When do dahlias bloom?

Dahlias: Dos And Don’ts

My love for dahlias got off to a really slow start. I much preferred soil beneath my fingernails than for those same nails to be blackened by bruises from driving dahlia stakes into the ground. And the truth was, dahlias had no other purpose on earth than to stand around looking totally tall and beautiful. I liked plants that had a reason for being, like tomatoes. Now there was a plant worth growing even if it did need to be staked.

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Aunt Bett always said, “Unless a plant gives us food or medicine, ain’t no reason for ’em to take up garden space.” I thought everything Aunt Bett said was always true but my mother had other ideas. She said her plants and her gardens were just for beauty and that beauty was important too. I reckon it was a bit of a dilemma for me at the time because her gardens were truly beautiful and eventually her huge colorful dahlias became backdrops for all of them. That was because Mom took very good care of her dahlias. From storing them in Autumn to planting in Spring and growing them all Summer long, never a day went by that Mom didn’t check on her dahlias; never a year went by that her dahlias weren’t magnificent. Through the years I learned the secrets to her success; I’ll even share them with you.

Dahlia ‘Ferncliff Copper’
Posted by mandolls
Formal Decorative Dahlia (Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’)
Posted by 4susiesjoy
Dahlia Mystic Illusion
Posted by eclayne

First, about planting:
*Don’t be in a hurry to plant, dahlias have a difficult time in cold or wet soil. Wait till the ground temperature is above 60F, when you’re sure there’s no longer any danger of frost or freeze.
*Be sure you plant in full sun and if they are in morning sunlight, that’s even better. Wind is never kind to them, so check to see that your sunny spot isn’t too windy.
*The planting holes can be anywhere from 6″ to 8″ deep, my suggestion is to dig a little deeper in cold climates just in case you miscalculated the last frost. Those few extra inches will protect the tubers and keep them warmer.
*For tall dahlias, before you even put the tubers in the soil, pound your stake into the ground beside the hole. This prevents any stake damage to the tuber.
*Small bushy dahlias need to be planted about a foot apart. If they will grow to 3 feet, then plant them a couple of feet apart and if they are going to be over your head, they might need to be 3 feet apart. It’s guesswork, but after your first bloom season, you’ll know for sure what they need.
*The planting hole must be a bit larger than the root ball. Add a little sphagnum or compost to the hole, but don’t fertilize at planting time.
*Check to make sure you don’t plant wrinkled or rotting tubers, they’re already beyond help. A little bit of green growth on the tuber is a good thing.

*Don’t break or cut apart the tubers. These are not potatoes and they for sure don’t grow like potatoes so plant the entire tuber with the growing points facing upward.
*Plant with the crowns slightly above the soil line.
*Don’t water tubers just after planting; as long as the soil is damp, they’ll be just fine without more water. Watering at planting time will just encourage rot, so wait till you see a bit of new growth emerging, then water. This is simply a safety measure and another bit of guess work, but since tuber rot is a real enemy, it pays to be cautious.
*Don’t cover the tubers with bark or heavy mulch because it’s too challenging to new growth. The growth will have to work its way around chunks to reach the surface and winding around will simply weaken the bloom stalk that’s trying to grow. It needs to be able to shoot straight for the sky and stand there when those heavy blooms begin appearing.
*Do apply slug or snail bait when planted, if those little critters love your gardens. The bait will help avoid them.

Semi Cactus Dahlia (Dahlia ‘Romance’)
Posted by janwax
Ball Dahlia (Dahlia ‘Robin Hood’)
Posted by gwhizz
Stellar Dahlia (Dahlia ‘Alloway Candy’)
Posted by vic

Now you have dahlias growing, what’s next?
*After your dahlias are established, deep water about every 2 or 3 weeks, using a gentle spray because baby dahlias are quite fragile.
*Low nitrogen fertilizer is good, the kind you use in a veggie garden. Adding a little fertilizer after sprouting and then again about once a month is great, dahlias love it. Just be sure you don’t over fertilize.
*After heavy rain, dahlia blooms might need a little shake to get rid of the water their petals are holding. If it’s windy, check to make sure the stakes are holding them up.
*Short varieties need to be pinched at the growing point to encourage bushing and all varieties need to be dead headed.
*Tall dahlias need to be deadheaded but they don’t need much pinching. Bushing makes them top heavy and inclined to lean or to break.
Single Dahlia (Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’)
Posted by Cantillon
Single Dahlia (Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’)
Posted by ge1836
Dahlia ‘Fire Magic’
Posted by frankrichards16

