As a cut flower or in the garden, the bold dahlia always makes a statement. The dahlia family boasts thousands of hybrids, making it possible to find the perfect flower for someone special.
Dahlias are quite diverse in their range of sizes, shapes and colors. They are available in numerous varieties, in nearly every color except blue. Despite pop culture references, there is also no black dahlia. Rather, there is a dark burgundy wine color that is referred to as black.
The myth of the black dahlia gained popularity when aspiring actress Elizabeth Short was killed in Los Angeles in 1947. The press dubbed her “The Black Dahlia”, supposedly for her love of black clothing. Since then, the phrase “black dahlia” has had sinister connotations.
Full of variety, dahlia petals may be solid colors, striped, or tipped with contrasting hues. In some instances the individual petals may curve in on themselves, forming tiny tube shapes. The flowers grow between two to twelve inches in diameter, and stalks can grow anywhere from one to six feet tall.
A dahlia may have a single layer of petals or rows of hundreds of petals in each bloom. One method of classifying dahlias is based upon the overall shape of the flower. Some categories include ball, pompom, cactus and waterlily.
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Native to mountainous areas of Central America, the dahlia is the official flower of Mexico. It is a perennial plant in warm climates, and is grown as an annual in more temperate regions. In cooler growing zones, the tubers, or roots, can be dug up as winter approaches and re-planted in the spring.
In the language of flowers, dahlias have a variety of symbolic meanings. Since the Victorian era, they have been said to represent dignity and grace. Dark red or burgundy dahlias imply deceit and betrayal.
Pink and purple dahlias convey a message of kindness. Because they also signify inner strength and elegance, dahlias can be a welcome gift for a friend.
The dahlia has long been utilized to represent unity, making it popular in wedding decor and bridal bouquets. Dahlias are also a thoughtful gift for a newly engaged couple.
One of the few flowers that blooms all throughout the summer, dahlias are an alternate birth flower for the month of August. They are sometimes called Queen of the Autumn Garden, as their brilliant blossoms can continue well into the early fall season.
This diverse family of flowers allows the gift-giver to send the right message for any occasion. Whether for a new friend or a married couple, there is a beautiful dahlia suitable for every event.