There’s something delightful about dahlias. Their many colors – yellow, purple, burgundy, pink, white, pink and blends – provide style and color to a late-season garden.
“Dahlias are robust plants that deliver big color in all shades,” said Hans Langeveld of longfield-gardens.com, an online retail resource for bulbs and perennials. Longfield’s dahlia offering features 43 varieties and 15 mixed color combinations, including flower types ranging from cactus to dinner plate, ball, mignon, decorative, anemone and waterlily.
At Brent and Becky’s Bulbs – brentandbeckysbulbs.com – you’ll also find about 45 types.
Da “Planted in clusters, dahlias produce hundreds of flowers over a bloom season that can span eight to 10 weeks,” he said. “Plus, you can cut them for the vase all you want without depleting your garden.”
Dahlias grow best in warm soil, according to Langeveld. Plant the bulbs in spring once garden soil warms to 70 degrees and the threat of frost is long gone.
Dahlias prefer a spot that gets full sun for several hours, then afternoon shade, but they can handle a partially shaded location. Position the bulbs 3 to 6 inches deep, with the short neck positioned an inch or two beneath the soil surface.
Once they’re growing, hot, humid summers typically won’t slow down these plants, which are native to Mexico and South America. Just keep the old blossoms cut or picked off. Dahlias do best in late spring and early summer, and again in fall.
Remove the bulbs from the ground in early fall and cut off any foliage and flowers; wrap each bulb in newspaper and store them in a cool, dark, non-freezing place until time to plant them in the garden again.