Proper Dahlia flower garden care can help produce beautiful blossoms that also make long-lasting cut flowers. Dahlias are perfect plants for gardens and landscapes. They produce a wide range of flowers from huge plate-sized flowers to small pretty flowers. The flowers are available in a wide selection of colors. You can get them in different shades of yellow, white, pink, purple, and orange Dahlias can be fussy plants to establish in the garden especially when they are not given the right conditions.
Dahlia Flower Garden Growing and Care
There are over 20,000 cultivars of Dahlia flowers. The flowers have been bred to increase their reliability and make them easy to grow. Dahlias are native to Central America. The flowers are grown from tubers. The tubers are tender and sensitive to cold weather and frost. If you grow dahlias you have to dig the tubers up and store them or leave them out and replace them next season.
|Flowers||Many colors and shades|
|Propagation||Tubers, cuttings, seeds|
Dahlia Varieties and Types
There are many varieties of dahlias that you can include in your garden as well as use for designing landscapes and yards. Some of the common varieties include Serenade, ideal for container planting and produces yellow flowers. Serkan variety which produces lilac petaled blooms that are about 4 inches wide. Other choices to consider include Waterlily, HS Flame, Cactus, Pompom, Ball, and Bodacious dahlias.
The ideal light requirements for dahlias are about five hours or more of sun each day. When choosing a location, ensure it receives full light for your dahlias to do well. If you are growing them in a very hot climate, such as zones 8 and higher, the plants will do better if they get some afternoon shade.
For best results establish your Dahlia flower garden in a location with well-drained rich soils. The ideal pH for the flowers is about 6.5. If you have rocky soil, you can improve it by adding small amounts of compost or organic soil enhancers at a one-to-one ratio.
Planting Dahlias in Pots
You can establish Dahlias in pots indoors as a way of getting a head start before the growing season. The tubers should be planted in late spring. Establishing dahlias in pots can be tricky because you will need lots of space and large pots. After establishing dahlias in pots, you can then transplant them outdoor when the danger of frost is over.
If you want to grow the Dahlias in pots throughout, you should select the variety very carefully. One of the best varieties for container planting is Serenade.
Plant about 2-3 tubers per container. The container should also be large with a diameter of about 18 inches.
Planting Dahlias in Gardens
Most people prefer planting dahlia tubers directly in the garden. This method is easier as the dahlias will not require any transplanting.
Before planting the tubers, make sure that the soil has warmed. Dahlia tubers are not cold hardy and will die if the soil is too cold. Establish the tubers when the soil has also dried a bit. You can establish the tubers a few weeks before the last day of frost as long as the soil is not over wet.
Propagating Dahlias Seeds & Cuttings
Dahlia flowers can also be propagated from seeds. It’s important to note that only the small dahlia varieties do well when propagated from seeds. Establish the seeds late winter or early spring indoor.
When establishing dahlias from cuttings, keep the cuttings growing all winter. The cuttings should be kept warm throughout.
The depth of planting the tubers is determined by their size. If you have large tubers, establish them about 6-8 inches deep. If you have small tubers establish them about 3-4 inches deep.
Place the tubers in the holes and cover them with about one inch of soil. When establishing the tubers also give them enough space. For the large varieties, plant them about 20-25 inches apart. Smaller varieties can be established closer. Check this article on when and how to plant different flower bulbs, tubers, and rhizomes.
Staking Dahlias is necessary especially for the large varieties. They produce large flowers and the stems will require support as they grow. The best time to stake them is during planting.
You can use any type of stakes that you have access to including circular stakes, individual stakes made from bamboo, or wood. If you use straight bamboo and wooden stakes, you will have to wrap twine around the stalks and the stakes at several points.
Applying mulch is sometimes necessary to keep the roots moist. Dahlias form shallow roots which can be prone to drying out quickly. However, mulching is often needed for young plants, once they get established and become bushy, they don’t need mulching.
The best way to fertilize your dahlias is by using organic fertilizers. The flower tubers need to generate and store energy during the summer months which will sustain them through the winter months.
The fertilizer should be applied mid-season to give the flowers a boost. After August you should not fertilize the flowers, because you want them to prepare for dormancy. The best fertilizers should have a low nitrogen ratio.
Pinching & Deadheading Dahlia
Remove the first flower bud immediately it’s formed. This will cause the plant to branch out and form many branches with many flowers at the ends. Most people also prefer to pinch the growing tip before the bud is formed as a way of promoting branching out.
If you want large blooms, remove the two side buds near the central bud. This will cause the central bud to produce even larger flower blooms.
Deadheading is an important step in the care of Dahlias. Cutting the flowers promotes continued blooming, if you don’t deadhead, the blooming will diminish.
As indicated earlier, dahlia tubers are tender and cannot survive the cold weather of anything below 20 degrees. Wait until the first frost and dig the tubers up when the leaves blacken. Store the tubers safely in a warm place in readiness for the next season.
Pests and Diseases
All varieties of dahlias get affected by pests and diseases. This is an important aspect of Dahlia flower garden growing and care.
The main problem is slugs which often attack the young dahlia plants. The dahlias can also be attacked by other pests such as thrips, and caterpillars. The pests can be contained using neem oil or insecticidal soap. The plants can also be destroyed by deer and may require a fence to protect them. Check this post on how to keep animals out of your garden naturally.
Dahlia flowers can also be attacked by powdery mildew which is a fungal disease. The hey can also get other diseases that are more severe including dahlia wilt and leaf spot. Viral diseases have no cure and any plants with symptoms including yellow irregular patterns should be destroyed to prevent the disease from spreading.
Dahlias are awesome flowers and produce beautiful blooms. If you care for your tubers properly, you can have them for many years. The Dahlia blooms are great to look at as well as cut and include them in different types of flower arrangements designs.
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