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Dahlias

Credit: Nancy Parker
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Botanical name: Dahlia

Plant type: Flower

USDA Hardiness Zones: 8, 9, 10

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Soil type: Sandy, Loamy

Flower color: Red, Pink, Orange, Yellow, Purple, White

Bloom time: Summer

In cold climates of North America, dahlias are known as tuberous-rooted tender perennials, grown from small brown biennial tubers planted in the spring. 

These colorful spiky flowers generally bloom from midsummer to first frost, when many other plants are past their best. They range in color and even size, from the giant 10-inch "dinnerplate" blooms to the 2-inch lollipop-style pompons. Most varieties grow 4 to 5 feet tall.

Though not well suited to extremely hot and humid climates, such as much of Texas and Florida, dahlias brighten up any sunny garden with a growing season that's at least 120 days long. Dahlias thrive in the cool, moist climates of the Pacific Coast, where blooms may be an inch larger and deeper.

Planting

  • Don't be in a hurry to plant; dahlias will struggle in cold soil. Ground temperature should reach 60°F. Wait until all danger of spring frost is past before planting. (We plant them a little after the tomato plants go in.)
  • Select a planting site with full sun. Dahlias grow more blooms with 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight. They love the morning sunlight best. Choose a location with a bit of protection from the wind.
  • Dahlias thrive in rich, well-drained soil. PH level of your soil should be 6.5-7.0, slightly acidic.If you have a heavier soil, add in sand, peat moss or bagged steer manure to lighten and loosen the soil texture for better drainage. 
  • Bedding dahlias can be planted 9 to 12 inches apart. The smaller flowering types, which are usually about three feet tall, should be spaced two feet apart. The taller, larger-flowered dahlias should be spaced three feet apart.
  • The planting hole should be slightly larger than the root ball of the plant and incorporate some compost or sphagnum peat moss into the soil. It also helps to mix a handful of bonemeal into the planting hole. Otherwise, do not fertilize at planting.
  • Avoid dahlia tubers that appear wrinkled or rotten. A little bit of green growth is a good sign. Don't break or cut individual dahlia tubers as you would potatoes.
  • Plant them whole, with the growing points, or "eyes," facing up, about 6 to 8 inches deep. The crowns should be just above soil level.
  • Tall, large-flowered cultivars will require support. Place stakes (five to six feet tall) around plants at planting time and tie stems to them as the plants grow.
  • Large dahlias and those grown solely for cut flowers are best grown in a dedicated plot in rows on their own, free from competition from other plants. Dahlias of medium to low height mix well with other summer flowers. If you only have a vegetable garden, it's the perfect place to put a row of dahlias for cutting (and something to look at while you're weeding!).
  • Dahlias start blooming about 8 weeks after planting, starting in mid-July.
  • Some gardeners start tubers indoors a month ahead to get a jump on the season.
  • Do not water the tubers right after planting; this encourages rot. Wait until the sprouts have appeared above the soil to water.
  • Do not cover the dahlias with mulch or bark or sprouting is more challenging; apply slug and snail bait to avoid pests.

Care

  • There's no need to water the soil until the dahlia plants appear; in fact, overwatering can cause tubers to rot. After dahlias are established, provide a deep watering 2 to 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes with a sprinkler (and more in dry, hot climates).
  • Dahlias benefit from a low-nitrogen liquid fertilizer (similar to what you would use for vegetables) such as a 5-10-10 or 10-20-20. Fertilize after sprouting and then every 3 to 4 weeks from mid-summer until early Autumn. Do NOT overfertilize, especially with nitrogen, or you risk small/no bloms, weak tubers, or rot.
  • Like many large-flower hybrid plants, the big dahlias may need extra attention before or after rain, when open blooms tend to fill up with water or take a beating from the wind.
  • Bedding dahlias need no staking or disbudding; simply pinch out the growing point to encourage bushiness, and deadhead as the flowers fade. Pinch the center shoot just above the third set of leaves.
  • For the taller dahlias, insert stakes at planting time. Moderately pinch, disbranch, and disbud, and deadhead to produce a showy display for 3 months or more.
  • Dahlia foliage blackens with the first frost.
  • Dahlias are hearty to zone 8 and can be cut back and left in the ground to overwinter; cover with a deep, dry mulch. Elsewhere, the tuberous roots should be lifted and stored during the winter. (Some readers find, however, that dahlias will survive in zone 7 if the winter isn't too severe.)

Pests

  • Slugs and snails: Bait 2 weeks after planting and continue to bait throughout the season.
  • Mites: To avoid spider mites, spray beginning in late July and continue to spray through September. Speak to your garden center about recommended sprays for your area.
  • Earwigs and Cucumber Beetle: They can eat the petals though they do not hurt the plant itself
  • Aphids
  • Deer
  • Powdery Mildew: This commonly shows up in the fall. You can preventatively spray before this issue arises from late July to August.

Harvest/Storage

Taking Up the Tubers

In cold regions, if you wish to save your plants, you have to dig up the tubers in early fall and store them over the winter.

Dahlias may be hardy to USDA Zone 8. There they can be left in the ground to overwinter. In areas that get frost, including most parts of Zone 5, a killing frost—or a touch of frost—can help the bulb to shut down/go dormant.

  • Foliage should be cut back to 2 to 4 inches above ground and lifting and separating should be completed.
  • Gently shake the soil off the tubers.
  • Cut rotten tubers off the clump and leave upside down to dry naturally.
  • Pack in a loose, fluffy material (vermiculite, dry sand, Styrofoam peanuts).
  • Store in a well-ventilated, frost-free place—40 to 45 degrees F is ideal, 35 to 50 degrees F is acceptable.
  • Take out the tubers in the spring, separate them from the parent clump, and begin again.
  • If this all seems like too much bother or you do not have the right storage place, skip digging and storing, and just start over by buying new tubers in the spring.

Recommended Varieties

Picking a favorite dahlia is like going through a button box. There is a great spectrum of color, size, and shape. Here are some popular choices:

  • 'Bishop of Llandaff': small, scarlet, intense flowers with handsome, dark-burgundy foliage
  • 'Miss Rose Fletcher': an elegant, spiky, pink cactus plant with 6-inch globes of long, quilled, shell-pink petals
  • 'Bonne Esperance', aka 'Good Hope': a foot-tall dwarf that bears 1-1/2-inch, rosy-pink daisies all summer that are reminiscent of Victoria bedding dahlias (though it debuted in 1948)
  • 'Kidd's Climax': the ultimate in irrational beauty with 10-inch "dinnerplate" flowers with hundreds of pink pentals suffused with gold
  • 'Jersey's Beauty': a 7-foot tall pink plant with hand-size flowers that brings great energy to the fall garden.

Wit & Wisdom

The dahlia was named for Anders Dahl (botanist), born on March 17, 1751.

The Dahlia you brought to our isle
Your praises forever shall speak

'Mid gardens as sweet as your smile
And colour as bright as your cheek
.
–Lord Holland (1773–1840)

Dalhlia Pictures

Click here to browse delightful dahlia images in our picture gallery.

Comments

I am going to attempt to grow

By Ryane on November 21

I am going to attempt to grow my own dahlias for my wedding in early September (labor day weekend) and I live in NH (sorry, not sure what zone # that is). Should I still plant in April to get started or should I wait a bit - not sure how long they take for first blooms or if they get better after each trimming?

