Dahlias add bright and cheerful colour to the garden and their long flowering season makes them a great choice for gardeners who don’t have time to keep replacing bedding plants. These iconic garden beauties originally hail from Mexico and they are now available in a wide variety of species, from miniature varieties with blooms just 2cm in diameter, to giant species with soup plate-sized blooms.
Here’s what you need to know about getting them to flourish in your garden :
- Plant dahlias in an area of your garden that receives sun for most of the day. The more sun dahlias are exposed to, the hardier they become.
- Prepare the soil beforehand with compost and well-rotted manure. Plant dahlia tubers about 10cm below the soil, spaced 75cm apart and water the soil well. Cover the soil with a layer of mulch to keep the roots cool and moist.
- As your dahlia plants grow, pinch out the side shoots to ensure that big, generous blooms develop. Stake the plants well when they reach a height of about 60cm.
- With enough sunlight and water, you can expect your dahlias to flower from summer until well into winter. Be sure to pick some to enjoy in an arrangement in your home – they make excellent cut flowers.
- Not sure which varieties to choose? Try the mauve and white ‘Foxtrot’, bright red ‘Sure Thing’, vibrant yellow ‘Gillian’ and rich purple ‘Salsa’.