Informal Decorative Dahlia (Dahlia ‘Snowbound’)
Posted by Joy
Ball Dahlia (Dahlia ‘Crichton Honey’)
Posted by Paul2032
Dahlia ‘Bonne Esperance’
Posted by frankrichards16

Just so you know, dahlias are hardy to Zone 8 and in Fall they can be cut back to about 4 or 5 inches and left in the ground during winter. Zone 7 is where we draw the line because we never know what kind of winter we’ll get, neither do the long range forecasters. Sometimes mine are fine left in ground and produce gorgeous blooms the next summer with no problem. Sometimes they disappear, never to be seen again, so I’ll leave that decision up to you. Whether to lift or whether to leave in ground, that’s your question in Zone 7.
If you want to save your dahlia tubers in colder zones, then you need to lift them from the ground, clean them free of soil and let them dry for a day or two. They can be stored (with a little sphagnum moss between them) in a dry burlap bag or even in a basket. They also need to be placed in a dry area where they won’t freeze. I usually keep mine in the same cool room with the bulbs that I save, caladiums, gloriosas and often those tubers for my sweet potato vines.

Cactus Dahlia (Dahlia ‘Park Princess’)
Posted by tabby
Dahlia ‘Duet’
Posted by pirl

So beautiful, aren’t they? I couldn’t resist cramming this article full of photos. In spite of Aunt Bett’s aversion to plants that offer nothing more than beauty, I realize now that unlike her, I love dahlias. What’s not to love?
*They happily bloom late in the hottest part of the year when nothing else is blooming.
*The color is reliable, a dahlia will never revert to something it used to be.
*They are recyclable; if we care for them, we can plant those same tubers over and over again.
*They are perfect cut flowers for any late Summer occasion.
*They perform well in most any well draining soil.
*Deadheading provides more blooms.
Too much water is their enemy but we can control that with good drainage. We might have to control deer too, but otherwise, dahlias are easy plants. The short bushy varieties are great community plants, they could be grown easily in or around a vegetable garden, their needs are about the same as those of the veggies. The taller varieties are my favorites because they form a backdrop to my daylilies on my back hill. And when the daylilies are finished blooming, I can always count on the dahlias to provide more color.
With profound apologies to Aunt Bett and her medicinal/food plants, when it came to dahlias, I listened and learned from Mom. I think Aunt Bett would understand.
Collarette Dahlia (Dahlia ‘Pooh’)
Posted by Joy

Deadheading dahlias

It may be feeling distinctly autumnal right now, but if you’ve planted dahlias the good news is they will keep on flowering right through to the first frosts.

Dahlias will flower from mid-summer to first frost, bringing welcome colour to the garden

There’s just one catch: to prolong flowering you will need to keep deadheading them, thereby encouraging the plant to produce new buds.

The only problem is it’s not always easy to distinguish a spent dahlia head from a new dahlia bud. And you don’t want to be snipping new buds off!

Spent dahlia head or new bud?

Identifying spent dahlia heads

If you spot an ageing flower early when there are still a few wilted petals visible, then there’s no problem. Snip it off. The difficulty arises when the old dahlia flower has lost all of its petals. The hard bulbous part at the base of the flower (the calyx) then closes over to form what looks remarkably like a bud.

However, you can tell the difference between a spent dahlia head and a new dahlia bud by the shape. A spent dahlia head is slightly conical, almost pointed (as in the example above), whereas a new bud is a more compact rounded shape (as in the example below).

A new dahlia bud is rounded and compact

If you give a new dahlia bud a squeeze it will feel firm and you may be able to see the compressed petals within waiting to explode out into a fully formed flower. If you squeeze a spent dahlia head, it will feel squishy.

Where to cut

Once you’ve identified the right heads to remove, make sure you trace down the old flower stem and cut it off where the stem intersects with a leaf.

Cut spent dahlia heads off with sharp secateurs or garden scissors just above the point where the flower stem intersects with a leaf

If you cut it off directly under the dead flower head you will be left with an unsightly flowerless stem. Multiply this by several flowerless stems and your plant will start to look quite ugly. Keep it trimmed down and you will have a neat bushy plant.

Keep deadheading

It’s amazing how quickly new buds form, flower and die, so deadhead your plant as often as you can. Your dahlia will reward you with a stunning supply of colourful blooms late into autumn or even into early winter. And if you have chosen a bee-friendly variety it will be a source of much-needed nectar late into the year.

