It is really easy to start growing dazzling Dahlias. They’ve seen a huge big comeback over recent years, with many more people growing all kinds of varieties in the garden and on the allotment. The many types and colours mean there really is a Dahlia for everyone, and you can pick from various shapes, colours and sizes. Not to forget they are one of the most popular flowers on social media.
The history of growing Dahlias
We can often trace the reason why a plant was named as such, but Dahlia is a little more of a mystery. Possibly named after Anders Dahl, a student of Carl Linnaeus, it has also been named Georgina and known as the Valley Flower. Either way, the Dahlia has made a significant impact on gardeners all around the world and is also the official flower of Seattle and San Francisco. It’s a reliable flower for the cutting garden, borders and pots and easy to grow plus pollinators love the single flowering varieties.
How to start growing Dahlias
There are many to choose from, so pick the variety perfect for where you want it to grow. Smaller growing Dahlias are magnificent for pots, or why not try planting them on masse in a cut flower border with a mix of varieties. There are dinner plate Dahlias to cactus and pompoms, but if you want to wow the neighbours try ‘Mrs. Eileen’ for huge vibrant orange flowers of at least 9” across or ‘Grand Prix’ for a real burst of sunshine. All tubers need well-drained fertile soil and a sunny spot. They will need deadheading to keep those flowers coming and can be grown from seed. The all-important discussion among gardeners in autumn is should we lift or leave the tubers over winter since they are not frosted hardy. You can store them safely in cold, dry conditions or leave them in the ground with an excellent mulch. So the choice is yours. Of course, lifting them means you can split the mature tubers to grow even more plants.
Growing Dahlias for many uses
Sometimes the thought of eating flowers can seem a little odd and why eat them when they look so great in the garden!
- If you take the young tubers if you do lift them, try cooking them like potatoes and storing the more mature tubers for planting out again after the last frost in the following spring.
- Each Dahlia variety tastes different depending a lot on the growing conditions.
Why not sprinkle some colourful petals on your salads? This way, you create a summary plate of goodness. Or use a mix of colourful flowers as a garnish on your curry?