The Dahlia

DahliaVirtues: The dahlia flowers from midsummer to fall, with eye-catching blooms that are great for making fresh-cut bouquets.

Common name: Dahlia

Botanical name: Dahlia cultivars

Flowers: Dahlia flowers range from 2 inches to 10 inches in diameter and have a diversity of forms, from simple “single” types to the multipetaled “cactus” varieties (shown above). Colors are equally diverse in the dahlia; they are mostly bright, not pastel.

Habit: Herbaceous perennial. Dahlia cultivars range from 6 inches to 3 feet tall.

Season: Midsummer to fall, for flowers.

Origin: Garden dahlias are bred from species native to Mexico and Central America.

Cultivation: Grow dahlias in full sun, in fertile, well-drained soil. In hot climates the dahlia appreciates some afternoon shade. Plant dahlia tubers outside in spring after all danger of frost has passed. (Here’s a trick for starting dahlias earlier in cold climates.) When planting tall dahlias, place the tubers about six inches below ground level and cover them with three inches of soil. Shorter varieties can be planted more shallowly. Be sure that the eye of the tuber is pointing up. Go back and add more soil as the dahlia tubers sprout and grow, until the hole is full. Put stakes in place before the stems get very tall, and tie the stems to the stakes as they grow. Dahlias like regular moisture and a light monthly all-purpose fertilizer. Begin watering only after the dahlia tubers have sprouted. Deadhead dahlias regularly for continued bloom. The dahlia is generally hardy to USDA Zones 8–11. In colder climates, treat the dahlia as an annual, or the tubers can be dug up and stored after the foliage is killed by fall frosts. Illustrated instructions are included in Horticulture‘s “Fall Tasks” download.

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2 thoughts on “The Dahlia

    • Hi Meghan, My name is Rachel Thomas and i am a freshman at Texas A&M University-commerce and i am currently working on an English paper over horticulture and i have been using this site for some of my information. I have been reading a lot of peoples blogs and i have enjoyed reading yours. For this paper i have to have interviews from people Hortmag.com. Would you be interested in exchanging emails so that i can ask you a few questions and get your opinion on some topics? I have a consent form explaining the paper and instructions. i would love to hear back from you. If you are interested please e-mail me at rthomas18@leo.tamu-commerce.edu Thanks! :)

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