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Turquoise Puya

Tree Dahlia 

The amazing Tree Dahlia (Dahlia imperialis) has been one of my most popular plants, reaching heights of 16 feet tall!  Shown here is an extremely rare deep purple form! (photos 1 & 3)  Even without blooms it's a dramatic plant, with thick, bamboo-like stems, and lush, tropical foliage.  People are always amazed when they learn this monster is a Dahlia!

Dahlia Imperialis

The big flower sprays of the Tree Dahlia are 2 to 3 feet across and contain 1 to 2 dozen flowers, which fortunately point downward!  This purple form is a vivid lavender-violet, and is unusually rich in color for the species.  The photos here are not color-enhanced -- they are actually this beautiful!  The bright orange centers add a nice finishing touch to the blooms.

Tree Dahlia

The original pink form. This is a single plant!

The Tree Dahlia is not really a tree of course, but a tuberous perennial, like other dahlias.  This one flowers late in the year, around late November or early December, so frost may kill the flowers in some areas.  After flowering, you may cut the plant back to the ground, and new growth will shoot up in the spring.  You won't believe how fast this plant grows!  The attractive stems grow to 4 inches thick and are hollow like bamboo.

Dahlia imperialis

The huge stems!

The Tree Dahlia will flower in Zones 8 to 10, although it's known to flower in Zone 7b in warmer years.  The tubers are said to be hardy to 20-25 degrees F (-7 to -4 degrees C) if well-mulched.  Or just move the tubers indoors for the winter.  Either full sun or a half-day of sun is fine.  Protection from strong winds is recommended, as the young shoots and flower sprays are fairly brittle.

Dahlia Imperialis

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