How a hand­ful of tu­bers crossed the At­lantic in a ship’s hold and changed flower his­tory.

Midwest Living - - Here &now Grow -

Cen­turies ago, a few species of dahlia grew wild in Mex­ico. (Aztecs used them for food and medicine.) In 1789, botanists sent dahlia tu­bers to the Royal Gar­dens of Madrid for sci­en­tific study. Two cen­turies of ea­ger hy­bridiza­tion later, gar­den­ers can choose from some 50,000 va­ri­eties—and they all de­scend from those orig­i­nal Mex­i­can an­ces­tors.

great clips The more you har­vest, the more dahlias bloom, so fill vases and dead­head of­ten. Avoid cut­ting un­der mid­day sun.

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