Let me ask you something. Do you want to know everything about dahlias? Do you have so many questions regarding Dahlias? Like, when and where to plant dahlias, how to grow dahlias, how to care for dahlias, when and how dahlias bloom, how long dahlias bloom, how to do deadheading, why flowers on dahlias don’t come, etc.
Are you tired of searching these questions in different places? if yes! So you have come to the right place. You will no longer need to go anywhere else. In this article, we have tried to cover almost every aspect related to dahlia and here you will get the answer to every question related to it (written above). Here’s a step-by-step guide in the form of ‘An Ultimate Guide for Dahlias’.
So keep reading to learn more and grow the best dahlias in your garden or indoors.
Like the dahlia, there will be hardly any other flower in the entire flower kingdom that offers a spectacular view. Variations of roses can also appear to fade for a moment in front of dahlias. By growing this flower, you not only get to see the rainbow display, but it also gives happiness and relaxation. Perhaps this is the reason why most gardeners consider their garden incomplete without dahlias. If you have never grown a dahlia before, try growing it once. I can claim that you will not be able to be satisfied by growing only 1-2 dahlias.
Jump on your specific query of Dahlia
If you are in a hurry and want your own specific answer related to dahlias, then go through our in-depth articles. Click on the question below…
- Choosing Dahlias For Planting
- Important Tips Before Planting Dahlias
- Watering Dahlias: Everything You Should Know
- Fertilizing Dahlias: Everything About Dahlia Fertilizer
- How To Grow Dahlias In Containers?
- How to grow dahlias from seed?
- Is It Necessary To Support Dahlias? If Yes, Then How And Why?
- Overwintering Dahlias: Dahlia Care In Winter
- What To Do With Overwintering Dahlia Tubers In The Spring?
- Why Dahlias Not Blooming?
- Causes of Yellowing of Dahlia Leaves
Dahlias belong to the Asteraceae family. Due to the colorful and very beautiful flowers, not everyone can ignore the dahlias. When this flower stays in the garden, the garden looks like heaven. In late summer, dahlias cast their magic for all. Its role in the garden is extraordinary and admirable. Perhaps this is why Mexico declared the dahlia the national flower in 1963.
They are one of the longest-lasting flowers as a cut flower. Thus, it has very few rivals in flowers used for decoration in bouquets. Despite the relatively short vase life, dahlias make gorgeous bouquets. Apart from being used in decoration, it is used in many other ways.
Sometimes some of its varieties are also eaten. Not only that, but dahlias also carry many meanings and symbolism, which makes them even more important. They are popular for their attractive flowers, various sizes, and all kinds of colors (except blue). You can see dahlias planted in most gardens around the world.
About Dahlia Flowers
This flower is a capitulum inflorescence composed of many flowers (or inflorescences) which are arranged peculiarly. The outer ray florets have all the colors of the flowers. In this, the male organs are modified into strap-shaped petals, while the internal disc florets are yellow.
Most dahlia flowers are scentless, but some can have a floral sweet pea scent. Its flavor is grassy and very mild. Most dahlias will begin flowering by mid-summer. Flowers 5 cm to 30 cm in diameter grows on tall stems of erect plants. The many delicate petals enclosing a yellow central core known as the capitulum or flower head form a flower.
Classification of Dahlia Flowers by ADS
The American Dahlia Society (ADS) has classified dahlias into three groups based on size, form or type, and color so that a better classification of dahlias can be done.
This has been done so that you and I do not get confused by the 57,000 registered cultivars around the world and understand their different forms and types better. Let us now know about these three classified groups.
The size of dahlia flowers:
In the first standard of ADS, dahlias are classified according to letter values, with a total of 9 different standards. In these standards, flowers with a diameter of more than 10 inches have been kept first. Whereas flowers with a maximum diameter of 2 inches have been kept at the bottom.
The form of dahlia flowers:
There are 18 classifications of forms recognized by ADS. Under the form, dahlias have been classified keeping in mind the size of the flowers, the structure of the flowers, the arrangement of their petals, etc.