Dahlias can provide much-needed late-season nectar for bees

Happy snipping!

Tips for getting more blooms from your dahlias

Dahlias are a beautiful addition to summer gardens. Grown from tuberous roots planted in the spring, dahlia blooms come in a near endless array of colors and forms. From spiky-petaled cactus-types to round and tight pom-pom dahlias, this tender plant brings some serious bloom power to the garden.

Planting dahlias each spring is fairly easy, as long as you remember to plant the tubers just a few inches beneath the soil, but caring for them throughout the summer months can be a bit more challenging, if you don’t keep a few things in mind. Today, I’d like to share some great tips for growing healthy and productive dahlia plants from now until the first frost of autumn.

Tip 1: Keep the plants upright. Dahlia blooms are easily spoiled if the plants are left to flop on the ground. Use a 1-inch-by-1-inch hardwood stake to keep the stems straight and upright. You’ll need some strong jute twine to fasten the plant’s branches to the stake. Since dahlia plants are fairly fast growers, check the plants once a week to see if they need to be tied higher up on the stems. For large dahlia varieties with a lot of branches, consider using a heavy wire tomato cage to keep the plants upright. If you go this route, you’ll need to insert the tomato cage over the plant when it’s just a few inches tall. If you wait too long to put the cage on, you’ll have to wrestle the plant to corral it inside.

Tip 2: Deadhead. Dahlia blooms are beautiful, but they don’t last forever. As soon as the flower has faded, use a sharp pair of pruners to trim the flower stem off just above the point where it emerges from the main stem. Don’t leave a stump behind when deadheading. Removing spent flowers regularly encourages the production of more blooms and eliminates seed production, a process that saps a lot of energy from the plants and reduces future blooms.

Tip 3: Fertilize. I fertilize my dahlias with a liquid organic fertilizer every two weeks, at the same time I feed my container plantings. Liquid fertilizers are absorbed by both the roots and the leaves, so don’t hesitate to apply it to the foliage, too, as you saturate the soil. A liquid organic fertilizer that’s slightly higher in phosphorous promotes good flower production and keeps the plants from developing weak, spindly stems.

Tip 4: Watch for fungal diseases. While dahlias are fairly trouble-free, fungal issues do sometimes strike. Bud blast will cause the flower buds to flop over and rot before they open, and leaf spot foliar diseases can easily mar the foliage. To keep these issues at bay, give your dahlia plants plenty of room to grow and be sure to keep other plants from crowding in around them. Trim nearby foliage to increase air circulation around the plants. If you happen to spot any diseased foliage on your dahlias, promptly trim it off and discard it in the trash.

Tip 5: Irrigate. Larger species of dahlias can grow quite tall, and they get thirsty as they grow. Be sure to keep your dahlia plants well watered, especially during times of drought. Mulch the plants with a few inches of shredded leaves, leaf mold or compost to help retain soil moisture. When you water the plants, apply a deep, soaking amount of water once a week, rather than a light spritz of water every day or two. Deep irrigation encourages deep root systems that are better able to access their own moisture and nutrients.

With these tips, your dahlias are sure to produce oodles of gorgeous blooms for months to come!

  • Horticulturist Jessica Walliser is the author of several gardening books, including “Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden,” “Good Bug, Bad Bug,” and her newest title, “Container Gardening Complete.” Her website is jessicawalliser.com. Send your gardening or landscaping questions to or The Good Earth, 622 Cabin Hill Drive, Greensburg, PA 15601.

    Categories: Lifestyles | Home Garden | Jessica Walliser Columns

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    Top 7 tips to make dahlias last longer

    ‘Chrichton Honey’ (Thomas J. Story / Sunset Publishing)

    This guest post comes to us from Brooke Wetzel, florist on BloomNation, “the Etsy for flowers”, and Owner of The Plum Dahlia in Los Angeles, CA.

    The waning days of summertime in floral talk mean its time to relish the late-summer blooms, especially the glorious dahlia. Weather permitting, dahlia season can extend all the way to Thanksgiving, and here are the best tips to keep them happy as a cut flower.

    Pretty! Now get them in water! (Thomas J. Story / Sunset Publishing)

    1. H2O ASAP

    Dahlias brought home from the flower or farmer’s market should get dropped in water as soon as possible. In order to maximize their relatively short 3 to 4 day vase life, warm or hot tap water is ideal. I’ve found that dropping them in a vase of hot water and letting it cool to room temperature can extend their vase life up to 2 to 3 days.

