have somewhat simplified this classification to only 3 parameters - the height of the bush, the size and shape of the flower. In terms of height, it is now customary to divide dahlias into 3 groups: undersized or curb, not exceeding 55-70 cm; high, from 120-125 cm and medium, with a height of 70 to 120 cm.According to the size of the flower, dahlias are divided into large-flowered with a flower diameter of 20 cm, small-flowered, up to 10 cm and medium, with a flower diameter from 10 to 20 cm. flowers are most in demand cactus, pompom and collar, and all the rest are often combined under the general name - decorative.
Most popular curb dahliasAmong the "veterans" of curb dahlias, first of all, I would like to note such famous varieties as pale pink Berliner cleene and salmon Margareth cleene, which means Berlin baby and Baby Margaret, as well as their constant and charming light plum companion - the variety Blusette... All of them are distinguished by moderately bright, almost pastel colors, as well as very friendly and abundant flowering, which often begins in mid-July. And if the rhizomes of these dahlias are pre-grown a little in moderately moist sand or peat, then they can bloom a week or two earlier.
The only thing you need to pay attention to is that all dahlias are afraid of frost, so they should be planted only after the threat of spring return frosts disappears in your region. Or your plantings should be covered from frost with polyethylene or, better, some sufficiently strong non-woven material. Usually, non-germinated rhizomes appear on the surface about a couple of weeks after planting, and germinated - depending on the degree of development of their shoots - from 1 to 6-7 days. All these varieties are in constant demand and are grown in very large quantities in Holland.The average height of all three varieties is approximately 25-40 cm.
The classic undersized border dahlias include the miniature "Funny Guys", as well as a mixture of border dahlias Topmix... All of them will perfectly fit into vast landscape or patterned flower beds on city slopes and parks, along city roads, architectural or historical monuments, and also as small enclosing plantings. They will grow well in floor vases or balcony boxes. All of these varieties, as a rule, are hybrid and with further seed propagation can partially or almost completely lose the distinctive features fixed in them, for example, the presence of terry, a beautiful "collar" around the central part of the flower, a small uniform height of the entire mixture, or some of the rarest colors due to the predominance of predominantly red or burgundy tones in the offspring.
Then a logical question arises: how to get next year the same beautiful "one-year" border dahlias, which were, say, you have this year. There are only two options: either buy the same, albeit expensive, hybrid seeds from a trustworthy supplier every time, or try to save the most interesting specimens that made you admire, or rather their root tubers, until next spring. I'll make a reservation right away that this is not an easy task.
In the first year, almost all one-year-olds have very small rhizomes, but they are quite well preserved during the winter, if you apply very little knowledge and skills for this. I managed to preserve about 75-80% of the annual rootstock of the seedlings until spring. I store them, however, like all other dahlias, in a wrapped (covered with paraffin) or uncoated (which is a little worse) in fairly large cardboard boxes or plastic containers, carefully shifting them with peat chips or sphagnum moss. In the latter case, about once every one and a half to two weeks, the moss should be slightly moistened with a spray bottle to prevent dehydration of the root tubers. In about the same way, after thorough drying and sorting by varieties, I store other, larger rhizomes or individual root tubers. But in the latter case, in March, shoots may appear on the tubers, which must still be regularly removed in the first half of March. And then it all depends on you and on your timing of planting root tubers for germination and on a permanent place in open ground.
By and large, the usual medium-sized "Cheerful Guys", and a mixture of "Cardinal's Children" with much darker burgundy-black foliage, and a new series of dahlias with bronze foliage under the general name Quartz – Rose Quartz, Amber Quartz, Garnet Quartz ... The average height of these mixtures is 45-65 cm, the dahlia of the Quartz series is 60-85 cm. Sometimes in more shady or thickened areas, the height of all the listed varieties and mixtures may be slightly higher. Well, after all, the concept of curbs is different for everyone. Especially tall people and Gullivers. They are great for the yard if you need to cover the bases of shrubs standing in the distance, plant something bright along a wall or fence, or cover unexpectedly bare areas on your site.
These taller, but still curb and very cute dahlias include new or promising varieties such asMary Eveline, Pooh, Edge of Joy, Pink Isa, Windmill, Mystic Beauty, dark red with dark decorative foliage Bishop of Llandafffashionable now motley Fireworks or a dark yellow dahlia with a red center Sunshine, and some others.
I would also like to note the somewhat detached low, but very graceful anemone variety Toto... Its beautiful bushes and flowers will decorate any nearby flower bed or rocky hill. The variety looks good and stylish both in group and solo plantings near garden paths. Surely you will be interested in equally beautiful, but slightly taller varieties. Blue bayou, boogie woogie and Lambada... Their average height is 60-85 cm.
If you are not confused by such a height of the borders, I highly recommend the large-flowered snow-white variety. Fleurel with a flower diameter of more than 25 cm! This variety really has such large flowers and a very low growth for this group of dahlias. In overseas countries, large-flowered dahlias are usually called Dinner plate dahlias, which literally translated from English means "a dahlia the size of a dinner plate." I have a lot of such varieties and they are all, without exception, great! By the way, I highly recommend planting miniature gladioli from the series in front of the taller curb dahlias Glamini (Tom, Zoe, Naomi, Christopher, Emily and others), as well as several large-flowered begonias Non-stop.
What do our beauties love and dislike?
