Growing Dahlia in Your Home Garden


About Dahlia Flowers

Dahlias, part of the Asteraceae family, are stunning flowers available in a myriad of colors like white, yellow, pink, red, lavender, and more. Their sizes vary from small 2-inch pompoms to massive 15-inch “dinner plates,” and most grow 4 to 5 feet tall. These tuberous plants are typically planted in late spring and bloom from midsummer until the first autumn frosts. They excel in border gardens and serve as lovely cut flowers.

Planting Dahlias

For optimal growth, dahlias need 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily, preferably in the morning, and protection from wind. They thrive in rich, well-draining soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. Plant the tubers when the soil reaches 60ºF and any frost danger has passed, spacing them according to their mature size. Use compost and bonemeal in the planting hole for better growth.

Dahlia Flower

How to Plant Dahlias

Choose healthy tubers with pink “eyes” or slight green growth. Set larger dahlias and those for cut flowers in a dedicated plot. Plant medium to low-height dahlias among other summer flowers, and the smallest ones, grown from seed, closer together. Don’t water immediately after planting to prevent rot, and avoid mulch.

Growing Dahlias in Containers

Medium to dwarf dahlias can grow in containers with a soilless mix and moisture-retaining crystals. Ensure adequate drainage and don't overwater. Fertilize regularly through summer.

Growing Dahlias

Once established, water dahlias 2 or 3 times a week, more in hot climates. Use a low-nitrogen liquid fertilizer every 3 to 4 weeks. Pinch out the center branch at 1 foot tall for bushier plants. Disbud for larger flowers and deadhead to prolong blooming.

Some popular dahlias include ‘Bishop of Llandaff’, ‘Miss Rose Fletcher’, ‘Bonne Esperance’, ‘Kidd’s Climax’, and ‘Jersey’s Beauty’. The National Dahlia Society offers detailed information on these varieties.

Dahlia Plant

Harvesting Dahlias

Cut dahlias in the morning for bouquets, and keep them in cool water. Vase life lasts about 7 days.

Storing Dahlia Tubers

In colder regions, dig up and store tubers in late fall. Keep them in a dry, frost-free space. Check and remove any rotting tubers over winter.

Dahlia Wit and Wisdom

Named after botanist Anders Dahl, dahlias are edible and historically significant. They were used to hide the “shins” of hollyhocks and praised in poetry by Lord Holland.

Pests and Diseases

Watch out for diseases like Botrytis blight and pests such as aphids and caterpillars.

Are Dahlias Perennials or Annuals?

Dahlias are tender perennials in warm climates but treated as annuals in colder zones. In some regions, tubers can survive winter in the ground.

This comprehensive guide helps you learn all about planting, growing, and caring for beautiful dahlias, ensuring a vibrant and flourishing garden.

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