Plenty of variationDahlias are summer flowers that you can enjoy for months on end! The fact that they originated in a country like Mexico rather ensures that the Dahlia can’t be anything but a dazzlingly bright tuberous plant. The most important characteristic of the dahlia is its inexhaustible variety. Dahlias are usually split into four groups – the single-flowered, semi-doubles, double-flowered and others. Dahlias are also available in almost every colour of the rainbow, including white, yellow, orange, red, pink and purple… and there’s even green ones and brown ones.
Within the categories you can get enormous varieties in flower size and shape. There are pompon dahlias, (semi) cactus dahlias and the deca-split dahlia in the ‘doubles’ group. However the ‘Franz Kafka’ pompon dahlia is only the size of a ping-pong ball, but in some species the diameter of the flower can be up to 25 cm! Cactus dahlias have pointed rolled petals, whereas deca-split dahlias have split at the ends. There are also new cultivars to be found at Bakker, such as Melody® and Karma®.
Planting and caring for dahliasPlant your dahlia tubers in fertile garden soil from mid-May. For small, low-growing dahlia plant 15-25 tubers per square metre (depending upon whether there are other plants around them or not). For large and/or tall growing varieties, it’s advisable to limit the number to about 3-10 tubers. Snails are their biggest enemy but, fortunately, fighting these creatures can be simple and ‘environmentally friendly’ as they can be deterred with snail traps or tape. Dahlias can start to flower in June and if you keep up with dead heading, they should continue to do so right until the first frosts in November. Take a look at our instructional video - all about planting dahlias in pots and planters.
Dahlias in the border, or pottedA mixed border, full with colourful flowers, an autumn border in a natural style - a bed filled with low growing plants or a row of pots on the patio or decking. Dahlias can be used in all sorts of ways. Due to the huge variation in height, these flowers fit perfectly into both the low and high growing border. Planted in large groups they look pretty spectacular with just an explosion of colour and attract lots of attention to themselves. If you do plant a two or three dahlias in amongst more modest perennials or even ornamental grasses, they look less pretentious. You can make fabulous combinations with coneflower, verbena, lamb’s ear (Stachys) and nasturtium. Small, low-growing dahlias like ‘Melody® Harmony’, ‘Pulp Fiction’ or ‘Bluesette’ are also suitable for pots and planters.
Dahlia as cut flowersFor those who like picking flowers from their garden, dahlias are indispensable. In particular, the long-stemmed species with semi-double flowers (like the large cactus dahlia ‘Sugar Diamond’ or ‘Bora Bora’) are especially fabulous in a vase. Just three flowers in a vase are often quite enough for an elegant effect, but you could also mix them with other pretty cut flowers for a fabulous bouquet. When picking them choose stems with flowers just about to open. Preferably, pick the flowers early in the morning and stand them directly in a bucket of lukewarm water with cut flower feed. Leave them in the bucket for at least 2 hours before arranging them - out of the sun of course. Before arranging, cut the stems again, at an angle, for a beautiful late summer arrangement full of dahlias!
Check out all our garden tips if you want more information on planting and caring for dahlias.
Do also check out the following interesting items: