Types of dahlias
There are a lot of different types varieties of dahlias, in a wide range of flower types, shapes and sizes, and a kaleidoscope of flower colours. And now dahlias are enjoying a much-deserved peak in popularity.
Dahlias are easy to grow for general garden culture – as opposed to growing for exhibition purposes, which takes a lot of time, care and attention. Shorter varieties with smaller flowers, such as pompons, balls and some semi-cactus types, are the easiest to grow and provide the most garden colour.
How to grow dahlias
Dahlias are best planted in warm, sunny positions. They are tolerant of a wide range of soils, but are best grown in fertile, well-drained soil.
Plants can be grown from cuttings taken in spring from sprouting tubers, young plants available from garden centres, nurseries and mail order suppliers or from tubers, planted directly in the soil. The tubers are planted 10-15cm (4-6in) deep.
Plant outdoors in beds, borders and containers when the danger of frost has passed – usually May to early June. Planting can be carried out earlier if you can provide some protection from cold winds and frosts. Or you can pot up the tubers in pots of compost and grow them on in a warm greenhouse or conservatory for planting out later.
Dahlias need a good, rich soil, so before planting out, improve the soil with bulky organic matter, soil conditioner or compost to hold plenty of moisture, which they need for a continuous supply of blooms.
Then lightly fork in a general plant food, or use a controlled- or continuous-release plant food to encourage healthy growth.
Suggested planting locations and garden types
City and courtyard gardens, cottage and informal gardens, patios, containers.