Dahlia is a perennial herbaceous and rather unpretentious plant. They feel great in a sunny place protected from the wind, preferably with fertile and well-permeable soil. They are not frost-resistant and do not winter in the open field in the middle lane. After the first autumn frosts, their tubers are harvested for winter storage. In terms of the duration of flowering, dahlias are practically unmatched. To prolong this magnificent triumph of color and protect them from the first autumn frosts, several of your most expensive varieties and colors can be planted in a growing state in a greenhouse, immediately after collecting the first early vegetables and greens.
Dahlia varieties are so diverse that only one of them can make a separate flower garden or a beautiful flower bed. They can be combined with a variety of perennial and annual flowers, since they get along quite well with any other plants and feel great even in a very rainy and cold summer! The timing of planting and the timing of harvesting dahlia rhizomes in different regions are different, but a general and fairly simple rule can be adherence to the approximate timing of planting potatoes in each of the regions. And the dahlia rhizomes should be removed for storage around the period of harvesting beets, gladioli and carrots.
Features of growing undersized dahlias in containers
Let's make a reservation right away that there are several options for growing your favorites in floor vases and containers. However, these features to one degree or another apply to most other annual or perennial tuberous or bulbous plants. And, basically, they are determined by the future location of your container and the possible frequency of watering the plants planted in them. The general rule for any of the following cases should be that the containers have good drainage at the bottom of the container, sufficient openings to drain excess moisture, and the use of a well-ventilated, or rather, sufficiently breathable substrate.
The substrate, as a first approximation, should contain turf, humus (compost), garden soil and some kind of baking powder, approximately in a ratio of 1: 1: 1: 1 or 1: 2: 1.5: 2.It is clear that this ratio is very arbitrary and very much depends on the composition of your garden land, the composition and structure of the compost, as well as the type and structure of the baking powder used. In the substrate, as well as under the vast majority of other plants, fresh or poorly rotted manure and compost cannot be used. Firstly, because of the possible unpleasant odor and the possible appearance of various unwanted insects, and secondly, because of possible problems with the development of powdery mildew and all kinds of gray and black rot.
As a baking powder, you can use large river and well-washed sand, very fine gravel, vermiculite, perlite, fine expanded clay or a little peat. All of these components can be used individually or together. For drainage, you can and should use larger expanded clay, gravel, broken ceramic pots or small pieces of red brick. It is better not to use gravel, brick and ceramic waste for external balcony and window boxes, because they make them heavier enough.
It is quite obvious that if your pets are supposed to be grown from the outside of balconies or in window boxes, then the latter, from the point of view of the safety of people passing below, should not be very large and heavy. But, at the same time, too small an earthen lump, especially in hot and windy weather, can dry out very quickly. How to deal with this? It's very simple - add a little vermiculite or granular perlite to the container, as well as a little hydrogel granules. These materials to a large extent regulate the water-mineral balance in your container with flowers. At the time of watering or simply excess moisture in the container, they seem to accumulate it, partially absorbing it together with mineral fertilizers. In this case, the hydrogel swells quite strongly, increasing in volume and size. This must be borne in mind when adjusting its consumption per unit of capacity of your substrate. As a rule, the instructions for use contain comprehensive information on the correct consumption and use of the hydrogel, which is colorless or contains various harmless dyes exclusively for decorative purposes. During a drought, the hydrogel and the other materials listed above gradually release the moisture and minerals stored in them to the plants. By the way, expanded clay granules work in the same way.
But the reserves of this moisture are not unlimited and strongly depend on the external conditions (weather, ambient temperature, the presence of wind, the material of the pot or container itself) and the location of your container. If it is made of plastic, it is in partial shade most of the day, it is moderately warm or cloudy, cool outside, then the moisture supply may be enough for several days. Moreover, natural precipitation is not excluded in such weather. If it is located mainly on the sunny side and the weather is warm, hot and practically cloudless, and the flowerpot is made of unpainted ceramics, then the moisture supply may be enough for only a few hours or, at best, for one working day, during which you will be absent. In this case, it is better to shade the containers, remove from the direct sun, or ask someone from your relatives or neighbors to insure you with watering.
The same applies to larger floor vases and containers, if they are in your country house or at a country house, where you are there only occasionally, on weekends. They should add 2-2.5 times more hydrogel than the instructions for use recommend. If you decide to plant dahlias in large floor vases or patio containers that will not be exposed to the sun all the time, then you should not water them too actively. In any case, especially if the containers are suspended, watering should be frequent, but not very abundant, so that the substrate does not wash out through the drainage holes and voids do not form in the container.This is especially important in the first weeks after planting the plants, when their root system has not yet mastered the entire volume of the substrate provided to them.
Just do not forget to add a little of some trustworthy complex granular fertilizer of prolonged action for abundantly flowering plants to the container, or periodically, once every 10-14 days, water your pets with complex fertilizers previously dissolved in irrigation water. From April to early June, there should be more nitrogen and phosphorus in the fertilizer, and from about mid-June to the end of August - early September, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium should be approximately the same amount, or a little more phosphorus and potassium. Naturally, the presence of various trace elements, in addition to chlorine and heavy metals, is very, very welcome. Well, do not forget to periodically cut off the buds that have faded on them for a more abundant flowering of your pets.
How to choose good neighbors for your dahlias
Among the partners of dahlias, flowers with blue colors usually stand out favorably - after all, in the colors of dahlias, there is no blue color at all. Therefore, dahlias are perfectly combined with blue, blue or purple delphiniums, aconites, sage, they look good against the background of low-growing marigolds, multi-colored asters, petunias, ornamental cereals, crown anemones, cellosias and other bright plants. And against the background of ordinary well-mowed and well-groomed lawns, they look no worse! I really hope that you will be interested in and really fall in love with these unusually beautiful plants.