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Dahlia campanulata

This is a close look at the beautiful Dahlia campanulata - the Weeping Tree Dahlia.  This is a new species that was discovered in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.  Its big, white & purple blooms dangle gracefully like silk handkerchiefs!  At over 7 inches across, the flowers may be the largest of all naturally-occurring Dahlia species.  It is related to the gigantic Tree Dahlia, although it doesn't grow quite as large - about 8 feet tall.  This is a very hard-to-find plant.  I don't know anyone else in the US offering it online.

Dahlia campanulata

Dahlia campanulata forms enormous tubers that can grow 1.5 feet long.  The stems that emerge are arching and bamboo-like, similar to the more common Tree Dahlia.  The plant blooms in September in the wild, but here in San Francisco, it's more like October or early November.  The blossoms are pure white with lovely purple centers, which become bright orange after the petals drop.  The plant sheds all of its branches after flowering, and new growth sprouts from the tubers in the Spring.

Dahlia campanulata - Tree Dahlia

Dahlia campanulata was found at about 6000 feet elevation in Mexico, where the climate is mild all year, and nights are cool.  There are reports of it handling temperatures in the 90s (35 degrees C), but it can occasionally perish in consistently hot conditions, particularly if nights are warm.  So consider it experimental in warmer climates like the southern U.S.  The flower clusters should be protected from frost in autumn.  The plant seems to do best in half sun, with some protection from strong afternoon sun.  The branches may need staking in windy areas to prevent breaking.  It likes moist, well-draining soil.  In areas prone to hard frosts, move the tubers to a cool spot indoors and keep them relatively dry until Spring.

Dahlia campanulata - Tree Dahlia

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