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Image The ABCs of Dahlia Lingo: Demystifying the Classification of Dahlias
By Annie P on June 9, 2010

A-B-FD-ID-O! Have you ever wondered about the mystifying barrage of alphabet soup following dahlia names? They're not a secret code. Not new fangled grades for fabulous flowers. They're the dahlia classification system short hand intended to identify what size, form, and color of flower to expect when your dahlias bloom. Like most things, using the classification system gets easier with practice. L-E-A-R-N about the C-L-A-S-S-I-F-I-C-A-T-I-O-N of dahlias here and solve the mystery of the alphabet soup.

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Jun 9, 2010 3:41 PM CST
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR zone 8
I sure wish the had a flip flopping emoticon here. I would be using it. Annie this is an awesome article for a beginner like me to start learning about dahlias. You did it all, stunning photos, short informative paragraphs, and the links provided just leads a person on.
WOW, loved it all. Really love the photo of the Juul's Allstar- an example of the star-like orchid bloom, that one takes my breath away. Lovey dubby
Jun 9, 2010 4:14 PM CST
Name: Annie
Western WA Zone USDA 7b
Relax. It's only a small setback.
Thank you! I think it's best that I lost half of my prior work- would have been a looooong article! The temptation to go on and on about my favorite flowers is overwhelming Drooling The orchids are so cute and so distinct from the average 'roundish' dahlia. They hold up well enough at home so I keep one or two plants around every year, but the florists are such brutes- they manhandle the flowers as if they're made of plastic. So, they don't care for the delicate orchids which don't take kindly to their rough handling. But on a plant or in a vase, they are truly stars!

Here's another popular one- Honka. Brings a smile just to walk past the plant AND, for every bloom you see, I've nipped off two others. So you can imagine the galaxy on display if all buds were left to develop.

Thanks again for your help and guidance!

Thumbnail by Poochella

Jun 13, 2010 12:25 PM CST
Name: Christine
Northeast Texas, Zone 7b
I had no idea there were so many beautiful flowers with the name "Dahlia."

I look forward to more articles showing and telling your favorites. They are beautiful.

Thank you for the informative and eyeopening article! I enjoyed learning about dahlias.
Shine Your Light

Jun 13, 2010 1:20 PM CST
Name: Eric DeWitt
Mountainair, NM
Get ready once they start blooming over here I'm going to be taking up quite a bit of disk space for Cubits' server with pictures I take.
Jun 13, 2010 2:22 PM CST
Name: Kate
Sammamish, WA
LOL - how long before the Seattle area sees Dahlia blooms - August or maybe September? And then it's a race between blooms opening & rain.

I've found that the orchid types handle the poor weather here fairly well, and will expand that category to grow.
Jun 14, 2010 10:35 AM CST
Name: Annie
Western WA Zone USDA 7b
Relax. It's only a small setback.
Thanks for your comments, Christine. I think it's the sheer variety of dahlias that makes them so appealing, and adaptable to the garden, deck or patio. They can be grown in parts of Texas, you know. Smiling

Eric, I hope your plants are off to a better start than here in WA. We'll be ready for any and all photos when they bloom: GB of dahlias- bring 'em on Hurray! Cue "Rocky" theme music here....!

Kate, after this sorry excuse for a Spring, I'm pulling for a block buster July followed by 8-10 weeks of glorious blooms in August, September, and lasting into October. Fingers crossed.
Jun 14, 2010 11:28 AM CST
Name: Eric DeWitt
Mountainair, NM
Fortunately nearly all of my stuff has sprouted and I just finished moving a sprinkler line over about 5ft. to create a new flower bed. I've got 3 tubers left that need to sprout so I can plant them. Lady Liberty, Platinum Blonde, and Shinkyoku are all giving me problems they've got eyes but are VERY slow to sprout. Junkyard Dog, White Perfection, and Pooh don't have an visible eyes and I'm almost certain they'll never produce any. Not a bad ratio for the 60+ dahlias I've got potted. I think I've planted about 7 so far. It's gonna be a wall of dahlias in my front yard and I'll probably end up having to make room in the back as well.
Jun 14, 2010 12:30 PM CST
Name: Annie
Western WA Zone USDA 7b
Relax. It's only a small setback.
The Great Wall of Dahlias.... I can envision it now. I better get the "ooh and ahh" emoticon ready. Can't wait to see the transformation and how all your hard prep work pays off. I hope you take before-and-after shots.

It seems like the large ones are more painfully slow to sprout. Not always, but often. I've wanted to try Edna C for years and finally got it from Accent, with an eye, but it's just sitting there. Ditto for Vassio Megos from Swan Island. I don't see an eye on that, but I'm watching daily.

Bummer on Platinum Blonde- I like the looks of that one. There's always next year...
Jun 14, 2010 1:53 PM CST
Name: Eric DeWitt
Mountainair, NM
HIllcrest Kismet is also taking it's merry time growing, I've got a sprout just barely coming out of the soil.
Jun 18, 2010 9:06 AM CST
Name: Carrie Ferhatovic
Pinellas Park, FL
Thanks-this was a helpful article. While I had learned the forms of the ones I most like, I was having hard time learning the O's, Ns, NX's, etc. If they aren't my favorite, I don't usually learn them! But, since they are in the dahlia group, I of course, respect them. When I see Honka as a bush, though, it is a cheerful sprite! More more! (orchid pics I mean)
Jun 18, 2010 9:35 AM CST
Name: Annie
Western WA Zone USDA 7b
Relax. It's only a small setback.
Yah, HK can be and IS fairly slow, but once it's up, it's worth the wait. I hope you get to see it.

Edna C has officially turned into trash :( It's rooted in a pot, but where the eye was has dried up and looks abandoned and lifeless. Sigh.

There are people who study forms and argue over precise petal structure to get dahlias into a mutually agreed upon form classification. I understand it needs to be done, but I wouldn't make it long among them, my motto in such matters mostly being "whatever." Big Grin

Carrie, I've only grown about 4 orchids Honka, K K K Katie (below) a bright red, Juul's All Star in the article and I got one from Dan's this year, "Willie Willie," but sent it to my niece to try. Orchids are cute little monsters!

Thumbnail by Poochella

Jun 18, 2010 12:57 PM CST
Name: Eric DeWitt
Mountainair, NM
Edna C for me is the only one that is looking pretty bad right now, the leaves are wilting up and the soil moisture in the pot is the same of all the other dahlias. Not sure what to do. I'm confused as to if I'm overwatering it or not watering it enough. Any advice?
[Last edited Jun 18, 2010 12:57 PM CST]
Quote | Post #275084 (12)
Jun 18, 2010 2:02 PM CST
Name: Annie
Western WA Zone USDA 7b
Relax. It's only a small setback.
9 times out of 10, the wilting on a young plant is caused by a rotting tuber. 9 times out of ten I'll think- "oh it needs more water" when that's the last thing it needs.

Let it dry out a couple days and even set it out of direct sun. If it continues to look frumpy and sad, then I'd gently remove it from the pot, (try to keep the roots intact) and see how the tuber feels. If there's obvious mush, trim it off to healthy tissue, lysol or sulphur the end, let it dry to scab over a bit and repot. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Good luck!

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