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What our Customers are Saying

  • "The Dahlia's I bought from you have been absolutely beautiful. Wish I had more room.""
    Howard H., Groveland MA
  • "All of the dahlias that I ordered are blooming beautifully. Gitty Up is my new favorite - interesting color combination and a little blooming machine. Thanks for providing such excellent tubers. A fan for life!"
    Richard P., Cincinnati, OH
  • "I wanted to tell you how wonderfully your dahlias are performing in my garden, despite the fact that they have had less than perfect conditions! I live in humid Georgia and all but the biggest bloomed plants are prolifically producing gorgeous flowers. I'm new to dahlias but they couldn't be easier or more rewarding. Thanks so much--"
    DEbra M., Roopville, GA
  • "Just wanted to say how happy I am with my dahlia order. They are huge, with lots of buds."
    Ione M., Clayton, CA
  • "I now understand why the reputation of Swan Island Dahlia is as it is. Our nation's leading Dahlia growing family stands behind your product like no other company. I am impressed and most pleasantly pleased with your response and actions. You've definitely secured another fan and promoter. Thank you!"
    Clayton S., Friendsville, TN
  • "Hi there. Just wanted to express my gratitude. I ordered Saturday, and received my order Tuesday. Very fast, and the tubers look very high quality."
    Terraka M., Milwaukie, OR
  • "I have been growing Swan Island dahlias for many years, and have many favorites. Too many, if you ask my wife. But I have to tell you that it is a privilege to share the earth with so lovely and perfect a flower as Sheer Heaven. Keep up the good work! You and your flowers bring joy to so many!"
    Craig T., Coeymans Hollow, NY
  • "Thank you for the amazing flowers.They arrived in perfect condition and followed directions for caring for them. They made fabulous arrangements for our party tomorrow evening. I will pass your name around for sure."
    Deb M., Canton, OH
  • "You are the most prompt plant supplier I have every dealt with in my 50+ years of gardening. The tubers look good and are in the ground."
    Annie T., Madison, VA
  • "Thank you. Not only do you have the best dahlia bulbs, you have great service!"
    Lynn K., Erie, PA
  • "Healthy tubers - packed great! Just want to thank you for good service & quality products. Have been customer several years & recommend highly. Thanks!"
    Janet M., Mt. Sterling, OH
  • "Great staff, prompt service, and friendly people. Thanks again"
    Diane M., Carrollton, VA
  • "Thank you very much. As always, your service is exceptionally wonderful as are your dahlias."
    Liz N., Sherwood, O
 

Meet the Dahlias - A History


D. Sorensenii

Very little is known about the dahlia prior to the time of the Aztecs. It is said that the Aztecs used parts of the dahlia for food and medicines, but most of this information cannot be verified since much of the Aztec culture was destroyed following the Spanish Conquest.

In 1570 King Phillip II of Spain sent Francisco Hernandez to Mexico to study the natural resources of the country. He stayed for 7 years and described plants that resemble dahlia species under the names, Acocotli and Cocoxochitl. The first drawings were made of the dahlias by an associate who was traveling with Hernandez and were published in 1651. The next time dahlias appear in history is 1789 , the director of the Botanical Garden at Mexico City sent plant parts to Antonio Jose Cavarilles, on staff at the Royal Gardens of Madrid in Spain. From these he grew and flowered 3 new plant forms, Dahlia pinnata, D. rosea, and D. coccinea. He named the genus after Andreas Dahl, a Swedish botanist. Seed and plant parts from Cavanilles dahlias were sent throughout Europe beginning in the early 1800’s. It was during this time that the scarlet Dahlia coccinea was crossed with a mauve-flowered species, possibly D. pinnata, which ultimately resulted in the first modern dahlia hybrid (Lawrence 1929). The new hybrid was easy to grow and hybridize so they quickly became very popular in European and American gardens. Through the 1800’s and 1900’s thousands of new forms were developed, with 14,000 cultivars recognized by 1936 and in the past century, nearly 50,000 named varieties have been listed in various registers and classification lists. All of these dahlia forms were hybridized from at least two, and possibly all three of the original Dahlia species from Mexico. The genus Dahlia consists of 35 species all of which are found in the highlands of Mexico and Central America. Most species have very restricted ranges and are probably rare. Very few are available to the dahlia grower. This is just a brief history, and there is much more information regarding the development of the modern dahlia. Reference: Encyclopedia of Dahlias, by Bill McClaren.