By Heather Rhoades
If ever there was a flower that knew the meaning of variety, it is the dahlia. While its colors are limited to the warm ranges of red, orange, yellow, pink and white, its flowers come in a dizzying array of shapes and sizes. Read on to learn more about dahlia flowers and get tips for growing dahlia tubers.
About Dahlia Flowers
Dahlia flowers in the garden are grouped into 6 size categories:
- Giant – more than 10 inches in diameter
- Large – 8-10 inches in diameter
- Medium – 6-8 inches in diameter
- Small – 4-6 inches in diameter
- Miniature – 2-4 inches in diameter
- Mignon – Less than 2 inches in diameter
On top of that, they are grouped into 11 bloom categories. These include:
Each variation of the dahlia petal is a beauty. Their petals can be spiky, wispy, round, thin or a half dozen other variations. Even the color ranges from one solid color to a painted mixture of two or three colors.
How to Grow Dahlias and Dahlia Planting Tips
If you follow some simple dahlia planting tips, then you’ll find that growing dahlia tubers is pretty easy and will reward you with their cheery blooms.
Dahlias like well draining, humus rich soil. They also like full light. While dahlias are not cold hardy, they do benefit from being grown in a cooler climate with plenty of rainfall.
Dahlias bloom from mid summer all the way up to frost. Many times their displays will become more spectacular as the weather cools. Dahlias produce a better display if they are properly deadheaded and pinched.
Dahlias are commonly grown as an annual but they can be grown as a perennial if their tubers are dug up shortly after the first frost. To dig up a dahlia properly, simply dig the frost blackened plant out of the ground. Brush (do not wash) as much soil off as possible and then cut the stems back to about 6 inches. Set them out in a cool, dry place to dry for a day or two. Basements or garages are ideal for this. After they have dried out a bit, dust them with a bit of fungicide and pack them away. Packing them in vermiculite or sand will help to ensure that the tuber will not be affected by fungal infestations.
Dahlias are easily propagated by division. Simply replant the tubers and wait until the growth reaches between a half inch to a full inch. Dig the plant back up and divide the clump into a few pieces. Each new clump needs to have a shoot on it.
If you haven’t grown dahlias before, then this summer I would highly recommend that you give them a try. The variety and vividness of the dahlia flower is difficult to find in any other flower.