This was my first year

By Wilsonduncan on November 16

This was my first year planting dahlias and wow was I impressed with the amazing flowers and leafs these guys produce, today I decided it was time to dig out the bulbs and while doing so accidentally I cut the stem right from the bulb on one of the plants I had I decided to continue took as much dirt off and brought them inside to dry... I hope that by cutting the stem from the bulb the bulb will still survive for next year
I have one question tho: there were many (8) little individual bulbs around the big Bulbs will those work for next year? Thanks

The stems should be cut back

By Almanac Staff on November 17

The stems should be cut back to a height of about 6″ before storing the tubers. The one tuber with no stem should be OK. You can divide the tubers next spring before planting. Even the smaller tubers will grow into beautiful plants.

I have read to dig up the

By Katy L on November 9

I have read to dig up the tubers, shake off soil and lay out to dry before packing them away for winter. I live in CT. It is November. Temps get down in the 20's at night. I have the tubers spread out on an outside table to dry. First, is it too cold at night to leave them outside? How do I know they are "dry" and ready for packing up?

Hi Katy, It is too cold to

By Almanac Staff on November 11

Hi Katy,
It is too cold to leave the tubers outside. Bring them indoors to dry. You can tell that they are dry when there are no more wet spots on the tubers and any dirt left on them is dry.

Thanks :)

By Katy L on November 11

Thanks :)

I live in Southern California

By Angela olivas on November 9

I live in Southern California where it is still 85-90 degrees in November. Will there be a dormant time where I need to cut down my dahlia plants for the winter or can I leave them full grown since the weather never really drops below 50? This is the first year I'm growing plants and many instructions talk about first frost but we don't really have anything like that in SoCal so I'm not sure what to do with my plants in the "winter".

In southern California you

By Almanac Staff on November 11

In southern California you can wait until December to dig up your tubers and keep them stored until planting time again in early spring. Please see link below for some good advice.
http://sfdahlias.org/how.to.grow/calendar/calendar.htm
 
 

I am in the Pittsburgh area.

By Hilary Rose on November 5

I am in the Pittsburgh area. We had a killing frost the other night. I believe it was three nights ago. My Dahlias all died back and the foliage and turned black. So, today I cut back the stalks. I hadn't read all this yet. I dug up four of the plants tubers today after I cut the stalks, I never let these four, "eye up". They are huge tubers much larger than the original tuber I planted in the Spring. They also broke apart a bit, I mean the clump of tubers broke apart into separate tubers. I stopped digging them up when I realized, I really didn't know what I was doing. So, now, I have all of these healthy looking tubers but none of them have eyes (or new growth). Should I put them in a box and cover them with soil? Not sure what to do. I will wait at least a week to dig up the others. They are all pretty healthy looking with roots but no green. Also, Does it damage them if they break apart from the clump? Help!

Hi Hilary, Dig up the tubers

By Almanac Staff on November 6

Hi Hilary,
Dig up the tubers and shake off as much soil as you can. Let the tubers dry before storing in a box or paper bags. You can wrap the tubers in newspaper or cover them with some light materials. See our suggestions under Harvesting/Storing on this page. Don't worry about pieces that break off. Store all the pieces and tubers and next spring when you take them out you'll see the "eyes" new growth.

I moved I to a house in WA

By jacy on October 29

I moved I to a house in WA and there is a huge garden of Dahlias. They all fell over due to high winds. Then then started growing up from the flat stalks. I tried to stake and tie them up to bo avail. Did I just kill all of the plants by cutting them down and preparing for winter?

It's recommended to cut

By Almanac Staff on October 30

It's recommended to cut dahlia stems back after a frost has hit the plants (the stems will turn brown). Depending on where you live in WA you may or may not need to dig the tubers for winter storage. If you live in the warmer regions of WA you can cover the plants with a thick layer of straw or other mulch. If you are unsure dig the tubers and follow our advice on this page for winter storage.

I'm in Oregon and we have had

By Susan Murray on October 26

I'm in Oregon and we have had high winds. My dahlias (over 100) are heavy with flowers and foliage. I usually winter them over and we haven't had a frost yet so I haven't cut them back. Right now, our weather is about 50-60 degrees--unseasonably warm-- but the wind and rain are here now.

Can I carefully lift out the tubers and not disturb the roots the ones that are tilting from the wind and replant now? Some I was hoping to move anyway. Or would it be better to cut back the foliage a bit until a November frost (if we get one this year)? Thanks for your help.

My dahlia bulbs were

By Paula /Bolis on October 23

My dahlia bulbs were mistakenly pulled out much earlier than they should've been, still all green, healthy, & covered w/blossoms. I don't ever pull them out 'till well into Nov. as I live by the ocean & frost comes later to us.I have no idea what to do w/all the pulled clumps to keep them safe for next planting season in May. I am afraid they will either dry out, or rot from sitting in too warm an atmosphere, there is no where to store them "cooly" for now. What do I do? Should I put them back in the ground for a month? I went through all the comments and couldn't find a problem similar to mine. HELP! I have quite a few bulbs @ stake here & would hate to lose even one. Thanks! Paula J Bolis

Hi Paula, Put them back in

By Almanac Staff on October 24

Hi Paula,
Put them back in the ground if you can. Otherwise put them in big containers with soil and leave them outside until you have your first frost. Then dig them up and store as usual. Good luck!

I did not know what I had and

By Carrie C

I did not know what I had and I basically dumped a bunch of bulbs in a spot in my garden and turns out they are dahlias. However I did this in late sept and now I have these beautiful blooms and we are expecting frost. I'm in Ohio. Is there pictures with instructions on how to dig up and store these guys? I think some i might have planted upside down:-( I'm new at gardening.

Congrats on your beautiful

By Almanac Staff

Congrats on your beautiful dahlias. We don't have pictures at this time, but here's what  you do: Allow the tops to be nipped by the frost. That shuts everything down. Then dig and clean them by hand, but don’t use water, and dust each one with powdered sulfur for insect and disease protection (ask your garden center). Store the dahlias in paper bags in a dark, cool location that will not freeze. Plant them again in the spring when the danger of frost is past.

Your general article said to

By Bob Briggs

Your general article said to dig the tuber before frost, but your reply said to allow nip. ? I am in zone 5.

Hi, Bob, Dahlias may be hardy

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Bob, Dahlias may be hardy to USDA Zone 8. There they can be left in the ground to overwinter. In areas that get frost, including most parts of Zone 5, a killing frost—or a touch of frost—can help the bulb to shut down/go dormant. Foliage should be cut back to 2 to 4 inches above ground and lifting and separating should be completed.
We'll review the notes above. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

where do i find the seeds

By Beverly Shivers

where do i find the seeds once the flower dies off and can it be rooted from a cutting??
thank you Beverly Shivers

Allow the flower to dry

By Hal T.

Allow the flower to dry thoroughly. The flower head can then be "harvested" for seeds. Simply pull the dry flower head apart and separate the seeds. You will quickly recognize them. I grew plants from seeds last year and developed 25 plants that all flowered throughout the summer. It was just an experiment but what great results. I will be digging them up soon and am anxious to see what sort of tuber development I have. Good luck to you.

I am from Exeter Pa 18654.

By Edward Balkan

I am from Exeter Pa 18654. Please clarify. Should you remove before 1st frost or after 1st frost. 2nd after winter storage should you seperate tubers before spring planting. I usually wait till June 1st

Hi Edward, You can wait to

By Almanac Staff

Hi Edward,
You can wait to dig the tubers after the first frost. It is OK to divide the tubers before planting in the spring. Just make sure that each piece has a couple of "eyes" or buds.

It is mid-September, and I

By Madge

It is mid-September, and I just bought some dahlia tubers on clearance at my local grocery store. We live in a zone 6 area, and it is getting cooler earlier than it usually does here this year. Should I plant them outside anyway..or in a pot? Not sure how much time they will have to grow before it is too cold. Or, would they stand a better chance if I wait until spring (late May?) Thanks for your time!

