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Back in Fashion and appearing in gardens, floral displays and even at weddings – Dahlias are definitely showy blooms and command our attention in the garden as well as indoors as cut flowers.

They come in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes from the delicate Dahlia Dahlegria, the striking Dahlia Bora Bora, the eye-catching Dahlia Fancy Pants, the classic pom poms of the Dahlia Souvenir d’Eté and everyone’s favourite the Dahlia Cafe Latte. Putting them in the spotlight, A Focus on Dahlias, looks at the history and some frequently asked questions.

A Focus on Dahlias -                         A Focus on Dahlias -                          A Focus on Dahlias -

The Dahlia arrived in Europe, at the Botanical Gardens of Madrid, from Mexico over two hundred years ago and was named by Abbe Cavanille in honour of Swedish scientist/environmentalist, Andreas Dahl.

With a long heritage it has evolved from the original species to the wide range of varieties we see today. There are 14 different types of Dahlias that are classified into groups that include Single-flowered Dahlias, Anemone-flowered Dahlias, Waterlily Dahlias, Ball Dahlias, Pompom Dahlias and Star Dahlias.

There is so much to discover about this wonderful flower and in 1881 The National Dahlia Society was formed to provide information for gardeners and to also promote the Dahlia at shows, trials and conferences.

With care, Dahlias can be grown successfully and protected from many of the pests and diseases we often find in our gardens. As part of our, A Focus on Dahlias, we have included some frequently asked questions below.

What conditions do Dahlias prefer?

Dahlias love the sun but need to be sheltered. They like well drained, fertile soil and once established in your garden they do not like to be over watered. We suggest about an inch of water a week and to not let them get too wet, Less is more with a Dahlia and it won’t thank you or thrive well in soil that is too wet. If you have picked a tall variety make sure you support it with stakes as it can lean or break.

At the end of the season you can dig up the tubers and over winter them in a greenhouse or shed and then bring them back to life around April. Make sure you don’t plant them outside until all chances of frost have gone and there is also no need to water them until the start growing again.

How much should I water a Dahlia?

They like water but they don’t like soggy feet. This is particularly important when the tubers are growing and it is best not to start watering until shoots appear and they become established.

On very hot days it is worth watering your Dahlia to avoid stress to the plant and if it’s not flowering you can also water the foliage. Most Dahlia growers advise watering near the roots so if you are watering the foliage make sure you do so early in the day and don’t water overhead when blooming.

Always make sure you take the time to read your Dahlias health by observing them, if they are drooping slightly that can be normal in midday sun but it can also be an indication that the plant is stressed and needs a little more water.

What pests are common to Dahlias?

Just like many of our garden favourites, slugs are a serious and common problem for the young Dahlia plant. There are many ways you try to combat this, such as placing a barrier around them, for example coffee grounds, cocoa shells, crushed eggshells or shells. Or by creating beer traps or placing copper rings around the roots.

You also need to look out for Japanese beetles as they love to eat light coloured blooms as well as the foliage. Aphids, thrips, and earwigs can be problems for Dahlias and insects can be a vector for viruses in Dahlias. Identifying the issue so you can try and treat it is important and you may find this useful – problems with flowers and foliage.

To end our A Focus on Dahlias, here are a few quick questions gardeners often ask:

What family do Dahlias belong to?

The Asteraceae family

How long will Dahlias bloom?

Up to four months if pruned properly but they won’t survive a hard freeze so make sure you take them in before then.

How tall can Dahlias get?

They can range from 15 inches to six feet in height. Flowers range from 2 to 10 inches with the largest often referred to as dinner plate size!

Do bees like Dahlias?

Yes and preferably Dahlias that are open with a nice, daisy like yellow centre, like our Dahlia Honka The bees and bumblebees absolutely love these as they like a lot of pollen to feed on.

We hope you’ve found our blog useful but if you have any further questions why not drop us a message here

Other plant focus blogs that you may find useful include:

A Focus on Delphiniums

A Focus on Hostas

A Focus on Peonies