• Katy Gardener

Dahlias: Hate them or love them? You decide

Updated: Aug 7

In this post I cover all things related to DAHLIAS!


I have included a video with an overview of dahlia plants and underneath I have included the different types of dahlias you can grow at home and I've picked out my favourites.

Cafe au lait dahlias (one of my favourites)

Often regarded as garish and crude, there has long been snobbery surrounding dahlias, but the tide seems to be turning, and people are newly appreciating the FUN of dahlias.


Yes, they may be a tiny bit vulgar, but dahlias can bring a riotous party into your late summer garden, and who doesn’t want that? WATCH to see!



6 FACTS ON DAHLIAS

1. Dahlias originate from Mexico and Central America, making them surprisingly tough at withstanding extreme weather conditions.


2. A Swedish botanist called Anders Dahl (see what they did with the name?!) is responsible for cultivating dahlia tubers back in the 18th century and before long they were all the rage across Europe.


3. There are now 30 species and over 20,000 cultivars of dahlias


4. Dahlia plants vary hugely in size from tiny dwarf plants used for borders to giant varieties seen growing in Guatemala reaching an astonishing 6m in height.



5. They are extremely varied in terms of formation from single dahlias with open facing flower heads that are ideal for pollinators to Pom Pom dahlias with tightly compacted round flower heads.


6. Dahlias belong to the Aster family along with daisies and sunflowers


7. Dahlias have a really long flowering season from mid summer until the first frost.

5 TIPS ON LOOKING AFTER DAHLIAS

  1. Dahlias will thrive in the warmest part of your garden.

  2. Dahlias are greedy plants requiring gallons of water and extremely fertile soil to thrive. Feed them regularly.

  3. Larger dahlias will need staking.

  4. Protect your dahlias from slugs and earwigs.

  5. As dahlias are tender plants you will need to bring in the tubers to dry out and store over winter before replanting the following Spring.

5 TYPES OF DAHLIA

  1. Single Dahlia: Open facing flowerhead with neatly overlapping petals. These guys are good for pollinators.

Single Dahlia: Joe Swift (one of my favourites)

2. Waterlily Dahlia: as their name suggests they look like waterlily flowers with wide saucer shaped flowers with two layers of pointed petals.

Waterlily Dahlia

3. Pom Pom and Ball Dahlias: these are small spherical flowers with a spiral arrangement of curved petals that form a perfect ball. They are like a perfect maths calculation in a flower.

Pom Pom Dahlia

4. Cactus Dahlia: this dahlia is a double flowering variety with the outer layer spiking outwards in a starry formation and the central flowers rolling towards each other.

Chat Noir - Cactus Dahlia (one of my favourites)

5. Orchid dahlia : remarkable star shaped flowers with long thin petals.

Orchid Dahlia

MY 5 FAVOURITE DAHLIAS

Waltzing Mathilda Dahlia (one of my favourites)
  1. Waltzing Mathilda: Buy Here

  2. Chat Noir: Details to buy for next year

  3. Café au lait: Buy Here

  4. Joe Swift: Details to buy for next year

  5. Bishop of Canterbury: Details to buy for next year

Bishop of Canterbury Dahlia (one of my favourites)

Most dahlia tubers are unavailable to buy right now, but you might be able to find some established dahlias in pots if you visit your local garden centre. If you want to order tubers for next year, January is a good time to buy.

A final word on dahlias. I am a convert, but I think the key to success with dahlias is restraint.

You don't need to have a carnival of dahlias in your garden to make a marvel of them. A hot touch of pink or a ray of orange every now and again looks amazing, but I would encourage you to NOT go overboard. Remember there are many attractive WHITE and SINGLE dahlias out there, so loud colours and complex petals isn't always a requirement when it comes to growing dahlias in your garden.


So that’s the lowdown on dahlias… what do you think? Are you defiantly against, a reluctant fan, or head over heels in love? Do tell me!

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