The dahlias will not have

By Almanac Staff

The dahlias will not have time to bloom this fall. Store them in a dry dark place over the winter months and plant them in the spring (containers or in the garden).

Some of my dahlia blossoms

By Lynn Hogue

Some of my dahlia blossoms rot before they open completely. They have not been overwatered. What could be the cause and how do I fix it?

If it's not a watering issue,

By Almanac Staff

If it's not a watering issue, you most probably have thrips (small bugs) eating your dahlia buds. If you store your bulbs over the winter, first dust them with powdered sulfur. Then spray with Orthene, an insecticide, as new growth begins next season. That will get rid of the thrips.

I live on long isl . I

By Jmmdonnelly

I live on long isl . I planted dalias from tubes in April I have beutiful purple flowers all summer and fall .

Hello I'm moving into a new

By JewelzD

Hello I'm moving into a new house throughout the month of September /October in Anaheim ca, I would like to plant dahlias out front as I've always wanted these beautiful flowers, is this a good time to plant? How do I start ?

Dahlias are indeed a stunning

By Almanac Staff

Dahlias are indeed a stunning flower. In your area, plant in the spring, preferable after April 1 so the soil's not too cold.

Hi, We are from India.We

By Ranganath

Hi,
We are from India.We purchased Dahlia tubers in Bangalore.How can we store the tubers to grow in the next year(may)
Thank u.

I just bought a house, and

By Ron Rudolf

I just bought a house, and now I Would like to move my dahlias to my new location. can I dig them up while they are flowering and will they survive if I replant them? thank you Ron Rudolf

This is so seldom done, we're

By Almanac Staff

This is so seldom done, we're going to suggest this: Dig them with a fair bit of soil around the tubers and as little disturbance to the roots as you can manage, and put them into suitably large pots. If the flowers are mature or just past that stage, clip them. As you no doubt know, tubers should be lifted in fall, so you will have that part done. After the first frost, prepare them as usuall for the winter respite. Plant as usual next year.

My Dahlia bloomed from March

By Krishna Toner

My Dahlia bloomed from March to May and then all the blooms fell off and it now is just a green bush. It's pretty but is not blooming anymore. Is there something wrong with it? I live in eastern Washington State. Thank you.

We are not sure if there are

By Almanac Staff

We are not sure if there are any issues, however, we can advise that pinching encourages larger blooms. Also, notice that dahlias send out three buds; if you remove the two side buds and keep the center bud, you will have better quality blooms.

Just purchased 6 Dahlia bulbs

By J Nielsen

Just purchased 6 Dahlia bulbs on clearance, it's late July in Wisconsin. should I plant them now and dig them up again, or should I take them out of the plastic and try to winter them already.

You can plant them in the

By Almanac Staff

You can plant them in the ground. If your area has a warm Sept/Oct, you will be rewarded with a beautiful dahlia display.

My dahlias started off

By Franco

My dahlias started off growing well. Then stopped growing and have not flowered. They have been this way for a month.

If the plant and the buds

By Almanac Staff

If the plant and the buds appear healthy, the most common reasons that dahlias do not bloom are: 1) they are not getting enough direct sunlight or 2) they are getting too much nitrogenous fertilizer.

Hi,I bought a dahlia plant in

By Dawn Sopkanich

Hi,I bought a dahlia plant in a plastic pot from my local greenhouse and planted it in a flower bed...it did beautifully and I had lots of blooms. But one day my dog snapped the whole thing off right above ground level. The foliage was a dark purple color but know I think I have a new sprout coming up except it's green. Is that my dahlia coming back to life or just weeds? Thank you!

Hello; I get a lot of white

By Jean-Marie

Hello;
I get a lot of white spots on the leaves of my dahlia plants. Should I worry?
Gratias.

Your dahlias may have powdery

By Almanac Staff

Your dahlias may have powdery mildew. Remove the leaves with white spots and check with your local nursery or garden store for an antifungal agent.

I have gorgeous new dahlia

By J ylleK

I have gorgeous new dahlia growth/foliage including buds on one plant! I didn't realize until now that deer eat dahlias and I have the majority of mine planted outside a fenced-in area. Can I move the dahlias without causing trauma or do I just keep my fingers crossed Bambi doesn't dine on them?

Try sprinkling Milorganite

By Chibimimi

Try sprinkling Milorganite around the plants. Deer don't like the smell and avoid the plants. This has worked well for me with my dahlias, hostas, and other deer magnets.

I have not planted my dahlias

By alicias

I have not planted my dahlias this year due to heavy rainfall, can I store them over this blooming season and upcoming winter to replant next spring? Will they not survive if they skip a planting this year?

Do the best you can to get

By Almanac Staff

Do the best you can to get them into the ground. Survival as you describe is quite risky.

I bought a hanging basket of

By Glenda Melvin

I bought a hanging basket of dahlia's (my late mother-in-love's name, by the way) and nothing I have read tells me what to do with the spent blooms. Do I pull the brown part out of the still green holder or do I trim the stem down or what?

I bought some Dahlia tubers,

By Tasha1978

I bought some Dahlia tubers, along with many spring planting bulbs, on sale from Menards 2 years ago at the end of the season. Thought I would wait until the following spring to plant, but didn't have time to plant anything last year. This year, I dug out all the tubers I had stored in our basement and am set to plant, but all the bulbs and tubers look to be completely dried out. Don't want to waste my time planting them if they won't produce. Is it possible for them to still produce?

It doesn't sound promising,

By Almanac Staff

It doesn't sound promising, Tasha. Wrinked and/or shriveled tubers have missed their opportunity.

I really, really want to grow

By GradStudentAlex

I really, really want to grow dahlias for my mid-March wedding in Florida (Zone 9b) - I know they're not very cold hardy, and I saw that they should start blooming around 8 weeks after they're planted (assuming planted from tubers or seed?), but do you think it's possible to start them in early January indoors in Florida with grow lamps and then move them outdoors (in pots probably so if it does drop in temp they can move back inside) once it warms up - what temperature would outside need to be at to get them going?
Thanks so much!

This is a relatively

By Almanac Staff

This is a relatively complicated process (that is, relative to planting in ground) but apparently quite do able.
Gardeners in Alaska do it, as shown in pictures here (http://www.alaskamastergardeners.org/Dahlias.html); note that specific lighting details are not provided.
Gardeners in Nove Scotia do it: More info on lighting is here https://sites.google.com/site/novascotiadahliasociety/growing-advice/starting-tubers
And a gardener in Colorado does it and provides a lot of detail here: http://www.dahlias.net/seabox/lightem.htm
Hope this helps!
 

I purchased a dahlia from my

By Mig Case

I purchased a dahlia from my local nursery. It is 1 1/2 ft tall and established. It came in a plastic pot. I wanted to get it in to a bigger clay pot for the summer. When transplanting the small roots stuck to the sides of the pot so I had to pull it from the plastic pot. It is now living in a clay pot plenty big enough, in the sun and has been watered. It is NOT happy. Is it in "shock"? and will it come back. I fear I have done something wrong. Thanks in advance for your advice.

Hi, Mig, Your dahlia could be

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Mig, Your dahlia could be in shock so give it a little time. Ideally the soil in the "new" pot is a combination of sterilzed potting soil (you don't want to contribute pest or problems to the mix), peat moss, and perlite. And you have set the tuber 1 to 2 inches deep, horizontally in the pot. And the tuber is not soaking wet. And it should get sun.
Hope this helps—

Hello there. I was wondering

By dwolffe

Hello there. I was wondering if I could trouble you for some advice. I am attempting to grow flowers for my friends wedding and need all the help i can get. i bought dahlias from a local farm. They were in four packs and were about one 1/2 feet-2 feet tall and some were just starting to bloom. I am reading that you have to plant dahlias two feet apart at least. Is this true for the dahlias I bought, or is this more when you start them from tubers....

