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The new mid-size dahlias.

Breaking the dahlia size gap are the mid-size dahlias. These new varieties have nearly as much variation in bloom color and shape as full-size dahlias--but on plants that stay 18 to 24 inches tall.

Blooms average 4 to 6 inches across, and foliage is deep green to mahogany. The plants are sturdy enough to stand on their own without staking.

Varieties available include 'Bon Esprit', with bright pink quilled flowers; 'Border Princess', salmon; 'Little Erna', buttercup yellow; 'Little Tiger', puffball-shaped blooms deep red at the base and shading to pure white at tips; 'Orange Flora', yellow-orange; 'Park Record', intense orange blooms and quilled petals; 'Snow Fairy', pure white; 'Starfire', bright red and loosely quilled; 'Venlo', deep purple.

If you cannot find these at your nursery, tubers are available by mail-order. Request the brochure on low-growing dahlias from Jackson & Perkins, 83A Rose Lane, Medford, Ore. 97501. Or order some of the border dahlias listed in the spring catalog of Van Bourgondien Bros., Box A, Babylon, N.Y. 11702. Be sure to get your order in soon, since supplies are limited.

Plant in a sunny spot in fast-draining soil with plenty of organic matter. Tops of tuber clumps should be 4 to 6 inches below the soil level. Cover tops with 2 to 3 inches of soil, then fill in the hole as the sprout grows. Space clumps 12 to 18 inches apart. For containers, plant one clump in each 12-inch pot.

In cold-winter areas, it's best to dig up and store tubers after foliage dies in the fall. Snip stalks to 5 inches, keep tubers in the ground a week, then gently dig up with a spading fork. Store in a box with sand, peat moss, or vermiculite in a cool dry spot until spring.
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Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:May 1, 1985
Words:294
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