The beauty of the season, the dahlias are going crazy. They love the cooler fall weather in the mountains. Dahlias excel at being a beautiful fall flower.
Every year, our dahlia offerings have grown, and I have loved adding different colors, textures, and sizes to our farm each growing season. Dahlias are the main flower we offer in the fall and, as such, get a lot of attention year round. We have learned so much about dahlias by growing them, reading about other growers' experiences, and by hands-on trial and error. I feel like there is always more to learn about this flower.
Care & Maintenance
Where to start? My number one recommendation is to make sure you are starting with healthy, virus-free dahlia stock. Number two is to have a big bottle of Sluggo Plus to use against slugs and earwigs.
Plant tubers sideways in the ground in a sunny location after danger of frost has passed. Space tubers out at least a foot as you plant. Pinch the main stalk when three sets of leaves are present. Use twine, string, stakes, posts, etc to corral dahlias. Pull off lower leaves from plants to help circulation between plants. Make sure to water and fertilize plants regularly.
When harvesting dahlias, start with a clean bucket with clean, cool water and clean snips. Use an alcohol spray to clean snips between plants. From the flower, count down the stem to the third set of leaves. Harvest just above the leaves there. Be careful not to put too many flowers into one bucket as the blooms will get squished. Refrigerate flowers or keep them in a cool, dark room away from maturing fruit.
Other things to consider
You can disbud the side buds of a dahlia to get a bigger middle bloom. By removing the side buds, the plant can put more energy into the main bloom.
Make sure to label your plants as they bloom so that you know what each plant is after they die back at frost.
Over the winter, store tubers at a cool temperature in plastic tubs of vermiculite or wood shavings.
You can try to overwinter your dahlias and leave them in the ground by covering them with a tarp and mulching well.
Other posts about dahlias
This post is part of a year-long series on flowers and plants that we love and grow on the farm. Check out other flowers that we love.