All About Cleeve Magazine - Plant of the Month - Dahlia
From pompon to dinner plates, dahlia make fabulous cut flowers and provide drama in the garden.
Grown by the Aztecs for its edible tuber these Mexican sun lovers can become large and tall so require space and staking whereas dwarf bush varieties make marvellous choices for pots. Enrich soil with organic matter and add grit for drainage in heavy clay. Feed with seaweed or high potash to fuel flower growth.
Many dahlia are not popular with pollinators, their complicated flower heads stop insects getting to the nectar and pollen but there are a huge variety of single flower dahlia, which get pollinators flocking. Try growing ‘Bishop’s Children’ from seed. They flower and produce a tuber in their first year as well as copious colourful single pollinator-friendly blooms.
Earwigs can plague dahlia so pop a pot of straw upside down on a bamboo cane near your plants and the earwigs will seek sanctuary there rather than your blooms.
Dead heading. New buds and spent buds look similar, so what do you snip off? Pointed buds are spent whilst round heads are new blooms.
Dahlia will continue flowering until first frosts if deadheaded.
This article was featured in the October edition of All About Cleeve local magazine.
Photos © Debi Holland 2021.