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Cosmos x Dahlia 'Mexican Black'

Apparently from a wild collection in Mexico, this has very dark black-red, slightly scented flowers with crinkled petals on stems to about 90cm above deep green divided foliage. Treat as a Dahlia and leave in with a mulch or dig up and store over winter.

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Dahlia imperialis

The giant mother of all Dahlia, reaching up to about 4m in suitable conditions before flowering, though the large, pale-pink, single flowers are produced very late, in early winter, so frost free early winter conditions are needed to see them. Very hardy if mulched well, though in my experience doesn't really need it. Huge foliage and thick stems a joy in themselves. This clone has flowered outside near here.

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Dahlia merckii compact

A dwarf version of this fairly hardy species with a different growth habit. There are many more shoots and they're less straggly. Simple, pinky-lilac flowers on stems to 75cm in late summer. Easy to grow in well drained soil in sun. Mulch over in winter to be safe, though very tough.

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Dahlia rudis

Derived from plants we found in Mexico, this very uncommon species reaches about 2m on thick black-purple stems, with large green foliage topped by fairly large purple pink single flowers in autumn.

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Smallanthus sonchifolia 'Red China'

Yakon. A big leafy Andean member of the Aster family, producing striking pairs of opposite, dark tinted foliage up the 2m stems. Large leaves are shaped roughly like an arrowhead, with striking veining and a winged petiole, adding an exotic element to any planting. Purple tubers are sweet and edible having an extremely low glycaemic index and are easy to juice. Lift like a Dahlia for winter.

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Smallanthus sonchifolia 'Red China'

Yakon. A big leafy Andean member of the Aster family, producing striking pairs of opposite, dark tinted foliage up the 2m stems. Large leaves are shaped roughly like an arrowhead, with striking veining and a winged petiole, adding an exotic element to any planting. Purple tubers are sweet and edible and extremely low on the glycaemic index and are easy to juice. Lift like a Dahlia for winter.

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