Dahlia Dazzle

Waterlily-style pink dahlia

Waterlily-style pink dahlia

The vast variety of dahlia forms has something to please everybody. Dahlias are one of the secrets of fall: they don’t really get started till August and September, when many other garden flowers are petering out. If you have dahlias in your garden, you’ll have bouquets till frost, and in a ridiculous array of colours. While many end of summer flowers are yellow, dahlias also come in reds, pinks, purples, orange.  My favourite flower form is the waterlily style, above, but there are singles, pom-poms, cactus flowered, anemone, ball-formed, and collarette. All have a lovely geometry of petals with a satisfying symmetry.

A large clump of dahlias towers over a front porch.

A large clump of dahlias towers over a front porch.

In our climate, we need to dig up the dahlia roots in the late fall, after a frost, and re-plant in the spring. Storing in a cool, dry place over the winter will keep the bulbous roots alive for next year. It’s well worth it to start growing dahlias, as you can share your plants by dividing the fleshy, bulbous roots. Instructions below from Dahlia Barn.

WAIT FOR YOUR DAHLIAS TO FREEZE IN THE FALL !! Then wait at least 1-2 weeks before you dig them up. Leave them intact and don’t cut them down. Wait until the foliage has turned black and have completely died back. During this time, the dahlia is ‘ripening’ and preparing itself for winter. Dahlias dug too early will not store over winter. After the foliage has died back, cut the stems to a height of 6″-8″. Use a shovel or pitchfork to gently loosen the soil and lift the clump out of the soil. Tap off the soil from the clumps and allow the clumps to dry in an area above freezing for at least 3-5 days. You can divide then or leave in a clump and divide in the spring. Then store for winter.

Dahlias, like hostas, can be addictive.

No other flower offers the variety of colors, shapes and sizes; and very few bloom from mid-summer to frost. Dahlias come in 15 different colors in varying shades, hues and combinations (except the color blue). They come in sizes ranging from 2 inches in diameter to over 10 inches in diameter in 19 different forms.

 

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