How To Grow Beautiful Dahlias Complete Guide

 

How To Grow Beautiful Dahlias Complete Guide

I have been collecting rhinestone brooches for many years and asking me what type of dahlia I like the most is as if asking me to pick my favorite brooch. It can't be done!

You can find dahlias in almost every color except blue (dahlias don't produce the pigment delphinidin, which is responsible for creating the blue color), and it's probably only a matter of time before someone adds that color, find out how. Some hybrid dahlias are only two inches in diameter, while others are about the size of a dinner plate.

When dahlias begin blooming in the summer, you can expect a continuous display of flowers until the first frost. Because they are perennials, dahlias form tuberous roots that you can dig up and store in the fall for replanting in the spring. If you live in an area that does not freeze during the winter, you can leave them in the ground, and the flowers will appear again in the spring.

Dahlia Classifications

Dahlias grow on tall stalks from an erect plant. According to the American Dahlia Society, there are currently 20 different types of dahlias:

    Formal decorative
    Informal decorative
    Semi-cactus
    Straight cactus
    Incurved cactus
    Laciniated
    Ball
    Miniature ball
    Pompon
    Stellar
    Waterlily
    Peony
    Anemone
    Collarette
    Single
    Mignon style
    Orchid
    Orchette
    Novelty open
    Novelty fully double


A Brief History of Dahlias

Dahlias originated in the mountains of Mexico and Guatemala in the 16th century, and were first collected by the Spanish conquistadors. In the 18th century, the flowers were called pompons, in honor of the Swedish botanist Anders Dahl's contributions to the study of botany.

Preparing the Soil for Dahlias

Dahlias love the sun, so when you decide to choose a location for your plants, choose a spot that gets at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day (and if possible, ventilate them). Dahlia bulbs are not bulbs at all: they are tubers that need air circulation to grow properly, so your soil needs to be fertile and rich in organic matter (soil pH levels should be around 6.0-7.5). 

       Before planting, add a small amount of bone compost (maybe a handful) and some aged compost to moist, well-drained soil and plant outside when the soil is warm and any danger of frost has passed. Dahlias will not tolerate cold soil, so the soil temperature should be at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
       Dig a hole 6 to 8 inches deep and wide, place your tuber in the hole and fill it with only 3 inches of soil (just enough to cover the tuber). Then, when your stems start to grow, you can fill the hole with soil until it reaches ground level.
       If you're planting tall varieties, space them at least a foot apart and firm them in the ground when planting. Stakes are needed to prevent mature plants from falling over, and anchoring to the ground when planting eliminates the possibility of root damage.
       If you are growing a dwarf variety, this period can be shortened.
       If you only grow dahlias as cut flowers, you should keep them in a designated plot of land so they don't have to compete with other plants.
       It is possible to start your tubers indoors in containers about a month before the growing season, giving you a head start on things.

After Your Dahlias Are Established

Once your dahlias are established, you should water them about 2-3 times a week unless you are in a hot, dry climate, where they need more water. Take care of your flowers after a rain, as the flowers can get flooded or damaged by strong winds.

Dahlias need a low-nitrogen liquid fertilizer such as 5-10-10 or 10-20-20 every 3-4 weeks after germination. Don't over-fertilize your plants. You may be at risk of having small flowers (or no flowers at all). Excessive fertilization can also cause tubers to rot or weak tubers.

Once your plants are about a foot tall, you can cut a few inches off the central branch, which will encourage bushier vegetation and increase the number and height of stems.
With giant dahlias, you can do something called "bud removal," where you remove the young buds along with the main buds in the cluster. This causes the plant's energy to focus on producing fewer but much larger flowers.

If you want your flowers to keep blooming, kill them off, which will keep them blooming for several months. Also, the more you prune your dahlias, the more they will bloom.

Dahlias? What Can Go Wrong?

I will provide solutions to the most common problems faced by dahlia growers. After all, there are no perfect flowers. So, if you have any of the problems listed below, you will at least have a chance to solve them with some of the solutions provided.

Flowers Have Holes, Leaves Chewed

You may see damage from Japanese beetles. When the temperature is high, they love to chew on dahlias and the plants usually have to be removed by hand. However, if you pick them up by hand early in the morning, they are usually slower and easier to catch. Japanese beetles have metallic green heads and copper-colored wing coverts. Its larvae are small grey-white caterpillars that overwinter in the soil and feed on roots in the spring.

Leaves Are Distorted and Have Yellow Patches

Sometimes the leaves of your plants will curl and blister with small yellow spots. Leaves often turn yellow and margins curl upward. You can probably blame sap-sucking insects like aphids and leafhoppers for transmitting some incurable viruses to your plant (as if the insects weren't harmful enough). If you see aphids or leafhoppers, they should also be removed and disposed of.

White, Powdery Patches on Foliage

When dahlias get a white dust that looks coarse and won't blow off, you may have a case of powdery mildew, which can cause the leaves to dry and droop. Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that usually results from poor air circulation. The good news is that although it is unsightly, it is rarely fatal to plants.

The solution is to remove the affected parts of the plant and spray with a home remedy: Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a cup of warm water. Then, after mixing it well, add it to a gallon of water. Once it is well mixed, you can pour the solution into a spray bottle.

Your Plant Is Tall but Has Few Blooms

The problem is that you may have applied too much nitrogen to your plants, causing them to grow too many leaves but too few flowers. Another problem may be that you haven't pushed the flowers back. For example, dahlias should be repotted to stimulate multiple flower production.

Flowers and Leaves Are Chewed

 Not only will they chew on your flowers and plants, but they will also leave behind a disgusting trail of shiny slime. Also, they will feed on your dahlias at night and hide in debris during the day. The solution is to remove them by hand at night, if necessary, and put them in a bucket of soapy water, which will kill them.

You can also buy traps or set up your own beer traps. I've always preferred to use copper or striped tape around my flower beds because slugs get a mild electric shock when they try to cross them. This is usually enough to dissuade them from continuing.

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