Summer Bulb of the Year 2017: Dahlia

If you too are crazy about flowers, especially when they’re colourful, dahlias will form a vital part of your garden. Dahlias are rich and exuberant flowering summer bulbs that make any garden, pot or planter even more beautiful. Dahlias are multi-talented. The flowering season is very long, the dahlia has an plethora of flowers and you can choose from hundreds of varieties. Which is why the dahlia has been crowned Summer Bulb of the Year 2017.

Where do dahlias come from?

The dahlia originated in Mexico. In the 17th century, Mexican Francisco Hernandez began to write about this rich flowering beauty. Partly thanks to his publications, the dahlia made its way from Mexico to Spain, from where botanist Andreas Dahl introduced the dahlia further at the beginning of the 1800s. In the years that followed, the dahlia was cross-bred and refined at breakneck speed. Countless new varieties and breeds of dahlia were launched onto the market. The Summer Bulb of the Year therefore gutsily bears the name of Mr Dahl.

Varieties of dahlias

Dahlias are sold in a wide range of shapes, sizes and colours. What’s more, dahlias aren’t flower bulbs, but tubers. There are over 20,000 different dahlia tubers with bright colours, sweet fragrances, long and short stems and large and small flowers. Dahlias make any garden, planter or pot even more beautiful than it already is. The dahlia cactus is adorned with large ‘spiky’ sepals, for example, more than two-thirds of which are rolled up. Captivatingly beautiful!

Dahlia plants

 The right time to plant the dahlia is in the spring, once the risk of night-time frost has disappeared. Dahlias are easy to plant.

  1. Choose an appropriate, sunny spot. Some varieties of dahlia can grow to be very tall and others grow to no more than 30 cm. Make sure that the dahlia will thrive between the rest of the plants.
  2. Make sure that the soil in which the dahlia is planted is nice and fresh.
  3. Make the planting hole large enough and not too deep. Dahlias like to feel the heat of the sun. A few centimetres under the surface is deep enough.
  4. Lay the dahlia tuber in the hole with the piece of old stem pointing upwards and cover the dahlia tuber with the excavated soil.
  5. After planting the dahlia, give it plenty of water.

Caring for your dahlia

It is and continues to be a treat to see such a rich flowering plant grow from a dahlia tuber. These colourful flowers really are a feast for the eyes. If the weather is somewhat on the dry side during the summer months, dahlias may need extra water. The dahlia, which is easy to look after, won’t require any further looking after. 

Dahlia facts

  • A long time ago, dahlias used to be eaten. The roots of certain varieties taste of sweet potatoes. The hollow stems are used to make water pipes, as well as being used as medicine for treating epilepsy.
  • Dahlias are the perfect addition to your plant, balcony and terrace boxes, so even on your balcony or terrace, you can enjoy the dahlia’s beautiful flowers.
  • It is important that flowers that have stopped flowering are removed, as this ensures that dahlias continue to produce new flowers.