Dahlia (Dahlia sp.) is Mexico’s national flower, a genus of bushy, tuberous plants, native to Mexico and Central America, in the same family as daisies, sunflowers and chrysanthemums. A few weeks ago, I shared a pic of the first dahlia in my garden:
Since then, more plants have bloomed; the second flower was the dark burgundy one, pictured at the top of this post; then I spotted a creamy yellow one, as seen below, with a bud in the foreground:
The bud also opened to reveal another beautiful flower:
And a second bright magenta blossom appeared last week:
Dahlias grow the best in full sun, as perennials in warm regions, and as annuals in temperate climates; tubers may be dug in the fall and kept in a cool spot above freezing temperatures, avoiding detriment during winter, and then, replanted in spring. All the flowers shown above developed from plants I started from seed indoors last spring. Since this is my first year growing dahlias, I also got a few crowns with tubers at a gardening centre. I reported their progress back in June, after I had transplanted my seedlings outdoors (photo below, left), and planted the crowns directly in the ground (photo below, right):
Both batches have grown well; the crowns did not look strong at first, but recovered quickly, eventually catching up with the seedlings, in terms of height and fullness. In the photos below, photos taken on the same day of a plant from seed (left) and one from crown (right):
The crowns have been slower in terms of budding, with the first fully opened flower popping up just a couple of days ago, in a pretty coral tone:
In addition to the beauty of these flowers, they are edible, as well as their tubers; some medicinal applications have been explored, as well, with scientists finding evidence of a whole buffet of good properties, such as: inulin content for diabetes treatment, and renal functionality; fibre for weight and cholesterol levels control; and aid in mineral absorption for the prevention of osteoporosis. Dahlia tubers have been used in Mexico as a food source since pre-Hispanic times, both from gatherings in the wild, and from cultivated fields; they have a mild taste, and are crunchy, both when eaten raw or cooked, with a texture similar to water chestnuts. The Mexica (Aztec) also used the hollow stems as water pipes, which is likely the reason for their Nahuatl name, Cocoxochitl – Cane flower. Stay tuned for a recipe with dahlia in my next post, inspired by two Mexican towns in the state of Tlaxcala.
I am joining Cee’s Flower of the Day (FOTD) Challenge for August 26, 2022.