Dahlias are quite an attractive flower we all are well aware of. Dahlia flowers are the most common site in many household gardens. Dahlias are known to be bright colored and vibrant. They come in different varieties and shades ranging from red to orange to purple.
Most gardeners mistake dahlias as cut flowers, but they make for great garden plants as well. Planting dahlias can require some human resources. Hence, do check with a gardener with regards to the entire procedure of planting the dahlia plants in a flower pot.
Dahlias are a perennial plant and normally bloom during the mid of summer. Dahlia spp has a great character, and it blooms from summer till the early frost winters. They range in size from being small to huge to dinner plate varieties. Dahlia has become quite an essential item of the garden, and we cannot agree more. Here we discuss the method and tips for growing Dahlias in pots.
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A native of Central America and Mexico, dahlias come in many variations and types. The plant size and the colors may differ, but most of them will have similar characteristics. Be it in pots or gardens. Dahlias are quite a hit among plant lovers.
There are hundreds of varieties of dahlias. Let us check few most common types of dahlias:
1. Single Dahlias
Usually, they have a single ring of petals on a flat surface overlapping each other. These dahlias are quite attractive, and you can plant these stunning dahlias in your garden to make them more vibrant.
2. Cactus Dahlia
They usually have very narrow petals and resembles a cactus plant with narrow edges. With their unique spikey look, they draw of attention of many. The growth of these can go up to 30 to 40 inches.
3. Decorative Dahlias
If you are planning for gardening big dahlias, then this would be the one for you. They are larger in size than the normal dahlias. As the name suggests, these flowers are quite aesthetic in character.
4. Pompon Or Ball Dahlias
They have a beautiful arrangement of petals that could entice anybody. In streaks of pink and white, these dahlias in the pot could completely change the landscape of your garden. They are small and round-shaped and are easily distinguished from other flower plants.
5. Anemone Dahlias
The size and features of these flowers are atypical as compared to others of the dahlia family. The center bud of the flower is surrounded by smaller petals which in turn is surrounded by bigger ones.
6. Orchid Dahlias
Orchid dahlias are open centered flowers with one row of petals surrounding the center bud. Available in vivid colors, they are quite known to be dahlias.
When To Plant Dahlia Flowers?
It is always the best idea to get a second opinion from your gardener as to when it would be ideal for growing dahlias. These plants are very flexible when it comes to the weather conditions and preferred season. This flower blooms at its best after spring and during summers.
Get a dahlia tuber, and either place them in a pot or directly plant them in the ground. These flowering plants love the soil to be warm and properly drained. In areas that experience low temperatures, you can always store the dahlia tuber and planted when the weather is moderate.
It is always recommended to pot or plant the dahlias during March or April. It is always best to plant dahlias when the soil is warmer and in a frost-free environment.
How To Plant Dahlias
Are you planning to add dahlias to your plant collection in your garden? Well, there are certain factors to keep in mind before you jump into gardening. Below are few tips you can follow before you plant those dahlias in your garden:
1. Dahlias In Containers
Well, before the onset of the season, it is recommended to start planting the dahlias indoors in containers. In containers, lay tubers on their sides with the stems up and cover with 2 inches of soil. Wait until you see new growth breaking through to the water.
Identify An Ideal Location
Identify a good area with good drainage. Be it you plant them in a pot or in the ground soil in your garden, the drainage should be on point. A well-drained pot or a container will also work if you are planning to use them as a base.
These cut flowers prefer well-drained and nutrient-rich garden soil. Try mixing a good amount of manure into your garden soil for the healthy growth of the dahlia plant. Dig a bit deep in the ground soil and plant the dahlia tuber so that the soil is airy and with proper drainage.
Dahlia requires a good amount of sunlight, in addition to proper soil, to survive anywhere. Usually, the flower blooms terrifically under direct sun. They prefer full sun, which in turn also makes the ground warm.
You might need some assistance while planting the dahlia tuber in the ground. They require ample space to grow in their natural size. As mentioned before, few of these dinner plate dahlias can even grow beyond 40 inches; hence adequate spacing is crucial.
