Like fashion, flower trends come and go and recently we’ve seen Dahlias make a comeback in a big way. But, with so many varieties to choose from, where to start? From large dinner plate varieties, to tight pom poms, to scruffy, fluffy flowerhears in two tone colour schemes, the world of Dahlias is ever-rewarding. I’ve picked a couple of my favourite varieties and some top tips to help you care for them.
For starters, the ever-gorgeous dinner plate Dahlia ‘Cafe au lait’ is great place to begin. It’s a favourite among not just coffee lovers, but butterflies too. It’s also beloved by brides and wedding guests and has quickly become one of the most requested flowers for wedding bouquets. They produce a generous crop making them a great choice for cut flowers at home too and, with an array of colours and perennial varieties (plants that return year on year), it’s hard to see why they ever went out of style.
If you are short on space or if you have a sunny balcony or terrace, then dwarf varieties of Dahlia can be great for pots. Dahlia “Snow cap” is a nice, neat little variety which comes with gentle white flowers (so will work with most Dig themes!). We’ve put a few tips below on caring for Dahlias in pots so that no matter what size your space, you can enjoy these plants at home.
My all time favourite Dahlias come from the Mystic variety though – in particular ‘Mystic illusion‘. Their bright yellow petals pop against a deep, rich, dark backdrop of foliage, adding colour and depth to any border. As a perennial variety of Dahlia too, this one keeps on giving every year. In my own garden, I love to plant my Dahlias with Cosmos ‘Fizzy Pink’ and Miscanthus grasses. They work beautifully with the Cosmos flowers giving variety of colour and shape, and work beautifully against a backdrop of shimmering grass.
Dahlias are an incredibly rewarding plant and, with so many variations and colours, there will always be one that works in your garden – if you have the right sunny, sheltered conditions of course. It’s even a hero plant in Dig’s theme for children The Adventure. If you’re after a Dahlia for your own garden, terrace or balcony, but still don’t know what to pick, we’re always always happy to chat Dahlias. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dahlia Top Tips
- Dahlias like full sun and well-draining soil. They don’t like swampy or boggy group and, if planting in pots, it’s a good idea to mix your compost with some gravel or sand to encourage better drainage. Keep this in mind when choosing them for your garden – whether or not you’re adding them to a Dig Instant Bed!
- Water dahlias regularly, especially during hot weather. The soil should be kept moist, but not soggy.
- Just like Basil and Cosmos, the best way to get the most from your crop is by pinching out*. This process encourages more stems to branch out and ultimately provides you with endless beautiful blooms throughout summer and into the autumn months too.
- Fertilize Dahlias every 2-3 weeks with a balanced fertilizer (Miracle Grow is good!).
- Deadhead** dahlias regularly to encourage new blooms. This means removing the spent flowers from the plant.
- Protect Dahlias from frost in the winter months. Once the temperature starts to drop below ~10 degrees celcius, you will need to dig up or ‘lift’ the tubers, brush them off and store them in a cool dry place for the winter before planting them out again next year. This guide from the trusty RHS is a good one for Dahlias, but also other tender plants (plants that can’t survive frosty, harsh conditions).
*Pinching out the top of the plant increases flower production. Once the dahlias main stem is removed, this forces the plant to put energy into creating side shoots. When a single sprout is removed, the dahlia plant will produce two new stems instead of one.
**Deadheading Dahlias is very easy, but one mistake many often fall into is removing the buds of flowers yet to come, instead of the spent flower heads. Buds yet to flower are round and bulbous. Spent flowers are much pointier.