I have two options. One is a raised bed which is only about four feet by four feet and seven inches deep. The other is to plant dahlias in five gallon buckets. I was thinking one to each bucket though right now that seems insane to me. If I used the raised bed I'd space them about a foot apart, but don't want to crowd them.

Any advice you can provide is greatly appreciated. I would like to at least have some flowers as filler for the wedding.

Another thought: Consider the

By Almanac Staff

Another thought: Consider the size of the flowers when determing the space between dahlias, and that can be gleaned from the variety of the plant. Ask the folks at the local farm what type of dahlias they sold. "Dinner plate" dahlias produce very large blooms, for example, and would benefit from a lot of space between each.

The dahlia is probably still

By Almanac Staff

The dahlia is probably still in shock from being transplanted and moved outside into a sunny location. Wait a few days and see how it is doing.

My dahlias looked healthy (I

By Reb314

My dahlias looked healthy (I planted them early this spring) but after a few days of rain, one of them is wilting. I checked the soil and it is still wet from when the rain stopped about 2 days ago. I live in Tampa Fl and the plants are somewhat shaded from the heat of the afternoon sun. Should I be worried and what can I do to keep my dahlias (dinner plate) healthy? I've seen them sort of wilt a little bit then pops right back up.

Dahlias do best in

By Almanac Staff

Dahlias do best in well-drained soil and don't like "wet feet". You can try to amend the soil with compost to make it drain better.

I just bought several boxes

By geneva

I just bought several boxes of Dahlias from the Grocery Outlet in Petaluma for $5.99 each. The brand is TotalGreen and they are supposedly from Holland. They are enclosed in black plastic bags. I cut one of these bags open and see that the tuber has lots of spindly growth--maybe 4 white shoots about 16 inches long to 8 inches long a piece and they look like white asparagus, extremely anemic, but the actual tubers are ok, meaning not rotted or dried out. Should I return them? Should I pinch all this off and stick them in the ground. If so how would I know which direction to plants them in? The colors on the box looked fabulous but if they are too compromised to bloom this year, I am not interested in keeping them. Any advise is appreciated.

Hi Geneva, Plant the tubers

By Almanac Staff

Hi Geneva,
Plant the tubers in the ground as soon as possible. Don't cut the shoots. This is normal and these are the beginnings of the new growth. The shoots are white because they have been enclosed in a black bag and not seen light.

Should those shoots be plant

By donnieg79

Should those shoots be plant above ground of below?

I live in zone 5 and my

By Angela L

I live in zone 5 and my sister wants to try for dahlias at her September wedding. When is the best time to plant for mid-September blooms?

Hi Angela, Plant the dahlias

By Almanac Staff

Hi Angela,
Plant the dahlias early June for late summer blooms. When they start blooming keep cutting the flowers and the plants will grow bigger and bushier and produce more blooms.

thank you for the response;

By Angela L

thank you for the response; this is very helpful!

I now have a weelbarrow full

By Bill Bogins

I now have a weelbarrow full of dahlia tubors from 3 years of growing. Started with about 30 from my mother. Both she and I have had the same problem. The colored ones seem to all become white in subsequest years. We have added new varieties and they all seem to eventually become the same variety. Are there more dominant varieties / colors that take over the genetics? By the way, the all seem to become white as years go by. Odd

I planted I think 9 clumps of

By Phyllis M.

I planted I think 9 clumps of dahlias , in several pots , never doing this before in was confused by different instructions , I did use some small pots but mostly larger one but not huge pots , I read some where where it said about 2 inches of soil on top , then. I watered them , now I read something different ,I shouldn't have watered them , I live in florida on west coast , I used the miracle grow plant soil as down here the soil is sand n I never see flowers in ground mostly grown in pots ! I went to a lot of trouble , but now I'm concerned that I did everything wrong ! I guess I'll just have to wait and see , as I don't want to dig them all up again, I'm a young 75 but I wanted some easy I know I need or will need stakes as they grow high ! Wish me luck n hope I'm doing something right !

Hi Phyllis, Your dahlias will

By Almanac Staff

Hi Phyllis,
Your dahlias will be fine. They do need some water so check them often to see if the soil is dry. Hopefully by now you already have some dahlias growing.

I started my dahlias a few

By Nancy Bell

I started my dahlias a few weeks ago and have been putting them out each day and bringing them in at night. Last night I forgot! Most of the leaves have turned black but stems still look viable. Should I just peel off the black leaves and wait to see if new growth comes or should I cut back them stems?

The dahlia foliage is blacked

By Almanac Staff

The dahlia foliage is blacked by frost damage. The roots, however, are still alive. Remove the frost kill and see if the plant recovers. If not, you may still be able to lift the roots and store.

I just bought 2 dahlia

By marcy brown 71

I just bought 2 dahlia twynings smarties bulbs. Purple and white. I want to plant them in pots that I have painted to glow in the dark. But I'm not sure how they will do in pots. I live in sc.

We think of dahlias as

By Almanac Staff

We think of dahlias as flowers that do best in the ground, however, here is an article on The American Dahlia Society site all about how to grow dahlias in containers.

http://www.dahlia.org/index.php?page=growing-dahlias-in-pots

Hope this helps!

Although I have a lot of

By Jean Shep

Although I have a lot of experience planting bulbs, I have never planted dahlias. I live in Petaluma CA in Sonoma county. On impulse I bought two bags of 10 each dahlias at Costco.
Now I see they are tubers! I had planned on putting them into two large pots (like I do bulbs), but reading here you seem to suggest 1 tuber per pot! EeeeK! Really?
Do you have any ideas about how to handle 20 tubers short of putting them in the ground? This soil is solid clay!
The tubers are: Blue Bell, American Dawn, Karma Pink Corona and Karma Corona.
Any help would be seriously appreciated!

Dahlia's do not do well in

By Lee Elliott

Dahlia's do not do well in pots unless they are big pots. They need at least 12' diameter of loose soil to grow properly and healthy, meaning 12" diameter at 8 to 10" deep, not just 12" diameter at the top of pot. If grown in small diameter you will get thick stem but only one or two and low flower productivity. Loose soil is important, hard pack soil is terrible for these flowers, not too much nitrogen either. They say you need to dig up every year, I find I get 3 to 5 years per plant and they keep producing without digging up as long as soil is loose and not hard pack. Best to grow in ground but remember, do not choke their room off underground, If you have hard clay dig a hole at least 12" deep and 12" diameter to the bottom and fill with good loose topsoil.

Dahlias are best grown in the

By Almanac Staff

Dahlias are best grown in the ground. If you try containers, use a pot size no smaller than 12 x 12 inches per tuber. For pots, dwarf dahlias work best not standard sizes. Use 2 parts garden soil, 1 part potting soil that has not been treated in any way. Water and keep your soil slightly damp. After plants are 12 inches high, potted dahlias will require extra watering and fertilizing to promote proper blooming.

Has anyone ever tried in

By AzDonata

Has anyone ever tried in Arizona deserts? I just planted 6 Dahlias a week ago, have them in garden where they will only get am sun as to try and protect them, if they come up I will likely start shading them by end of March. I know I will need to dig up, like I do my Rannanculas-my question ism can they survive that long out of the soil? Or would it be better for me to dig up and put in pots and bring in house once it is too hot outside for storage until next spring?

