Not many garden plants can challenge the constant bloom and remarkable display dahlias put on in a summer garden. Their extravagant blooms come in a wide selection of different shapes, forms and seemingly endless colors. With thousands of varieties to choose from, I’ve tried to seek out types that are often hard to find and are a little more unusual.
Dark-leafed dahlias are all the rage in Europe, but a limited number are available to avid gardeners and collectors so I wanted to make sure that they were represented in our regularly irrigated sandy clay loam Bed 8 in full hot sun.
Dahlias flowers have a tendency to dominate a planting scheme, especially large dinner-plate types that tend to look gaudy and out of scale and the stems always require support. I’ve also sought out varieties that have single flowers and have a more open growth habit so they compliment other plants in a flower bed.
Planted in the spring, dahlias are typically grown from tuberous roots or rooted cuttings. They grow quickly with heat and regular applications of an organic fertilizer. They begin blooming this month and can continue on until frost if one keeps the spent flowers off. Tubers can be left in the ground over winter if you have them growing in soil that drains well and then provide a good thick mulch in the fall. To be on the safe side, tubers may be carefully lifted after frost has zapped the plant and stored in a box with soil left intact. Keep them in a cool unheated garage until spring.
Common Name: Dahlia cultivars
Location: Soest Garden – Bed 8
Origin: Garden Origin
Height and Spread: 2-6′ high x 2ft. wide
Bloom Time: July-first frost