Most of the dahlias require a fairly large pot for them to thrive. Place the dahlia tubers in a 13 to 14-inch pot for enough space. The pots should have proper drainage and air circulation. This is crucial for avoiding the tubers rot in excess moisture.
Be it your potting mix or the ground you planned for planting the dahlias, a moderate amount of fertilizer is necessary. This will result in making your dahlias healthier and grown bigger in size. Use of purpose fertilizer
Pinching And Staking
If one is planning to grow big dahlias, then staking would be a good option. Due to the weight of the dahlias, there are chances of the steam breaking at any time because of wind or heavy rain. Use string wooden stakes to support the plants.
Pinching helps in the lateral growth of the plant. When they are about 10 to 12 inches tall in size, pinch at the center of the stem to stimulate the growth.
How To Protect Your Dahlias From Insects And Pests?
It is always crucial to protect your dahlias from uninvited guests like pests and slugs. While you grow dahlias, be it in your garden or indoors, make sure that the surface of the soil is free of dead leaves and unwanted particles. Below are the most common pests and insects that may attack your dahlias:
- Grasshoppers or locus
Since we are discussing insects, there are also few useful visitors or the so called pollinators for your dahlias. These include bees and butterflies are great pollinators for continuous blooms of the flowers. Avoid using harmful pesticides and sprays that can result in killing them.
Your dahlias need to be protected at all costs from these intruders. The garden soil should be fertilized properly with the right amount of water. For insects like slugs and caterpillars, one can use their hands to remove them from the soil. This will avoid the rotting of the tubers.
Anything or everything is possible during the planting of such flower plants. Like other plants, Dahlias are prone to many diseases if not maintained properly. They are prone to fungal infections and pests like slugs. Proper pesticides and fungicides are required at regular intervals once you identify the problem. While serious diseases destroy the plant, some common problems also reduce the plant’s health over time.
Some common problems are-
- Powdery Mildew
When left unchecked, even these tiny problems create huge losses.
Some severe diseases are-
- Mosaic Virus
- Stem rot
- Verticillium Wilt
The first sign of any disease is the growth of leaves that are half-eaten or barely there. Some pests might be eating right into the powerhouse of your plant. It can lead to the weakening of the plant, and slowly, the plant does not produce many flowers.
An issue as simple as a bit of over-watering can slowly kill the plant from rotting. Generally, using pesticides and fungicides once a month does the trick. Yet sometimes, you may be required to handpick the infected part or an insect from the plant.
Arrangement Of Dahlias
Dahlia pots will no doubt add that color to your garden center but have you thought about planting them indoors? Well, you will find an array of methods to arrange your dinner plate flowers even inside your homes.
It is always best to cut your flowers from the bottom in the morning if you are planning to arrange them in pots or containers. As we are quite aware of the different variants of the dahlia ssp and dahlia flowers available in the market, you can always personalize them.
1. A Large Glass Vase
People usually arrange the large stem flowers in long neck bottles. This will help to keep these blooming plants upright without any bends. This is the most common type of arrangement followed in many households.
2. A Bunch In A Vase
If out together in a bunch, the large dahlias will give a wholesome look to your living room. Try blending different shades to give an eccentric look.
3. The Hanging Globe-shaped Pots
Beautiful variants of dahlias like pompoms and orchids can be placed in hanging globe vases. These vases will take up the shape of the flower and give an aesthetic look to your walls. Hang them with loops and give a flowery fancy touch to your house.
Where Can You Get Dahlia Flowers And Potting Mix?
The easiest answer to this would be a plant center or online marketplace for dahlia tubers and potting soil. Also, you always recultivate the dahlias in containers with tubers that have been stored.
Now, let us know about the maintenance required for the Dahlias that you have planted.
How To Care For Dahlias In A Pot
Caring for and maintaining your Dahlia flowers in a pot requires an optimum amount of the following.
Dahlias do not need a lot of water to grow. Young Dahlias can rot if the soil is too moist when the roots are developing tuber. Most gardeners make the common mistake of watering Dahlias before their tubers grow.