Although growing dahlias in

By Almanac Staff

Although growing dahlias in very hot areas can be a challenge, some people have had success. Be sure that your dahlias are one of those varieties that are more heat tolerant. As you have, choose a site that is out of direct sun for part of the day, and be sure the soil is well-drained and rich. Shade during periods of high heat. Provide thick mulch (about 2 to 4 inches) to protect the roots. Mist during the day, to keep up the humidity, and water regularly. (The soil should be moist but not waterlogged.) Some gardeners in Zone 9 and warmer areas do not dig up the tubers except for about every 2 to 3 years to divide them. To overwinter in the ground, cut the stalks back to about 1 inch. (Some people place plastic or tin foil over the stalks to help prevent rot.) Then cover the stalks and tuber with about 6 inches of mulch. Water the area occasionally in winter, as needed, to prevent the tubers from drying. In spring, remove the plastic/tin foil covering (if using), and most of the mulch.

Just thought I'd chime in to

By Rob A.

Just thought I'd chime in to let you guys know that I experimented with Dahlia tubers last year here in hot and quite humid Lahaina, in Hawai'i. I planted seven tubers, all in terra cotta pots that were big and deep. I am fascinated by the dinner plate type that produce huge blooms! I staked the pots as I knew they could get tall...low and behold, in 90 or so days, I had Kelvin Floodlight flowers that were as big as my head! Behind that, came the purple, not as big but still beautiful 8" blooms and so on... I left them in the sun all day long, but watered in the early am. and then again early pm. I have since removed all the grass from my front yard and have started 75 plants this year! yup, I am going crazy over "Dahlias"... Aloha!

I would love to see pics of

By AzDonata

I would love to see pics of your Dahlia garden

WOW! I would love to see a

By Vickie B

WOW! I would love to see a picture of your dahlias you have started in your front yard!

Thank you

By AzDonata

Thank you

Hello, I have a quick

By Niki Pool

Hello,

I have a quick question regarding growing dahlia tubers in pots. I'm in zone 9 (Central Cali). I recently purchased some tubers, and I'm planning this weekend to dig up my selected growing area (nice morning sun, a protected a bit from the hot hot afternoon heat) and add compost for help grow. We have terrible soil in this area. Would it be a good idea to start my tubers in pots inside now, so when everything is ready, I can just plant them quickly?

Thank you :)

Terrible soil and California

By The Beacon

Terrible soil and California and not found in print with the rare exceptions of people who say they are from Cali. Chances are you garden on top of fill dirt in long but narrow beds. Since you live in a development and not a neighborhood, you lack the shade from mature trees.
Just amend your soil and watch the refractive heat from the side of your building

Oops, forgot to mention,

By Niki Pool

Oops, forgot to mention, size! Is a pot slightly bigger than the tuber or is larger more ideal?

For full-size dahlias, a pot

By Almanac Staff

For full-size dahlias, a pot about 12 to 20 inches wide and deep (or wider) works well. (Taller varieties will do better with the larger sizes.) Ideally, plant only one tuber per container, although some gardeners have had success with more than one in a pot.

I live in Prince Edward

By Wendy Pobjoy

I live in Prince Edward Island, Canada(zone 5b). My daughter wants dahlias for her wedding(Cafe Au Lait a preference). The wedding will be mid July. If I start the tubers inside can I hope for bloom by mid-July? How early should I start them? (First frost-free date June 15.) Thank you so much if you take the time to answer. It is very difficult information to find.

It's a good idea to get an

By Almanac Staff

It's a good idea to get an early start by planting the tubers in containers indoors and then planting them outdoors when the soil is nice and warm. Dahlias start blooming about 8 weeks after planting. Make sure to use large containers and keep them in a sunny warm area.

I am new to flowers, and I am

By jessicaleigh

I am new to flowers, and I am planning on growing dahlias for cutting. I live in the north napa valley, zone 9. I ordered a variety of heirloom seeds.should I start them indoors now? Should I direct sow them? Do they take longer from seed than from tubers? If I had a vegetable garden in the plot last year, do I need to amend the soil? It's valley floor here, so it's got some clay in it. Thanks

Hi Jessica, Now is a good

By Almanac Staff

Hi Jessica,
Now is a good time to start the seeds indoors. Dahlias are easy to start from seed and they should germinate in 5 to 7 days. Use a good light potting mix and move the seedlings into bigger pots as they grow. Dahlias started from seed will bloom this summer but the plants may be smaller than dahlias planted from tubers.
 

I just bought Dahlia bulbs at

By Elisa

I just bought Dahlia bulbs at the store and I live near napa ca. Should I wait to plant? The package says between feb and march.

I just dug up my plants and

By David Grandy

I just dug up my plants and separated the tubers from the clump before storage. Will I have a problem the next time I plant?

I agree you'll be fine. I

By Shanfan

I agree you'll be fine.
I live in Michigan having moved from the UK. The whole digging up for winter thing was new to me last Fall and when I dug up I split the clumps. I'd planted 2 tubers originally. This year I'll be finding space for 14! It's fine to split the tubers before storing! :)

You'll be fine. Honestly,

By Almanac Staff

You'll be fine. Honestly, every gardener has a different approach. Here's more detail from a page that we like by the WSU extension: http://skagit.wsu.edu/MG/2007AA/102607.pdf

Quick question! I live in

By Vickie B.

Quick question! I live in zone 7A, pretty close to the 7B border....in the Piedmont area of NC. Should I dig up my dahlia bulbs in the fall, and if yes, how should I store them? Thanks!

Your dahlias may survive in

By Almanac Staff

Your dahlias may survive in the ground with an added thick layer of mulch, but digging and storing is a safer bet. See our information about storing the tubers on this page.

Can you propagate dahlias

By Mrs. Z

Can you propagate dahlias from cutting? If so how is this done? I live in Jacksonville, FL."

Yes, you can. Usually,

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you can. Usually, dahlias are propagated from dividing the dahlia's clump of tuberous roots. That would be our preferred method. The reason to propagate from a cutting is to Propagating dahlias from cuttings is usually to preserve a valuable variety. You start roots indoors and take a cutting when the new shoots develop and there are two sets of leaves. Plant the cutting in a moist medium such as vermiculite at 1/2 inch to 1 inch deep. Keep the medium moist and warm at all times.

If I am looking to have

By Shannon Harrington

If I am looking to have Dahlia's for my wedding centerpieces in mid-August in Central Oregon, would that work for the timing of when they bloom? From what I can tell, it would. Also...any suggestions on where to buy large amounts of bloomed dahlia's for my wedding in central Oregon in the summer?

Yes, dahlias bloom in August

By Almanac Staff

Yes, dahlias bloom in August and it's a perfect flower for special events.
You can contact a cut your own farm like this one in Portland, OR.
http://www.krugersfarmmarket.com/flowers.html
or check out other gardens that sell flowers in bulk for special occations.
http://www.lemeragardens.com/ is one example.
You can also ask your friends and family to plant dahlia tubers in the spring and then cut the blooms for your wedding in August.
Good luck!
 

How do u get seeds from the

By Vincent Agius

How do u get seeds from the flower?

I have 2 pots of dahlia's (1

By Michele Aye

I have 2 pots of dahlia's (1 tall pink and 1 short red & white) that I have put on my deck for 2years now. In the fall I bring inside and store pot and all in a cool room and only water once a month. The foliage stays nice until about January then dies off. Around March the new foliage starts and end of April I put back on my deck. I live in southern NC and am still getting flowers now mid-Oct.

