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Turquoise Puya

 

The amazing Tree Dahlia (Dahlia imperialis) has been one of my most popular plants.  Even without blooms, it's a dramatic plant, with tall, bamboo-like stems, and lush, tropical foliage.  The flowers sprays of the Tree Dahlia are very large and contain around a dozen flowers, which fortunately point downward!   People are always amazed when they learn this monster is a Dahlia!  This auction is for a rare Double White form!

The original pink form. This is a single plant!

This double-white form has lots of crisp white petals, resembling a big, white pom-pom!  The blooms lack the orange center of the original pink form, because of the fluffy petals and petaloid stamens.  The plant tends to grow a bit shorter than the original form, topping out at about 16 feet tall.  You won't believe how fast this plant grows!  The attractive stems grow to 4 inches thick and are hollow like bamboo.  The stems were actually used by the ancient Aztecs as pipes to carry drinking water!

The huge stems!

The Tree Dahlia is not really a tree of course, but a tuberous perennial, like other dahlias.  This species flowers late in the year, around November/December, and frost during that time may kill the flower buds.  In winter, you may cut  the plant back to the ground and new growth will shoot up in the spring.  The plant looks great growing next to the pink or double-pink Tree Dahlia, or all by itself.

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 -4C) if planted deep and well-mulched.  Or just move the tubers indoors for the winter.  Protection from strong winds is recommended, as the new shoots and flower sprays are fairly delicate.  Either full sun or a half-day of sun is fine.

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Turquoise Puya

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