    At 10 to 11 inches across, ‘Papageno’ is a beauty, but she won’t last as long as a cut flower as smaller types (Thomas J. Story / Sunset Publishing)

    2. Size matters

    Tighter, compact varieties like last longer than the large and showy ‘Cafe au Lait’ and other dinner plate varieties, so named because they’re as big as a dinner plate. As a rule of thumb, the larger and fancier the petals, the shorter the vase life.

    3. Consider colors

    One of my favorite pairings is using complementary colors like deep plum purples, oranges, and newer corals.

    Here are other great tips that apply the color wheel to your bouquet arranging.

    Bouquet styled by Christina Stemble, Farmgirl Flowers; Photo: Tom Story

    4. Be supportive

    I’ve found that the dahlia lasts a little longer when all the weight of the bloom is supported with other blooms. Even if they’re piled on one another, sometimes these pretty girls need a little help.5. Let’s get clear

    I like simple cylinders to let these summertime gems shine. A clean, clear glass vase can let the blooms breathe, and luckily, dahlia stems aren’t prone to molting or mucking up vase water. A dose of flower food can also work wonders to keep the water clean and clear.

    Using all stages of the flower, from tight bud to fully open bloom, adds great texture to a bouquet. (Thomas J. Story / Sunset Publishing)

    6. Use the whole flower

    I like to use every part of the flower, if I can. The tight and semi open buds can add an extra bit of texture and wildness to an arrangement, and after a few days, you may see them open up and give off a little more life.7. Watch the sun

    If you’re dressing an outdoor table, be sure to keep these blooms out of direct sunlight. They will wilt in the heat of a midday barbecue and are better suited for a dusk al fresco dinner party or shaded brunch. They are ideally suited for a long and low arrangement where guests and friends can see the tiny details and textures of your creation. Another option is a high/low mix of cylinders to have fun with the possibilities of colors, shape, and varieties. Whichever style you choose, these beauties need little fuss and play very well on their own.

    This year I planted about 40 dahlia plants in my front yard. They bloomed very well. Will they come back next year? Why they are called biennial? And I read that dahlias have tubers. Can we save them and plant them next spring?

    — Meghana Valame, Palatine

    Dahlias are native to Mexico and cannot survive a Chicago winter in the garden. But because these tender perennials grow from underground tubers, they can survive periods of dormancy, making it possible to grow them in climates with frosts like those in most of the United States.

    You can dig up the tubers in fall, store them over the winter and plant them again next spring.

    Dahlias are not considered to be biennial. A biennial plant is a flowering plant that takes two years to complete its biological life cycle. In the first year, the plant grows roots, leaves and stems, usually staying low to the ground, and then goes dormant during the winter. In the second year, the plant grows taller, flowers and produces seeds before dying.

    Dahlias, on the other hand, are perennials. In their native warm climate, they re-sprout from their underground tubers to bloom each year. That will not happen in Chicago because our cold winter soil would kill the tubers. (Hence, the term “tender perennial.”)

    They are valued for their bright late-summer and autumn flowers.

    But plants that produce such show-stopping flowers have demands.

    A full-sun site is best for dahlias, though they may tolerate some afternoon shade. They prefer rich and well-drained soil that has been amended with compost. It is important to keep the soil evenly moist, but not excessively wet, or the tubers may rot.

    Dahlias are fast growers and heavy feeders, so provide supplemental fertilizer during the growing season. Stop fertilizing in the middle of August.

    Avoid windy sites to prevent stems from being broken. Tall varieties will require staking wherever you place them in your garden. Give the big varieties plenty of space to grow.

    Tubers can be planted directly into the ground after May 15, when the air and soil have warmed. However, be sure that the danger of frost has passed; in cold springs you may want to delay planting for a week or two. Plant each tuber 2 to 3 inches deep with 1 inch of soil covering the sprouting tip.

    In late fall, after a frost has blackened the plants, very carefully dig up the tubers. To avoid injuring the tubers, lift them gently with a pitchfork rather than stabbing into the soil with a shovel. Leave a few inches of stalk attached to each tuber, but sift off all the dirt and trim back the roots.

    Hang the tubers upside down to dry for a few days. Then cut off the stalks and store the tubers in cardboard or wooden boxes lined with newspaper, sawdust, perlite, wood shavings or peat moss. Air circulation is important. Tuck a label in with each tuber.

    Check the tubers monthly for signs of shriveling, blackening or softness. If the tubers are shriveled, moisten the storage medium very slightly. If a tuber is soft, throw it out.