I planted 2 10 pots each with

By RonN

I planted 2 10 pots each with a Dahlietta Louise plant this year. They did very well and I just cut them back to the soil. Any chance I can just store them in the pots for the winter in my unheated garage in central New Jersey and they will come back next year?

You can store the dahlias in

By Almanac Staff

You can store the dahlias in the pots. Just make sure that the garage doesn't get too cold in the winter. You can cover the pots with a blanket or tarp to give the bulbs a bit more protection. Also make sure that the soil is not too wet.

I live in Portland Oregon and

By KCita

I live in Portland Oregon and I'm going to risk leaving the dahlias in overwinter. When is it a good time to cut them back into what height?

Make sure your plants have

By Almanac Staff

Make sure your plants have good drainage, and that they are set deep enough (6" or more). When the stalks brown and die around November, you can cut them back to just below ground level. Place plastic sheeting over the area, to protect the tubers from rot from winter rain. Next, add about 3 to 4 inches of mulch over the plants. In March, remove the mulch and plastic.

i have the european dahlias

By victoria nguyen

i have the european dahlias and they were growing amazingly well! but for some reason parts of the branches started turning yellow and slowly dying. i live in zone 9 southern california. It has been really hot lately but we have watered them everyday. i dont know what to do help. I am trying to save them, please let me know what i can do.

Yellowing leaves could mean

By Almanac Staff

Yellowing leaves could mean several things, such as a fungus or virus, an insect pest (such as leafhoppers or aphids, which can spread viruses), or a cultural problem, such as heat or drought, or even overwatering. Make sure your plants have plenty of air circulation, good drainage, and only water when the soil feels dry down to about 1 inch below surface--the tubers can rot if overwatered. The soil should be dry, but not overly so. If a heat wave comes, try sheltering the plants with shade cloth or a screen of some kind. For fungus troubles, ask a garden nursery for the best control. For viruses, there is no cure, and the plants are best discarded. For leafhoppers or aphids, try applying insecticidal soap. For more advice about controls, you might check with a garden nursery.

my sister just bought 2

By teresa and michelle

my sister just bought 2 dahlias not realizing they were not perennials. It is last day of August and she does not want to plant them. Can she keep them in the pots over the winter and then plant in spring?

We doubt they will survive in

By Almanac Staff

We doubt they will survive in pots if you bring them indoors. Store the tubers (see above) and plant the following spring.

I started dahlia seeds spring

By Shirley L. Curtis

I started dahlia seeds spring 2013. Now have gorgeous plants approximately 30" and well branched and blooming. Question is, will I have any tubers? Or is the seed sold by seed houses of a different type of dahlia.

Yes, you will get tubers the

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you will get tubers the first year. You can then propagate that plant via tubers in later years to get offspring of the same type. If you collect seed from your seed-grown plant, however, they will likely not be the same as the parent (in other words, not come true). Some people enjoy the variable results when growing 2nd generation seed, and save the newly formed tubers of those plants to grow in future years. Others prefer the predictability and quality of the plants when grown directly from tuber divisions (or also, cuttings). Note: The type of dahlias offered in seed packets are usually of the smaller bedding or dwarf variety, good for cut flowers and in borders and containers. If you want show-quality, huge blooms, go for cuttings or tuber divisions.
Note: We'd like to say thank you to the reader who disagreed with our original comment; we have corrected our response!

Uhm, just one

By Su Mac

Uhm, just one question:

Exactly how far removed from "true" are third generation Dahlia seed pods?

Does their beauty just become more unpredictable? Or should I not fall asleep near them?

SM

WOW! So much great info in

By Su Mac

WOW! So much great info in one paragraph! Just the answer this beginner was looking for, plus one or two things I would have never guessed about growing Dahlias from seeds.

I thank you and my garden thanks you :)

Sumac
Mendocino Coast, CA

I have the biggest dahlia

By Margaret Pitts

I have the biggest dahlia plants but no flowers. What am I doing wrong?

Assuming they were planted

By Almanac Staff

Assuming they were planted correctly, you could use a high phosphorus fertilizer to encourage bloom. D not use a fertilizer containing nitrogen--it inhibits bloom, weak tubers, or rot.

I planed dhalias in the

By Lucinda Epperson

I planed dhalias in the spring and we have had many many days of rain and storms During the most recent storm lots of my stems broke from the plant and I need to know how to cut back some of the other stems that seem too tall and heavy to survive another storm. My plants are about 3-4 ft now.

It's a good practice to pinch

By Almanac Staff

It's a good practice to pinch (or prune) the center growth stalk. This will allow more laterals (side shoots) to grow and you'll get more flowers. For bigger blooms remove more stems and only keep three to five flowering stems per plant; for smaller blooms keep seven to ten stems.
 

I have about 20 or so Dahlia

By Kim-Blaze

I have about 20 or so Dahlia tubers I bought from local stores like Menards but didn't get them in the ground yet and it is middle of August, should I still plant them or put them in the box with packing peanuts and store them for the winter and plant them next spring? Could I put them in pots and grow them in the house over the winter, what is the best thing to do?

As they are still tubers,

By Almanac Staff

As they are still tubers, store your dahlia tubers in a cool, dry place and plant in spring. See more comment on this page.

I have the dahlia starsister

By jenbrooke

I have the dahlia starsister red and white in a pot on my deck and they are blooming beautifully. I live north of Atlanta. I don't really want to store them dry, so I was wondering if I should plant them in the ground in the fall or if they will survive the winter in the pot outdoors.

It's better to plant the

By Almanac Staff

It's better to plant the dahlias in the ground before winter. After the first freeze cut the tops off and add a little mulch. Put a stake next to the dahlias so that you don't dig them up by accident next spring. Good luck!

I have a long stem plant and

By Jennifer Seay

I have a long stem plant and last week the leaves started wilting. It has bloomes all season until the leaves wilted. I am in North FLorida and we have had alot of rain but the pot drains well. Is there any way to rescue it?
.

Dahlias usually wilt because

By Almanac Staff

Dahlias usually wilt because they are overheating with too much sun and warmth. Water regularly and move them to a location with less afternoon sun.

I have some dahlia tubers ,

By Rhona Proctor

I have some dahlia tubers , should I keep them till spring or plant them in my veggie garden now , the tubers are in plastic bags with sawdust. I live in BC canada

At this point, store your

By Almanac Staff

At this point, store your dahlia tubers in a cool, dry place.
We wouldn't use plastic. Put in a brown paper bag or layer in a cardboard box with newspaper. Sprinkle each tuber with some garden sulphur to eliminate any fungus or mold while they over winter. Plant in the spring after all danger of frost has passed and the soil temperature in the top 6 inches is at least 50 degrees or you risk decay and rot.

My Father was given several

By Anne Morgan

My Father was given several different colored dahlia bulbs from a neighbor. Last year they all bloomed beautifully. He followed all wintering and planting suggestions again and this year only the red bloomed. Any idea what the problem might be? Thanks

Possibly the tubers where

By Bryson Gillenwater

Possibly the tubers where eaten,rotted,have not been divided.

Anne, it's not clear if you

By Almanac Staff

Anne, it's not clear if you dad's other dahlias grew but did not produce flowers, so we will assume that's the case.
Nonetheless, there is no easy answer. It may be that the nonbloomers got too much nitrogen (first number of the three on a fertilizer package should be low) and/or not enough light. Basic top soil is adequate.
That said, at least one source recommends giving the plant/s fish emulsion.
Another: Grow in morning sun, and be sure they get 6 hours of sun per day.
That's all we can say about this. The color factor is a puzzle. Why not ask the neighbor if he/she ever had this problem.
Best wishes!

