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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Growing Dahlia from seed

Botanical name:  Dahlia variablis
Common names:  Dahlia, Bloody Mary
Family name: Asteraceae

This is one of the first flowers that I attempted to grow from seed about two years ago.   I planted 12 seeds in a tray of seed raising mix on the table top in my lounge (much to the displeasure of my lovely wife, I wonder if this was due to the other 6 trays there also?) All 12 popped their leafy heads through the soil within 15 days.  Unfortunately once I transplanted them out into the garden, in early spring, only 3 survived.  I learnt my first lesson about spring frosts.  But wow, what a great flower to start with!  The three plants gave an abundance of flowers all through summer!!!  Inspired by Geoff Bryants book “Growing gardens for free” the following autumn/ early winter (after the vegetation had died off) I dug up three tubers from under one of the plants and planted each into different areas in my garden.  Forgetting that I had done so, this summer two of the new tubers sprouted and BINGO, two new plants for free.  I swear these new plants had twice as many flowers as the parent plant!!  The bumblebees loved them!

Side note for the Blooming geeks out there:
Dahlia is named after the Swedish botanist, Andres Dahl.  It was originally pronounced dah-le-a (as Americans still do I believe) and not day-le-a as heard in NZ.

1 comment:

  1. I want some Milkweed in my garden!! Beautiful!