The list is mentioned below…
- Formal Decorative
- Informal Decorative
- Straight Cactus
- Incurved Cactus
- Miniature Ball
- Mignon Single
Apart from this, two dahlia forms with different characteristics from the current classification have also been identified. The first is Novelty Open and the second is Novelty Fully Double.
Colors of Dahlia Flowers:
Dahlia flowers come in almost every color except blue, depending on their variety. They mainly consist of white, yellow, orange, red, pink, and purple colors and you will see different shades of these main colors in its flowers.
Talking about ADS, they recognize 15 different colors or color combinations, which are given below:
- Dark Pink
- Dark Red
- Purple and black
- Light Blend
- Dark Blend
How to choose the right dahlias for your garden
As you can see above dahlias are mainly classified into 3 groups. But does this give a clearer picture to a new gardener (who doesn’t understand dahlias so closely)? Is it easy for them to decide which dahlias they should plant in their garden or pot?
I think your answer would be no! Often a big question for the new gardener is ‘How to choose the right dahlias for your garden?’ Let’s talk about an easy way, which will make it easier for you to choose the right dahlias for your garden.
For ease of selection, we’re dividing dahlias into large, medium, and small groups based on flower size (and plant size). Keeping the size of the plant in mind, you must first think about how you want to use the dahlia.
In other words, you should first decide for what purpose you want to grow dahlias. For example, you want to make a bed. So you should choose small/dwarf varieties. Then you can also include the colors of your choice in the search for a small variety of dahlias.
In this way, the choice of flower variety will be easy. You can read more on the subject. Click the link below…
Want more info! Click here to learn about Choosing Dahlias For Planting
After the above information about dahlia, now let’s talk about its planting. In the process of planting, you have to take care of many things.
First of all, you should know that what is the best time to plant dahlias? After this comes the turn of selecting the planting site. And finally, you prepare the site for planting dahlias. So let’s discuss how to plant dahlias and what we need to do for this.
When to plant dahlias
Dahlias do not tolerate colds. The right time to plant it is after the winter has completely passed. Make sure that no more cold nights come. In answer to the question of when to plant dahlias, you have mainly two options.
First, start early by growing plants indoor
Some gardeners plant the tubers indoors (in containers) a few weeks before winter is completely over. In 2 to 4 weeks, the shoots burst from the tuber and a small plant is ready.
Once the winter has completely passed, these plants are taken out of the containers and planted in the garden.
To do this, tubers are planted indoors in late March or early April. And from the beginning of May, they are planted in the garden. (Note that planting times are pushed forward or backward depending on the location and departure of winter.)
Second, plant tubers directly in the garden
If you’re not too eager to enjoy dahlias and can wait a bit, then you can bypass the process of planting tubers indoors.
Plant the tubers directly in the garden after winter has passed (early May in most places).
Choosing and preparing the planting site
Choosing the right planting site for dahlias becomes important for several reasons. You should already have a good assessment of how you want to see them. Would you like to see it as a border? Or want to enhance the beauty of their garden by planting it behind other flowers. When you’re completely satisfied with visualizing its usage/view, keep a few other things in mind as well.
- Dahlias need abundant sun.
- It needs to be protected from the high-speed wind.
- Growing dahlias as a border in the south or west is a great option.
- You have to support it too.
Want more info! Click here to learn about Important Tips Before Planting Dahlias
How to plant dahlias
After the above steps, now it is the turn to plant dahlias. Once you have selected a variety of dahlias that do well in your area and brought them, choose healthy tubers from them. The outer part of the tuber should be firm with no mildew or rotting spots. There should be at least one eye in every healthy tuber.
After this prepare the garden bed (make the soil conducive to it). The pH level of the soil should be 6.5-7.0. However, they will grow relatively well in any soil as long as it is not wet. But these plants prefer well-drained and acidic loam.
If the soil in your garden is heavy, the soil will need to be lightened and loosened for better drainage. For this, you can add sand, peat moss, old manure, and some fine gravel.
Dahlias demand nutrients and to meet this requirement you should fertilize to increase the porosity and density of nutrients. To grow a healthy dahlia, you can add 1 kg per 9.5 square meters while preparing the soil. In this way, your soil is prepared.
