I don’t rely on flower colour as the main-stay of planting designs, but there’s no doubt that an injection of flower colour, as late summer approaches, brings a fresh look to your garden.
Dahlias are perfect for this, they come in lots of warm, bright colours and quite a variety of flower shapes such as pompon, cactus, ball or waterlily.
If you want a more understated, look then choose the simple flower type.
They’re tolerant of a variety of soils, but grow best in well drained soil in full sun.
They’re perfect for cut flowers, so satisfying when you can pick plants from your own garden rather than relying on supermarket flowers.
A little effort is required for such an exuberant display, they’re tender things, so have to be tucked up out of the frost every the winter.
METHOD 1 a little effort:
- Cut down the foliage and dig them up (with a fork rather than a spade to minimise damage) after the first frost,
- Let them dry out naturally
- Store them in a shallow box, covering the plants with dry compost with the top of the plant just peeping out.
METHOD 2 hardly any effort:
Alternativally you can throw caution to the wind and leave them in the ground over winter, the plants will be smaller and flower later :
- Cut the foliage down to a few centimetres after the first frost.
- Cover the crown of the plant with extra compost
- Cross your fingers for a mild winter.
They originate from Central America ( now you see why they don’t appreciate an English winter) and are named after the Swedish botanist, Andreus Dahl.
I hope this inspires you to have a go at growing Dahlias, you don’t even need a garden they’re perfect for growing in pots on a balcony.
Hover over the photos to see the name of the plant.
all images: Jill Anderson