Dahlia

 

Dahlia

Dahlias are long flowering bushy tuber forming perennials that are members of the Asteraceae family and are native to Mexico and Central America. They were bred in Europe in the 1800s and became popular in the Victorian era. They come in many colours and have different flowering times. They are a great addition to any garden because they don't need any special care and are drought tolerant.

What is a Dahlia?

Dahlia flowers come in shades of pink, red, yellow, orange, white, purple and as singles, which are best for pollinators, or exotic looking doubles. Foliage colours vary as well with some forms having deep purple foliage. Much modern breeding has focused on compact plants that are equally at home in patio pots as the garden border. Taller forms may need some support for the flowering stems but these are excellent as cut flowers.

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Where to plant Dahlia?

Dahlias like to be planted in the spring in a sunny spot and free draining soil as heavier wetter soil will tend to rot the tubers. Once Dahlias start growing in the spring they will grow quickly so allow a good amount of space between plants. Dahlia are not really frost hardy and tubers can only be left in the ground in the milder parts of the country. Pot grown plants have the advantage that they can be moved to a frost free spot over winter. 

How to care for this plant?

Aphids and mildew can be a problem for Dahlias, fortnightly sprays with SB Plant Invigorator can help prevent problems. Slugs can also be a problem. Removing spent flowers will prolong the flowering season. In colder parts of the country lift tubers after the first frosts and store in a cool dry place.