Due to the better life of Dahlia, it becomes very important to prepare the right soil.
There should be a good drainage system in the soil. It is common for tubers to become moldy, rot and die due to wet soil.
Digging pits and planting tubers
Large dahlias are mostly accommodated with larger shrubs. Keeping this in mind, dig a pit 8 to 12 inches deep at a distance of 3 feet or 1 meter and plant the tubers in the pit. Then fill the pit with prepared soil.
Dig a hole about 1 to 3 feet apart for medium dahlias and 12 inches or 1 foot (depending on the variety) for small plants. The pit should be 4 to 6 inches deep. Note that the depth and distance of pits can be slightly more or less depending on the variety.
Then put the tubers in the pit and fill the pot with the prepared mixed soil. Cover the upper part of the soil with a layer of mulch. There will help keep the weeds down. Dahlia’s development starts 14 to 20 days after planting.
Growing and caring for dahlias
Let us tell you that it is considered quite easy to grow and care for as compared to other flowering plants. There is not much demand for dahlias, but there are some demands which need to be fulfilled and a little carelessness will prove fatal to it.
Dahlia is a beautiful flowering plant, which bears flowers of every color except blue. Most gardeners believe that their garden is incomplete without dahlias in the right season. Let us know how it can be grown and then what should be done to take care of it.
Dahlias growing tips
Some gardeners consider planting and growing as part of the same process, and this is true.
But there should not be any difficulty in understanding the new gardeners, so we have described it as two different processes which come one after the other.
The process of growing dahlias begins immediately after the tubers are planted. As soon as you put the tubers in the pit and cover them with soil, it is necessary to carry out the growing process, such as watering, etc. The various parts of the growing process are discussed below…
Once you plant the tubers in the ground, they don’t need water until they sprout. Watering should be avoided till the small shoots of the plant appear on the ground.
When sprouts appear, water deeply with a sprinkler for at least 30 minutes, 2 to 3 times a week. Deep watering is necessary because some large tubers are planted six inches deep and water must reach the root system for them to survive.
During the summer you may need to water more often than before.
Two things are important here. The first is that the soil should never be allowed to dry out and secondly, overwatering can cause the tubers to rot. So you have to water it comparatively.
If you have planted dahlias in pots, then comparatively more regular watering is required.
Want more info! Click here to learn about Watering Dahlias: Everything You Should Know
Generally, the same fertilizer you use for vegetable plants is also good for dahlias. A low nitrogen liquid fertilizer such as 5-10-10 or 10-20-20 would be good.
Fertilizer should be applied every 3 to 4 weeks after the tubers germinate. It is fine to use it from mid-summer to early autumn.
Keep in mind that in no case do you over-fertilize with nitrogen, otherwise, your plant will suffer many damages. Such as weak or rotting tubers, small or very few flowers, and perhaps lots of green growth.
Want more info! Click here to learn about Fertilizing Dahlias: Everything About Dahlia Fertilizer
Like sunflowers, dahlias like plenty of sunlight. If you want to see its full development, plan to plant it in a place where it will get 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. Also, if there is morning sunlight, it will be even better. Good sunlight plays an important role in its better performance and more blooms. If there is a blockage that protects it from sunlight, remove it. If it’s not possible to remove the blockage, you’ll have to be satisfied with slightly limited performance. But the next time you choose a place to plant dahlias, keep this sunlight requirement in mind.
On the other hand, if you have planted some medium or dwarf varieties of dahlias in containers, after planting, it is best to place the container near a south-facing window to meet its sunlight requirements. Or keep these containers at any such place where their need for sunlight can be met.
Often the purpose of planting large-sized dahlia cultivars is to have a large flower swaying beautifully on a stem. This view may seem less attractive when many flowers, small and large, seem to be struggling on the same stem.
If you want to have a single but large flower in one place then you should do disbudding. For this, choose a central flower in the flower cluster (the one at the top). Then remove the 2 small buds next to it.
