Dahlia Care Guide
Welcome to your Dahlia care guide! Here you will find all of our Growers' knowledge of how best to look after your Dahlia, and what to do if you get stuck.
Plant name: Dahlia
Latin name: Dahlia Pinnata
Varieties included: Dahlia Dahlietta ®, Dahlia Dalaya®, Dahlia Labella® Medio Fun
Dahlias are a fantastic option for gardens of any size, suitable for patio containers or planting directly into your garden beds and borders.
Bushy green foliage is complemented with striking rounded blooms, with masses of petals creating a mass of colour from flowered dahlias.
The Dalaya ® series is incredibly early flowering in particular, however most dahlias will be one of the first to flower and continue throughout the summer months.
What does this mean? Dahlias are best planted once the danger of frost has passed in the Spring and the soil has warmed. They will continue to flower in frost free conditions until the first frosts in the winter.
If a Dahlia has darker brown foliage, it is hardier and therefore might survive the winter months and bloom the following summer.
Before You Start
If you are planting in a garden container, make sure it is clean and has drainage holes in the base. You will need a good quality compost, trowel, watering-can and gloves may also be useful (although we do encourage getting your hands dirty!)
When planting directly into a garden bed or border it is often best to lay out your plants on top of the soil in the pots so you can make sure you plant them in the best place to get the overall visual impact you are wanting (remember when doing this, they will grow much larger than their current size, so don’t worry too much about gaps!)
If planting into a container, fill this up with compost, adding some large stones or gravel to the bottom couple of inches of the container to provide drainage (this isn’t essential, but it can help). Leave about 2cm of space at the top of the container.
Once you have decided where the plant is going dig a hole a little bit bigger than the pot size in your bed, border or container.
Next, take the plant out of the pot. This can be done easily by squeezing the sides of the pot between your thumb and fingers, then releasing your grip on the pot. This helps the roots come away from the pot.
Then hold the plant by the base of the stem, close as possible to the pot and remove the plastic pot. Hold your plant by the root ball and position in the middle of the hole.
The top of the compost around the plant should be a few inches deep than the level of the bed / border. If you need to dig a little deeper take the plant out and make the hole a bit deeper.
Once the Dahlia plant fits in the hole you can twist it around to get the best side of the plant facing forwards. When you are happy with the position fill the hole back in around the root ball and firm the soil back in.
Finally give the garden plant a good water, wherever possible trying to avoid getting water on the flowers.
Avoid planting during the hottest parts of the day. They prefer to be planted during the cooler part of the day as this reduces their stress levels.
Dahlia plants love full sun and therefore we recommend you to grow dahlias in a sunny garden.
They are easy to grow in garden containers, providing both height and colour, but are also a great option for garden beds and borders. Shorter varieties can also work in the centre of larger hanging baskets, but they would require pinching out throughout the season to ensure they don’t become too tall.
Watering & Feeding Guide
Dahlias planted flowers are pretty robust and can tolerate the odd forgetful water, but they do prefer to be kept well-watered and fed throughout the summer. Watering regularly will help them grow quickly and keep them blooming all season long, and ensure the foliage remains vibrant and plentiful.
If the leaves start to droop, then they need a drink. Try and water dahlias frequently in the hot months and give them a feed with multipurpose feed every week or so.
Soil type: Suitable for any soil type, but they perform best in free-draining soil.
If you have a clay-based soil, we recommend using some soil improver a few weeks before planting for optimum results.
Dead head regularly to prolong flowering (pinch off the blooms as they begin to die off) Dahlias are great for attracting bees and butterflies, and therefore are a great addition to any gardens, but especially urban spaces where the biodiversity can sometimes be lower. Dahlias are also popular in cut flower bouquets – if you have a mass of flowers, try snipping a few of the taller ones out from the base of the stem and popping them in a vase inside.
Slugs and snails are the first to eat away at your Dahlia tubers. Plant the tubers with a barrier around them such as coffee grounds, cocoa shells, crushed eggshells or shells. This will make it difficult for the snails to reach your plants.
Cactus dahlias have fully double blooms, with very narrow petals from the tip to the base, that often curve inwards. Cactus and semi-cactus dahlias are some of the most eye-catching dahlias you can grow.
Ball dahlias are great because not only do they offer late summer colour, but their neatly rounded flowers help add structural interest too.