Dahlias are magnificent flowers.
Here is the advice on how to care for them to produce magnificent dahlias.
A summary of what there is to know:
Type: bulb plant
Height: 8 to 60 inches (20 to 150 cm) depending on the variety
Exposure: full sun
Soil: enriched ordinary soil
Flowering: June to October
It is important to plant your dahlia correctly, since this step is crucial to your plant’s growth and flowering.
Planting dahlia bulbs:
Preparing cuttings is the simplest, fastest, and most common planting technique to multiply your beautiful dahlia flowers.
- Dahlia bulbs are best planted during the months of April and May, when the last frosts are past.
- Dahlias prefer rather rich and well drained soil.
- Plant them about 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) deep, and space the bulbs 30 to 40 inches (80 to 100 cm) apart, because dahlias require sunlight and like having space to spread out!
If you feel that the soil in your garden is rather poor, enrich it upon planting with organic soil conditioner or compost.
It is perfectly possible to sow dahlias from seed, but this technique requires an extensive know-how that only true experts can master.
- To sow, start with sowing in a tray in early March, repot in April and transplant in the ground in May.
- Propagating through tuber division in spring.
Pruning and caring for dahlias:
Once properly settled in, dahlias require very little care, even though certain practices will help extend or boost blooming.
- Remove wilted flowers regularly (deadheading).
- Once stems are completely wilted, cut them as short as you can.
- Dahlia plants can resist freezing temperatures down to around 14° to 23°F (-5 to 10°C).
In winter, it is important to protect the base of your plants with plant-based mulch.
- If you fear particularly strong freezing:
At the beginning of winter, bring the tubers indoors when the first frost spells hit, and keep them in a dark, dry place until the following spring.
Dahlias are quite resilient, but appreciate being watered during extended dry spells.
Check that dahlia bulbs never get flooded or stand in stagnating water, since this would make them rot.
Well-drained soil guarantees that this kind of mishap doesn’t happen.
- Water dahlias without wetting their leaves. Doing this will help avoid any risk of disease.
- Water preferably in the evening to reduce evaporation and also save water.
How to prolong dahlia blooms from summer to fall:
Dahlia blooms can be extended even until after summer is over, sometimes even until the end of October.
- Add flower plant fertilizer once a week until the end of the blooming season.
- Remove wilted flowers regularly to avoid draining your dahlia and to spur appearance of new flowers.
Dahlias in winter:
Although dahlias can spend the winter in the ground in mild-wintered areas, they can’t survive strong frost spells.
If you live in an area where the weather frequently drops below 23°F (-5°C), bringing your bulbs indoors before it freezes is your only hope.
- Wait for leaves to wither completely, and then cut them 4 inches (10 cm) above ground level.
- Pull out the rhizomes and let them dry off.
- Clean them with a brush.
- Keep them in a cool, dry and dark place.
- Replant them outdoors when the last frosts are past, in spring.
In other regions, protect your tubers with dead leaf mulch for instance.
Learn more about dahlias:
There are cactus and semi-cactus dahlia varieties, pompom or ball dahlias, ornamental dahlias, and collarette dahlias, that provide for dazzlingly varied shapes and colors.
This is a plant that comes in a wide variety of blooms!
Its long flower-bearing stems stand tall and true, and produce beautiful flowers with many colors.
Interesting dahlia cultivars:
Among the many interesting dahlia cultivars, we’ve admired the following: ‘Aspen’, ‘Café au lait’, ‘Berliner kleene’, ‘Margareth kleene’, ‘Arabian night’, ‘bluesette’, ‘Deuil du roi Albert’, ‘Bishop of Llandaff’, dahlia ‘Bonesta’, dahlia ‘Chantal’…
There are many more!
Smart tip about dahlias:
When you’re planting them, add manure to the soil or any type of time-release organic fertilizer to enhance growth and blooming.