When you do this process of disbudding, all the energy of the plant is used to increase that one big flower to its maximum extent. Obviously, only a few flowers will be visible on the plant, but whatever flowers are there, they will look very big and attractive.
There is often the problem of dahlias not blooming. One of the main reasons behind this is not deadheading.
Deadheading means removing dead or dried flowers. Even after a flower has faded, the dahlia continues to use its energy to produce seeds in those flowers and thereby neglects the production of new flowers by the plant.
To avoid this, it is considered necessary to keep removing the withered or dead flowers.
The medium-sized varieties of dahlias require pinching to make them bushier. For this, when the plant reaches a height of about 1 foot, pinch the top 3-4 inches of the growing central branch.
By doing this, instead of being tall, it becomes bushy. Its subsidiary stems start spreading around its main stem instead of above and their number increases. In this way, it becomes quite dense.
Smaller varieties (those with an average height of fewer than 1.5 feet) do not require pinching. They are naturally dense. Still, pinch off the center shoot just above the third set of leaves for a more dense shrubby plant.
Conversely, pinching tall varieties can be a wrong decision because they have to reach more than 3 feet high. Often flowers have to be given only after getting their right height.
Dahlia care tips
Along with the process of growing, you also have to take care of dahlias as you do with every plant in your garden.
The more love you show it, the happier it will be and will continue to give you the gift of its precious flowers. With good care, it will not only grow better but will bloom more.
For dahlia care, pay attention to some of the main points below.
- Since dahlia is a demanding plant of nutrition, there is a need to keep the area around it weed-free.
- If you use organic mulch, it will not only help deter weeds but will also conserve moisture (which is an important requirement for dahlias to thrive). Mulching with straw or shredded bark may also be an option.
- Giant dahlias need some kind of support to withstand the summer winds and rain, for which you can use bamboo or thick wooden sticks to support it.
- The flowers of some big dahlias (dinner plate dahlias) are very large and due to their heavyweight, they tend to bend on the ground. As such, they require a support structure.
- You may want to make the dahlia a bushy plant that has a controlled height but a good spread. So, after the plant reaches 15 inches (38 cm.) tall, cut off the top part of the third set of leaves of the top growth shoot. Note: This is to be done only as long as the plants are young. Stop doing this once it is mature. You can do this process for large and medium dahlias. On the other hand, this may not be necessary with smaller varieties, as they are naturally bushy.
- You will need to keep removing older flowers from the plants to encourage the production of more branches and flowers. This way it will also be suitable for indoor flower arrangements.
- Some hybrids that are large flowers require extra care. During the rainy season, water collects in the big flowers of dahlias. When this happens, along with their flowers, there is a danger of breaking the plants. Also, in such weather, due to strong winds, they start trembling and can break.
- When the plant is about 1 foot high, very carefully tie it loosely to the support with the help of a soft thread, soft twine, or nylon stockings.
Can dahlias grow in containers?
Often people do not have a garden and there is very little space for gardening. Due to space constraints, people prefer to grow the best flowers on their windowsills, porches, or patios through container gardening.
In whatever space there can be gardening inside the house, people grow different types of flowers and plants and decorate them beautifully. But what about dahlias? This beautiful flower spreads its shade in the garden. But ‘Can dahlias grow in containers?’
So the answer is “yes”. Apart from the garden, these adorable flowers drench the beauty inside the house as well. So let’s learn how to grow dahlias in containers?…
How to grow dahlias in containers?
Like some selected flowers, dahlias are the perfect choice for container growing. Container-grown dahlias require much less care than garden dahlias.
Small/dwarf varieties of dahlias are generally considered suitable for container growing. These smaller varieties grow to a lower height and require less care.
- Pick your favorite dahlias and buy their tubers. Then take a pot at least 12 inches in diameter and at least 12 inches deep (or larger) and make a good drainage system in it.
- Now fill the container with 3 parts to 1 part potting mix and 2 parts garden soil. Fill the container halfway with this mixture, using the bark and perlite to loosen it slightly. Keeping the tuber horizontal, sit in such a way that its eye is looking upwards. Then fill the container with soil mixture leaving 1 inch deep from the top.
