One of the gifts in the garden at this time of the year are the many different faces of the Dahlia. From the pompom, spiky cactus like, single faced, double to triple layered face, dwarf to dinner plate – the choices are endless, as it is all a matter of taste and where you want that pop of color in the high heat of the July/August garden.
Hardy in zones 8/9 to 11, the Dahlia can be easily used as a focal point in the garden. One of the best features of this garden beauty – besides the size and brilliant colors – is the fact that the Dahlia has the longest blooming flowers in cultivation today. The American Dahlia Society is quite proud of this fact. Usually purchased as tubers in bags of sawdust or wood shavings in the Spring, these tubers can be planted indoors in pots, until the ground warms up in the Spring. Given the proper drainage in full to partial sun, this bodacious plant brings a lot of added value to the garden. Remember what the height is of the dahlia tuber purchased, as some – like the dinner plate dahlia– will need a sturdy staking and room to grow. I have found that if you pinch back the stem at the node/joint this will encourage full, lush lower growth and abundant bloom.
One other great thing about Dahlias – they do not need a lot of water. If planted in organically rich soil, the need for additional fertilizer will be minimal. I use a drop or two of fish emulsion once a month just for healthier plants, but there have been some years where I have used none and the bloom’s have not been affected at all. If you have a particular Dahlia that you want to grace your garden next year, dig and store them during the winter months and re-pot and replant the next season.
I love Dahlias Darling and most importantly – YOU CAN GROW THAT!by