Thanks so much I will pass on

By Anne Morgan

Thanks so much I will pass on the suggestions and ideas. Unfortunately his neighbor is no longer gardening or available to ask. Appreciate your help!

I have these huge pink

By Amy Otto

I have these huge pink dahlias that just bloomed. Plate sized. About 2 weeks ago. I live in Wisconsin. I see no problems with the greenery or stems or anything. But the flower itself is starting to look like its dying already? Are dahlias only supposed to last a couple weeks? Or is something wrong? Am I not feeding it enough? Watering it enough? We have had fairly good weather. Minimal rain. But last week, all week it was almost 100 every day with heat index. Could that have been it? It lasted for almost 4 days. Then dropped back down to normal temps of 70's-80's. But is getting really cold at night. Last night down to 40's. could the weather be killing the flowers?
Thank you!

Deadhead them. It will

By Bryson Gillenwater

Deadhead them. It will rebloom. If it does get cold put a plastic tarp over them.

Dahlias are known for having

By Almanac Staff

Dahlias are known for having a long blooming season. Each dahlia tuber will produce many blooms. After one flower is spent, be sure to deadhead the spent bloom which will encourage more flowering. Once established, dahlias like a deep watering 2 or 3 times a week with a soaker hose. You should add a nitrogen-soluble fertilizer every few weeks. In terms of hot weather: It's can make them limp along, but adding mulch and misting the plants can help them get through it. If you live in a warm place, buying heat-tolerant varieties is also a good idea!

i live in northern utah. Do i

By noy nanda

i live in northern utah. Do i need to dig up the roots in the fall??

Dahlias are hardy to zone 8

By Almanac Staff

Dahlias are hardy to zone 8 where they can be cut back and left in the ground to overwinter. In zone 7b, dahlias sometimes overwinter in the ground depending on the severity of the winter. It is recommended the tuberous roots be lifted and stored during the winter. Northern Utah has several different zones. See the USDA Hardiness Map for your zone: http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/

I have several dahlias in my

By Betty A.

I have several dahlias in my yard that are growing great, with no effort. I planted more in a different area and the new buds that form turn black! Also some of the new tubers are very slow to grow and obviously wont flower this year. What am I doing wrong?? We live in Sonoma Co., Calif. Thanks

We're not familiar with a

By Almanac Staff

We're not familiar with a disease or pest that causes black buds. Perhaps you want to dig up one and see if you have rot? Sometimes dahlias are slow to grow when adjusting to a new place and survival rate is low for the first planting. Be sure to avoid nitrogen fertilizer until plants are close to flowering. 

I talked to a commercial

By Betty A.

I talked to a commercial dahlia grower in my area; he said the buds were burned from the extreme heat we had for a few days.

Thank you.

By Betty A.

Thank you.

I bought a lovely small

By Helen J

I bought a lovely small Dahlia plant with lots of buds and pink flowers, I watered it a little each day in the pot for a week till I was able to plant it. After a few days it started to wilt. I then planted it in a sunny but protected position away from windy weather, it quickly declined and the leaves wilted, the flowers wilted and eventually became crisp and soggy. What did I do wrong please? What should I do with it now to rescue for another year? Please help, as it was very beautiful.

There could be several

By Almanac Staff

There could be several reasons why a potted dahlia might wilt.
 
* Does the pot have good drainage? You don't want any water to sit in the pot at the base, which will encourage rot. Do you think that the store where you purchased it gave it reliable care, not overwatering it to start root rot (that is just now showing up in symptoms)?
 
* Was there a hot spell recently? Depending on where you live, where the pot is (on hot pavement or cool grass), and what the weather has been like, the plant may have gotten too much heat.
 
* There are several wilt diseases (fungal, viral, or bacterial) that appear first as wilting of lower leaves. Do the stems have any black or mushy areas? Are there any yellow streaks/veins on leaves or stems? If this is fusarium or verticillium wilt, or a virus, you should destroy the plant, and get rid of the soil (the pathogens live in the soil). Botrytis blight can cause browning of flowers. Stem rot causes leaves to yellow and wilt, roots to rot. To avoid disease, disinfect your tools with a dilute solution of bleach before you use them on each plant. Rotate where you plant dahlias each year (because some diseases overwinter in the soil). Provide good air circulation; allow soil to dry a bit before watering. If your soil is heavy, lighten it by adding some peat moss or similar soil amendment. Check tubers before winter storage for any signs of disease or insect problems; cut out any affected parts.
 
* Check for insects; entrance holes at the base of the stem; or tiny spots along the petals, base of the flower, or along the leaves. Sometimes thrips, aphids, or other sap-sucking insects can cause damage, such as ragged or brown areas on the flower, or wilting leaves. Borers can tunnel into the stems.

My brother gave me tubers and

By gay

My brother gave me tubers and just plant it last week.. i live in n.j.Is that ok.

Dahlias bloom about 8 weeks

By Almanac Staff

Dahlias bloom about 8 weeks after planting. They prefer to planted in the spring so they hit flowering mid-July or so. However, they may flower for you by September or October before the frost. Otherwise, you could just put them in storage through the winter. Since you live in NY, you'll need to dig them up either way in the fall and store over the winter. Pack in sawdust or peat moss in a cool, dark place. Don't let them get moist or they'll rot.

I have the the long stem

By Lily Hagan

I have the the long stem dahlias, and wondered how exactlu I should dead head them. Just below the old flower or down the stem
Thank you
Lily Hagan

Deadhead the spent flower

By Almanac Staff

Deadhead the spent flower just above the point where the flower stem joins a main stem. Take care not to cut the buds!

My dahlia blooming

By Xing Li

My dahlia blooming beautifully now. But every year close to August, the plant has these deadly problem. From where the top of the soil is, the stem start grow these white little spots t, then start rot right there. The. The large part of stem become decay from the inside finally empty. Like something is eating it. The flowers keep blooming at these time, until the stem is rotten, then my plant die even some of flowers still blooming. It come back every year but I really want to know how to prevent these. Thank you very much!

It sounds like stem rot.

By Almanac Staff

It sounds like stem rot. White mold is encircling the stem, typically because the dahlias are growing in heavy or wet soil. The best treatment is: improving drainage and avoiding overcrowding. Also, rotate your plants to new sites occasionally.

I have beautiful Dhalias in

By Nanu

I have beautiful Dhalias in full bloom in my garden. But these are attracting bugs and flies. I want to bring these inside home but without bugs and flies. What should I do?

Dahlias really don't bloom

By Almanac Staff

Dahlias really don't bloom well indoors. You didn't say where you live, but if you live in a cold climate, you have to lift the tubers in the fall and store inside through the winter. When you bring inside, dust them with powdered sulfur. Spray with Orthene, a systemic insecticide, as new growth begins next season. That will reduce the bug population.

Is July 4th too late to plant

By Susan JL

Is July 4th too late to plant dahlias in New York?

In New York, it's better to

By Almanac Staff

In New York, it's better to plant dahlias in the spring after the last frost--when the lilac bushes are in full bloom.

I discovered dahlias just

By MikeBoothe

I discovered dahlias just this spring; one of the types I have is the exact one for your e-card above. The other is Dahlinova Hypnotica Yellow. I was really hoping to get some nice photos of these but not now. They did great for a while, but the yellow has stopped blooming completely, only a couple of flower buds are visible. The other one, I don't know what happened. The flowers were plentiful and large, then started getting smaller and fewer. The leaves turned brown and dry, like they had not been watered. Both are in the sun, and I have no idea what happened or if they will recover.