- Most dahlia varieties need support in containers as well. So do the arrangement for that.
- After planting the tubers, you should give plenty of water at a time. Keep watering it according to the season. Avoid getting containers too wet or too dry.
- Try to get 12 hours of direct sunlight for container-grown dahlias. If you do not have such a place, the containers are in a place where they can get a few hours of sunlight. And lastly, you can also take the help of grow light set when sunlight is not available.
- Maybe you want more flowers. Then you can give container dahlias a little liquid fertilizer once or twice a month. The amount of nitrogen in the fertilizer should be very less.
Want more info! Click here to learn about How To Grow Dahlias In Containers?
How to grow dahlias from seed
Beautiful dahlias are usually grown from tubers. But tubers are not the only way to grow this flower. We can also grow dahlias from dahlia seeds. The process of growing dahlias from seeds is easy. But before you get excited about this method, you need to consider a few things.
- Growing dahlias from seed is a slightly time-consuming process. You will need to have some patience.
- It may take a few seasons for tubers and plants to fully develop from seed.
- The tubers will develop into plants in the first season, but may not show you the same performance as the tubers.
- You may have to be content with slightly fewer flowers for the first few seasons.
- • Until the flowers grow, no one can tell whether the color, form, and shape of the flowers will be the same or different from their parents.
- If the flowers were different from their parent plant, how different would they be?
- In most cases, dahlias grown from seed differ from their parents in some way or the other.
Whatever it is, the process is fun and worth a try for garden lovers. You have the opportunity to grow a new variety different from the ones grown so far. It is difficult to say what amazing results nature can give. So what are your thoughts about this?
Be sure to read our in-depth article on ‘How to grow dahlias from seed?’ Because here you will get answers to various questions on this topic, which you will definitely want to know!
Want more info! Click here to learn about How to grow dahlias from seed?
Under Growing and caring for dahlias, you have to pay attention to one more thing and that is to support the dahlias. Almost all dahlias need sturdy support other than bedding and container varieties. Because its stems are brittle.
- These supports encourage the plant to grow straight up rather than down or diagonally.
- Support is useful in bad weather, to protect against strong winds and storms, etc.
- Finally, as the plant matures, the weight of its large flowers and leaves increases the risk of stem breakage. Here also ‘support’ proves to be helpful for the plant.
Looking at the above benefits, now you must have understood that it is very important to support dahlias. But now the question comes that what is the right way to give support. In addition, there are many other questions worth considering. like
- What is the right time to put the peg?
- Supporting a dahlia plant is best either individually or in groups!
- What and how to use to give support?
Want more info! Click here to learn about Is It Necessary To Support Dahlias? If Yes, Then How And Why?
Harvesting for dahlias
Till now you have learned about many things related to the dahlia flower. Like the process of planting it, growing it, and taking care of it. Also, till now we have seen it blooming and beautifying in the garden and pots.
But dahlia harvesting is also a very interesting and important part. Under this, we will learn about using it as a cut flower as well as taking care of it in winter. So let’s find out…
Using dahlias as a cut flower
Dahlia has got special fame all over the world for its cut flower. Many of its varieties have been developed for cut flowers only. This flower looks great in a bouquet. Not only this, there are very few flowers that stay in the form of cut flowers for a long time. And the dahlia is one of them. One of the specialties of this flower is that the more you cut it, the more it will bloom.
To use dahlias as a cut flower, you need to cut off the flowering stem early in the morning (before the heat is up). Immediately after cutting, put them in a pot of cold water. After some time remove the lower leaves. Now take a vase, fill it with water, and put cut flowers.
Place the vase anywhere according to the decoration inside the house. You just have to take care that direct sunlight does not fall on it. If possible change the water daily. In this way, the dahlia cut flower in a vase will keep giving beauty to your home for about a week.
Dahlias are famous all over the world for their wonderful flowers. These keep the garden alive all summer long. But winter is its enemy and as soon as this season comes, trouble starts for this flower. Being a tender annual, it is not able to withstand the cold. The sad part is that in most regions dahlias die at the first strong frost. That’s why dahlias have to overwinter to protect them in winter.