    Tim Johnson is director of horticulture for the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe (chicagobotanic.org). Send questions to: Gardening Q&A, Sunday, Chicago Tribune, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611-4041; email to [email protected]

    In Redlands, dahlias begin to bloom in July or August, and the blooms can last into autumn.

    Native to Mexico, Guatemala, Central America and Colombia, the dahlia was grown and used for many generations from the time it was first cultivated by the ancient Aztecs. In 1570, Francisco Hernandez of Spain was sent to Mexico to study the natural resources of New Spain and one of those resources was the dahlia.

    Named for 18th-century Swedish botanist Anders Dahl, this perennial is a member of the Asteraceae family that also includes feverfew, goldenrod, sunflowers and zinnias.

    Dahlias first arrived in Spain in 1789. These new plants were easy to grow and hybridize, so they quickly became popular in European and American gardens.

    The Victorians loved the dahlia’s flamboyance and variety. The flowers could be raised in hothouses and then placed in gardens for spectacular displays of color.

    The dahlia is the official flower of the city of San Francisco and the national flower of Mexico

    There are more than 30 species and more than 50,000 named dahlia varieties that have been developed, listed and registered in more than 570 individual classes. The dahlia offers a wide array of flower colors, sizes and forms.

    Its blooms come in nearly all colors except true blues. In 1826, a prize of 1,000 pounds was offered for a blue dahlia, but it has yet to be produced.

    Dahlia shapes range from half-inch pompons to 12-inch “dinner plate” blossoms. A few of the types most frequently found in home gardens include the following.

    • Cactus and semi-cactus: They have double flowers with long, pointed raylike flowers that are rolled back along half their length, giving a spiky look.

    • Decorative: They have double, flat-tipped petals and are sometimes wavy. They have large flowers and the plants are usually tall.

    • Pompon: They are double-flowered and globe-shaped with relatively small flowers. The petals form little tubes rolled back along their entire length.

    • Ball: They are similar to pompons with flowers that are larger and less spherical.

    • Anemone: They have small flowers with one or more rows of flat petals arranged for a look that resembles anemones.

    • Peony-flowered: They have semi-double flowers with an open center.

    The dahlia has one of the longest bloom seasons of any garden flower and produces very long-lasting cut flowers for floral arrangements and bouquets.

    With heights ranging from 1 to 6 feet and blooms in oranges, pinks, purples, reds, yellows, whites and stripes, the dahlia is a popular addition to many gardens.

    The dahlia is a bushy, tuberous plant that is relatively easy to grow. The plant likes rich, well-drained soil and plenty of sun. It can be planted from seeds — it takes at least a year to flower — but usually it is planted using tubers.

    Plant tubers in the spring in 4-inch-deep trenches with the buds pointing up. Cover the tubers with 2 inches of soil and give them plenty of water and support. As they grow, add more dirt to the trench until it is level with the ground.

    Dahlias do not like extreme heat, so avoid hot spots such as near south or west walls.

    The dahlia is not just a beautiful plant. The ancient Aztecs used the dahlia for food as well as for decorative purposes. They also used dahlias as a treatment for epilepsy and made small pipes from the long woody stems of the tree dahlia.

    In Europe, the dahlia was tried as a possible source of food after a disease in the early 1840s destroyed the potato crop. However, after people tasted the dahlia, the idea was abandoned and it was decided to grow dahlias just for their beauty.

    Before insulin was discovered, in Europe and America diabetics were often given a substance called Atlantic starch, or diabetic sugar, made from dahlia tubers.

    Although dahlias are no longer used for diabetics, other chemicals derived from dahlia tubers are now used to test the functioning of the liver and the kidneys.

    The Chinese, after testing 400 plants, have chosen the dahlia to be one of 31 herbs used to treat HIV.

    For information, call 909-798-9384.

    Source: Joyce Dean, a member of the Garden and Floral Arrangers Guild

    7 ways to make sure your dahlias dazzle this summer

    Flamboyant and fancy, dahlias are among the darlings of late summer, in shades ranging from white and cream to claret and burgundy and everything in-between.

    Dahlia ‘Bishop of Oxford’ (Hannah Stephenson/PA)

    Some are blousy, with pompom or peony-like flowers which will need staking to prop up their heavy, luscious blooms; others bear more dainty, delicate, daisy-like or anemone-style flowers with contrasting centres and foliage.

