Full-bodied and bright, dahlias are all about the drama. While you may think you’ve seen one dahlia, you’ve seen them all, the term ‘dahlia’ actually applies to 42 species and over two thousand sub-varieties and hybrids. From the exotic Firework dahlia, whose petals stand strong and stoic, to the Bitsy dahlia, whose inner petals cloak their center and softly extend outward layer after layer, the endless variations in size, color, and texture are mind-blowing.
Why so many blooms under one umbrella? It all began in 1789, when botanical explorers traveled to Mexico and collected dahlias from their native land. The original Mexican dahlia spread about 2 inches across with a single set of petals and a central disk or head, similar to a sunflower. The species was transported to Madrid, where horticultural growers discovered dahlias to be natural and eager hybridizers, and soon dahlias were readily adopting many different colors and sizes.