There are many benefits to overwintering dahlias. As such
- You benefit by pre-marking the flowers of your choice. When digging tubers, you can take special care of them and protect them from damage.
- You’ll know in advance which tubers have performed well and which ones will continue to produce beautiful flowers.
- You won’t have to spend money over and over again to buy new tubers. Because you can enjoy flowers for years from a single tuber.
Not that you have to overwinter dahlias everywhere. This process becomes very important or unnecessary in different hardiness zones.
Want more info! Click here to learn about Overwintering Dahlias: Dahlia Care In Winter
What to do with overwintering dahlia tubers in spring?
There is only one purpose for overwintering dahlia tubers and that is to grow flowers from those tubers in the spring. The process of growing flowers from overwintering dahlia tubers consists of several stages. And this process begins in early spring. It consists of the following steps…
- Getting the tubers out of the box or basket in early spring
- Then checking them that there is no rot or moss
- Too wet or too dry tubers are not good. If so, then you have to take proper measures for this.
- Dividing dahlia tubers before planting
- Some other things to note before planting tubers
Want more info! Click here to learn about What To Do With Overwintering Dahlia Tubers In The Spring?
Common problems of dahlias
This mesmerizing flower also has to face many problems. Now, we are going to talk about some of the problems that can commonly occur with dahlias. This may worry the new gardener. But the reality is that you can get your dahlias out of trouble with just a little care. Just need to understand the main reason behind the problem.
Why dahlias are not blooming
Another issue for dahlias is that the dahlias are not blooming. This is a serious problem. Why do we grow dahlias – for their flowers. We feel bad seeing dahlias without flowers.
There can be many reasons for dahlias not blooming and here we are going to discuss these problems as well as their solutions. If there are ideal conditions, dahlias will rarely flower. Under ideal circumstances, these things come…
- The soil should be frost-free, which means soil at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The fertility of the soil should be good.
- There should be a good drainage system.
- The soil should not be too hard.
- Must be more acidic than basic.
- It should be more acidic than basic.
- It needs 6-8 hours of sunlight and morning is much better for it.
- It is necessary to plant them in the garden by giving them enough space. You can decide on the basis of variety and species.
Observe your dahlias once you become familiar with the above scenario. Then you can find out why your dahlias are not performing well. When there are ideal conditions, dahlias give flowers naturally. Not flowering even when all the conditions are ideal means some other factor is affecting it.
Do read our in-depth article on the subject to know more about those factors and their solutions.
Want more info! Click here to learn about Why Dahlias Not Blooming?
Causes of Yellowing of Dahlia Leaves
Sometimes you may see dahlia leaves turning yellow. Not only does it look unpleasant, but it also means that your dahlia is facing some problems.
In such a situation, first, you have to understand why this is happening, then you have to solve that problem too. These can be some of the reasons why dahlia leaves turn yellow.
- Poor or unfavorable soil
- Lack of water and sunlight
Make sure to read our in-depth article about the Causes of Yellowing of Dahlia Leaves. Here you will know about what could be the reason behind the yellowing of dahlia leaves.
Want more info! Click here to learn about Causes of Yellowing of Dahlia Leaves
Final words for An Ultimate Guide for Dahlias
The variety of forms, colors, and sizes of dahlias make it special. Dahlias are such beautiful and attractive flowers that many dedicated conventions and competitions are held for them. In some places, the dahlia flower exhibition is also organized.
Dahlias provide a very soothing sensation. It is grown for its endless properties. There are many such flowers that demand a lot of care but the behavior of dahlias is opposite them. You can easily grow it even with a little care. But it is necessary to have proper knowledge about growing and caring for it.
Above you learned about knowing about it, from choosing to planting, growing, caring for it, and solving many problems related to it. Keeping this information in mind, grow amazing dahlias and keep your garden full of colors.
I hope you got some help from this article. We will continue to give you similar information related to flowers and shrubs. I hope you will return soon.
Happy Gardening! We look forward to your return…