Thanks for your post! It's

By Almanac Staff

Thanks for your post! It's hard to diagnose the issue. Often, dahlias get "thrips." The best way to avoid this issue is drip irrigation or directing water onto the soil or mulch and not on the plants themselves.

I have 2 dahlias in the same

By Christine Strong

I have 2 dahlias in the same pot, they are big and bushy, but no buds or flowers. How do you get them to flower??

It's possible that you just

By Almanac Staff

It's possible that you just have a late blooming variety. This isn't uncommon. Assuming they were planted correctly, you could use a high phosphorus fertilizer to encourage bloom. Dont use a fertilizer containing nitrogen--it inhibits bloom.

I am living on apartment 17

By Temesgen

I am living on apartment 17 floors I put my plants on the balcony, squirrel digs the soil some of the plant are dying. Any suggestion please?

Perhaps sprinkle some cayenne

By Almanac Staff

Perhaps sprinkle some cayenne pepper or spray hot pepper in the pots as squirrels don't like that! For more drastic measures, ask your garden center if they have a repellent.

For fall storage of my

By carol gatta

For fall storage of my dahlias I should store them out of the soil and not water them? How do I use the styrofoam peanuts? I live in central/east coast NJ, my basement should be ok for storage? Thanks

I have small hard shell black

By Lee Caldwell

I have small hard shell black bugs eating the blooms before they are opening. What do I use to rid these pest?

You may have thrips on your

By Almanac Staff

You may have thrips on your dahlias. Insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils are available at garden center for control of thrips and other common pests like aphids and spider mites. Reapply the soap or oil after it rains for continued control.

I purchased a potted

By Deborah Glasser

I purchased a potted large(10")chiffon yellow dalhia. It seems to be dying. Bottom leaves wilting, large blooms turning brown. It is in a well draining pot, good soil and full sun. Any suggestions?

There could be several

By Almanac Staff

There could be several reasons. If the pot is well-drained, is the dahlia is getting plenty of water, but not too much to cause rot? Do you think that the store where you purchased it gave it reliable care, not overwatering it to start root rot (that is just now showing up in symptoms)?

Have you fertilized the plant recently? Dahlias are big feeders (but use a low-nitrogen fertilizer; too much nitrogen will decrease flowering).

Was there a hot spell recently? Depending on where you live, where the pot is (on hot pavement or cool grass), and what the weather has been like, the plant may be getting too much heat; if you think this is a possibility, try placing the pot in part shade for a while.

There are several wilt diseases (fungal, viral, or bacterial) that appear first as wilting of lower leaves. Do the stems have any black or mushy areas? Are there any yellow streaks/veins on leaves or stems? If this is fusarium or verticillium wilt, or a virus, you should destroy the plant, and get rid of the soil (the pathogens live in the soil). Botrytis blight can cause browning of flowers.

Check for insects; entrance holes at the base of the stem; or tiny spots along the petals, base of the flower, or along the leaves. Sometimes thrips, aphids, or other sap-sucking insects can cause damage, such as ragged or brown areas on the flower, or wilting leaves. Borers can tunnel into the stems.

I started 2 bulbs in pots a

By Liz N

I started 2 bulbs in pots a few months and the one is over 2 feet tall now! I don't see any flower buds yet, but there must be 6 or 7 new leaf stalks out from the main shoot. It looks strong and healthy. Should I be pinching off some of the leave branches? I read somewhere to pinch the middle shoot after it hits about 20 inches tall, but I am way past that point. I'm not really sure how to care for it at this point. Do I need to stake it? Any advice?

Hi, Liz, Yes, you should

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Liz,
Yes, you should stake it. Insert a cane and and tie it in as it grows.
And you are correct: You need to pinch out the growing tips when your dahlias get to a height of 16 inches or so to encourage branching. Deadhead your blooms as they die off. According to the experts at RHS, "For giant blooms, restrict the number of flowering stems to three to five per plant; for smaller blooms allow seven to 10 flowering stems per plant. To produce a long-flowering display and strong stems, remove the two pairs of flower buds developing in the leaf axils below the terminal bud."

I have some dahlia roots that

By Linda Lafontaine

I have some dahlia roots that I have had in storage from the fall before last. I didn't have any space to plant them last summer. They have been in the basement, they are all wrinkled are there any hope for them.

We've had dahlia tubers last

By Almanac Staff

We've had dahlia tubers last a couple of years. There is no general rule. If they are stored in a cool, dark place and packed in sawdust or something that helps retain moisture, they might be OK. If they're wrinkled, they'll probably still grow. You just don't want them to be rotted! Try it out and see how it goes--and let us know!

can I plant them in Houston

By Darya

can I plant them in Houston Texas? what season in Texas should I plant them?

Best time to plant dahlias in

By Almanac Staff

Best time to plant dahlias in the south is March, early April. You will have best luck with short varieties that get no more than 30 inches tall. You don't need to store the tubers during the colder months. Just leave the tubers in the ground and they should come back the following spring.

I planted 4 dahlias in a pot,

By DoreenH

I planted 4 dahlias in a pot, not knowing the size. Now they are all growing but look like they are too big and crowded in the post. Can I seperate them now? They are not blooming yet but will be in a week or two. Or should I just leave them alone?

Don't separate them but try

By Almanac Staff

Don't separate them but try to carefully move all 4 tubers together with the soil into a bigger pot. Or, you can leave them in the pot and separate them in the fall, after they are done blooming.

My small 20# dog likes to

By Judine

My small 20# dog likes to nibble on the dahlia leaves. Are they toxic?

According to ASPCA dahlias

By Almanac Staff

According to ASPCA dahlias are toxic to dogs and cats.

Do I need to cut them after

By Barbara Wessel

Do I need to cut them after they've bloomed to promote new growth?

Yes, the more you cut

By Almanac Staff

Yes, the more you cut dahlias, the more they will bloom. Dahlias look great in a vase indoors!

I have always had dahlias in

By Gerald Fishelberg

I have always had dahlias in my outdoor garden, in pots and in the ground. I have an indoor garden and would like to add flowering plants. I started with dahlias in a pot. Any advise for survival and blooming.
Thank you. Gf

Select dwarf varieties for

By Almanac Staff

Select dwarf varieties for indoor use. Dahlias need a lot of light, at least 8 hours of bright sunlight. If you don't have a south facing window use grow lights above the pots. Fertilize every 2 weeks.

I purchased my dahlia from a

By Janet Tomlinson

I purchased my dahlia from a nursery and placed it in a small garden of other various plants. The flowers have all died, the bush looks okay, but no bulbs. I have very rich soil so it isn't sandy at all but gets a good amount of sun. I live in Jacksonville, Florida and planted these in May. What should I do?

I have always had more luck

By akk0801

I have always had more luck planting dahlia's in pots versus the ground. I live in Savannah, our soil is just too sandy.

I just bought a pot of

By Melina

I just bought a pot of Dahlias and only have a patio so they will have to stay in a pot. Any idea how long it will live? DO you have tips to give on Dahlias in pots? This is my first time with them. Thanks!

my neighbor gave me some of

By mary wilcox

my neighbor gave me some of her dahlia bulbs and they are all in one large clump. should I break apart and plant individually, or just plant the whole clump?

If it is a big clump, break

By Almanac Staff

If it is a big clump, break it up. Make sure each section has some "eyes" where the new growth will begin.

I have my Dahlias in raised

By Joni Gagne

I have my Dahlias in raised beds. they are about 18 inches apart and were of various colors.They are all coming up purple this year.Can this be reversed and what caused it?

If you grow dahlias from

By Almanac Staff

If you grow dahlias from seed, they will usually change color. If you grow from tubers, they will virtually always produce a plant identical to the parent.

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