The ideal method to water the plant is through drip irrigation. This method helps in keeping the surface moist as the plant roots are near the surface. You can even choose to hand-water the soil in the plant pot.
Did you know that hand watering is another ideal way to deeply water the plant pot. You can hand water once or twice during the week.
The typical rainfall during late spring and summer is sufficient for the plant. Even though Dahlias don’t require a lot of water to thrive, you need to ensure that the soil moisture doesn’t dry out. As the roots are present on the surface, it becomes essential to keep the upper area moist for tubers to bloom.
Dahlias require a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. The plant blooms when it gets ample sunlight to encourage blossoms of plant flower and new leaf. If you live in a hot area, protect the plant from heat as Too much heat can be dangerous for the plant. You can put the plant pot under shade during the peak heat hours during summers.
You can also use the mist system to keep the temperature low around the plant pot. Another way to keep the plant cool is by mulching the soil periodically. Mulching helps in the ease of water drainage in the soil and protects the roots from heat winds. Dahlias love exposure to morning sunlight. Putting you plant container under the morning sun can enhance the development of plant and flowers start to blossom around July after eight weeks of outcome of tubers.
Plants need nutrients as humans do. You need to make sure you provide essential components to the soil for plants to grow. A high organic-rich makes the most suitable soil choice for the Dahlias. A well-drained soil helps in keeping the plant cool and enhances water circulation and retention.
Most experts agree upon the fact that Dahlias require fewer nitrogen fertilizers to increase soil fertility. It is widely known to use the 10-10-10 ratio fertilizer for Dahlia plant growth. However, an all-purpose 5-5-5 fertilizer can be used during the planting period and should once or twice a month to promote the comprehensive vegetation of the Dahlias plant.
You should not be using fertilizers in late August or mid-September as otherwise; it will lead to too much foliage and too little blossom. Also, over-applying fertilizers after the August and September months form nutritional stores in the Dahlias tuber that harms the maturing of the plant.
Full-grown Dahlias need support to blossom utterly and show better growth and performance when their branches are supported even in pots. This way also prevents items from damaging the flowers as the Dahlias plant grows in size. Dahlias plant less than 2 feet usually bar stakes for support.
Staking leads to harm to stems and branches for the most part. So, to keep the plant branches safe from getting damaged, make sure you stake each plant branch separately and tie the stems to keep them intact and close. You can choose to support your plant when you implant the tubers.
There are several types of stakes available for Dahlias. To name a few, these include Wood Stakes, Bamboo Poles, Metal Rebar. Make sure you put your stake in a distance of at least 3 inches from the tuber to allow space for the dahlias to grow along with providing support.
5. Pruning And Trimming
Pruning is a widely known method used to maintain the growth life of the plant. There are different methods of pruning, and it is done for distinct purposes. The chief function of pruning is to enhance flower growth, remove diseases, and pull up the dahlia bulb.
Pruning helps in restoring life to the plant. Many people go against pruning but using correct methods and tools; you can promote young shoots to flourish and encourage good airflow among the plant. A few of the ways of pruning, like trimming and pinching, are discussed in this article.
Trimming encourages branching and more blossoming flowers when the plant grows fully. The ideal time to chop off your plant is when it grows 16 to 18 inches in height. The plant should have at least four sets of leaves in the top branch before trimming it.
Special Maintenance Needed In Winters
Did you know that Dahlia flowers require additional care in the winter season? Keep the following in mind during winters if you want full blooming Dahlias in your flower pots.
Dahlia pots look the best in your garden-place, among all other plants, and in the green. In the winter season, though, you cannot keep the dahlia containers out all the time. As a gardener, you must keep the dahlias in containers at the best location during winters.
Dahlias do not bloom well in cold conditions. It is preferable to place the pot anywhere inside the house in warmer conditions. Container plants provide this convenience of effortless movement.
Once inside, maintain the Dahlia pots as you would have earlier. Make sure to water it less and not make the soil too wet. They are better off inside but still don’t flower well in the winter season itself. It is better to store them all winter.