    Dahlia ‘Josie Gott’ (Hannah Stephenson/PA)

    Katie Kingett, productive garden supervisor at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, which is staging the Cornish Dahlia Society’s 38th dahlia show at the end of this month, offers these tips to ensure your dahlias are the stars of the show…

    1. Add organic matter before you plant

    Enrich your soil before planting (Barry Batchelor/PA)

    The best type to add to a dahlia planting area is well-rotted manure, but if you can’t get that, use compost, digging it into the soil the previous autumn or in early spring, to give it plenty of time to break down before planting.

    “If you haven’t got manure, you could add a base feed such as Growmore before you plant,” Kingett advises.

    2. Get your timing right

    Dahlia tubers before planting (Thinkstock/PA)

    Plant your tubers 10-15cm (4-6in) deep in their flowering position in late May or early June, after the last frosts, in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun, if possible.

    You can start tubers off early, March or April, in large pots – at least 2 litre, or preferably 3 litre – filled with multi-purpose potting compost and put them in a light, frost-free place, keeping the compost moist.

    By the time you’re ready to plant out in late May or early June, the plants should have bushed up and they may well be flowering by the beginning of July.

    3. Right plant, right place

    Have you seen the amazing dahlia display in the Flower Garden? pic.twitter.com/Esht51Rsrz

    — LostGardensofHeligan (@HeliganGardens) October 19, 2016

    “You could dedicate an area to dahlias as they look fantastic as a crowd,” says Kingett. “They also look good in a herbaceous border. You want to avoid planting them near the base of a tree, so that they can establish.

    Large-flowered varieties may need support (Elle Thackham/Heligan Gardens/PA)

    “Keep them clear of weeds and keep an eye out for any pests, as slugs and aphids love them. Night-time vigils are best for collecting slugs, as well as putting out a piece of slate nearby, which you can lift in the morning and pick up any slugs or snails that have gathered there.”

    If you have a garden which encourages wildlife diversity, attracting birds and hedgehogs to your plot should also keep slugs in check.

    4. Give them support

    “As they grow, support is very important. Support them individually with canes or if you’ve a larger section of dahlias, put posts around them with netting running along the top which the dahlias grow through and which will provide the support they need. Once they are established, you won’t see the netting.”

    Dahlia ‘Roxy’ is a good variety for containers (Thinkstock/PA)

    Dahlias are also hungry – so will benefit from regular feeding – and thirsty, particularly the new generation types which are ideal in pots such as ‘Roxy’ and ‘Hot Cakes’, both anemone flowered.

    When growing in containers, plant them in rich, soil-based compost such as John Innes No. 2. In summer, you’ll need to water them every day.

    Earwigs can cause damage to flower petals but can be trapped by putting an upturned flower pot stuffed with straw, on canes, and shaking it every morning.

    5. Disbud to encourage better blooms

    Pinch out growing tips once plants reach a height of about 40cm (16in) to encourage branching.

    Disbud them to encourage larger main blooms (Thinkstock/PA)

    Once they are beginning to bud up, take the two smaller buds out below the central flower, which will create a more impressive bloom for cutting. Once that begins, you need to do it regularly – cutting and deadheading will help prolong the flowering to October, until the first frosts of the autumn.

    6. If you want giant blooms…

    You can get bigger blooms by disbudding (Thinkstock/PA)

    The RHS recommends restricting the number of flowering stems to three to five per plant. For smaller blooms, allow seven to 10 flowering stems per plant.

    7. Lift them when the frost comes

    Lift dahlias out of the ground when their leaves have been blackened by frost. Some people cut them down and leave them in the ground, putting a thick mulch over the crowns to protect them during the winter.

    “We tend to lift our dahlias because we have other crops to get in between then and when they will be planted again, and it also means they won’t be lost to any extreme weather or harsh conditions,” says Kingett.

    If you lift, them, store them somewhere cool and dark, such as a frost-free shed or garage. You can store them in sawdust, peat-free compost or dry sand in wooden boxes, leaving the crown exposed. Check them regularly, making sure there’s no sign of rot. If there is, remove the affected tubers.

    Dazzling Dahlias are dancing in the flower garden 🌸 #flowergarden #lostgardensofheligan #gardenlife #cornwall #flowers #dahlias #dahlia

    A post shared by The Lost Gardens of Heligan (@heligangardens) on Jul 31, 2018 at 4:12am PDT

    The Cornish Dahlia Society’s 38th annual show is taking place from August 25-27 at The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall. For details, visit heligan.com.

    – Press Association

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