Few plants can rival the flowering power of a dahlia.
These spring-planted bulbs start blooming in midsummer and continue for months, closing out the growing season with a blaze of color and beauty. No matter what size or type of garden you have, dahlias will claim center stage and put on a sensational show.
Dahlias are available in a dazzling array of colors and shapes, with flower sizes that range from two to ten inches across. There are dahlias suitable for cutting gardens, perennial gardens, landscaping, and containers. It’s no wonder the National Garden Bureau has declared 2019 The Year of the Dahlia. To help you navigate the choices, check out this guide to Dahlia Flower Types and Sizes from Longfield Gardens.
Growing dahlias is easier than you may think.
Plant the tuberous roots in well-drained soil, either in the garden or in containers. Wait until late spring, when the weather has settled and there’s no danger of frost. To ensure you get lots of flowers, give your dahlias full sun and consistent moisture all summer long. In fact, simply treat them as you would a tomato plant and you’ll be wildly successful.
For big flowers with a dramatic presence, choose a dinnerplate dahlia.
These bodacious beauties command your attention in the garden and in a vase. The 8 to 10” blossoms grow on bushy plants that stand four to five feet tall. Grow them at the back of a perennial border or in a cutting garden and use a sturdy stake to help support the extra-large blossoms. It takes just a few stems to make a gorgeous summer bouquet.
Cactus and semi-cactus dahlias will add a special twist to your garden.
These flowers have rolled or partially rolled petals that end in a point, making the blossoms look like stars. Cactus dahlias hold up well to adverse weather and their unusual texture makes them prized cut flowers.
Mid-size dahlia plants grow 3 to 4 feet tall and have 4” to 8” blossoms.
They are good companions for other plants in containers and in the garden. Mix them with bold, leafy elephant ears; Lacinato kale or Swiss chard; finely-textured ornamental grasses and gaura; upright salvias or trailing plants like calibrachoa and verbena. Their grand, midsummer entrance will brighten your garden and containers throughout the remainder of the growing season.
For lining a walkway, edging the front of a flower border or filling containers on a patio, choose border dahlias.
These compact plants grow just 15 to 18” tall yet produce full-size blossoms for a dazzling display of color. Varieties such as hot pink Gallery Bellini or pale-yellow Gallery Serenade cover themselves with flowers from July right through September.
Dahlias thrive in the same great soil as vegetables, so consider adding a few plants to your food garden as well.
You’ll be able to cut blooms for the dinner table when harvesting vegetables for your next meal.
In most parts of the country, dahlia tubers won’t survive the winter outdoors.
Though you can dig and save the tubers from one year to the next, it’s easier to treat them as annuals. This way you can choose new varieties each year and get to enjoy the full range of what these amazing plants have to offer.