One important factor to be considered before placing the pots inside is the availability of light. Dahlias need an ample amount of light to stay alive. So it would be best if you made arrangements for the proper availability of light inside too.
Some people prefer bringing the container outside when there is maximum sunlight available. It is possible when the pot is light; moving heavy pots multiple times a day is not feasible. It would help if you made arrangements for artificial light sources.
Special growth lights are available, which work as a substitute for sunlight in winters. With some extra care along with regular fertilizing and pruning, your Dahlias will indeed extend in the winters too.
Extra Tips For Better Care
Here are some extra tips to keep your Dahlias in a beautiful form all the time!
Pinching is the simplest form of plant pruning which encourages branching without much effort. It involves removing the top, tender, new growth from the main stem of the plant. From the pinched point, two or more new branches grow.
There are many more methods of pruning, but pinching is the easiest. You can do it without any expertise and equipment. It can be done for all plants as it promotes branching and better growth. Just take note of not over-pinching your Dahlias.
De-heading is the act of separating dead flowers from the plant. When you don’t dead flowers, the plant channelizes its energy in making seeds. This might channel energy away from flowering.
By de-heading the dead or dried blossoms, the plant can focus on making new flowers and maintain the bloom. At times, when you don’t de-head, your plant stops blossoming. Most gardeners don’t realize the importance of de-heading till the warning signs appear.
3. Avoiding Frost
Though Dahlias are considered perennial, they cannot sustain frosts. If you live in icy environments, you should prepare to store your Dahlia tubers before any frost arrives. In winters itself the pant starts wilting, they don’t survive the frost at all. To still keep your plant secure, dry it and store it in a dry place over winter.
4. Overwintering Dahlias
Dahlia tubers freeze and rot in winters. They are specifically intolerant to frosts. It is better to dig them up and store them in a dry place during the winters. Then you can plant those tubers again as spring arrives.
Storing the tubers is easy; what takes effort and detail is preparing. You need to wait for the plant to dry up and turn yellow. Then carefully dig up the tubers, which have all the starch stored now for the next season. After removing the soil and extra dirt on it, let it dry well.
The tubers are ready to be stored. You can put the tubers in a plastic bag or a cardboard box or even a paper box and keep it in maybe your garage or somewhere dry with some ventilation. You must inspect them from time to time to ensure their health and avoid any damage. Next season you can replant the firm tubers and enjoy the beautiful flowers.
Flowers That Go Well With Dahlias
Dahlias themselves are of so many sizes and colors that they can beautifully cover a large part of the greenery. Every gardener and collector dreams of a bed full of Dahlias, but they require extra care than any other flower plant. So, let’s discuss some plants which go well with Dahlias.
It is a common practice to plant Dahlias with herbs like coriander, thyme, and rosemary. They are easy to maintain and can be grown in pots too. As simple plants, they enhance the beauty of Dahlias in nearby containers.
Further, they also help protect dahlias from pests. Herbs have a scent that repels pests and slugs. They help maintain the health of the garden bed like this.
2. Tall Flowers
Dahlias form large bushes and need to be spaced widely. So when planting other flowering plants, it is necessary to check their size. They need to be sown or placed (if in a pot) at some distance from dahlias to avoid obstruction.
Tall flowers serve this purpose very well, as when combined with short dahlia bushes, they create a picturesque garden. Sunflowers are a common choice for most gardeners. They are tall and grow in similar conditions too.
The Dahlia plant will not only enhance the beauty of the pot but will also bless your garden with some luxurious flower blossoms and colors. To ensure that the plant and flowers bloom soon, we have provided some tips on how to take care of your growing Dahlias in pots. The Dahlia plants require more maintenance and care to grow fully.
Gardening can be a tough job to do and needs more precise attention always. So, make sure you water your plants as required, choose the correct soil and garden pot size for better growth.
Pots remain a constant point of attention for many of us who love flowers. Keep your garden pot lovesome by pruning away dead branches and flowers. Make sure you keep an eye on pests and diseases because no one wants to spoil their lovely flowers.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.