Dahlias for Beginners

Dahlias, in my personal opinion, are pretty much the best flower out there.  There may even have been a consideration that a late summer wedding would allow me to have dahlias in my bouquet.  We got married late July and yes, dahlias were a required attendant. This year, I finally decided to muster up the guts and grow some dahlias myself.  I'm not talking about the bitsy little potted dahlias you can pick up in the annuals section of the plant store either.  I'm talking about buying tubers (the bulb-like roots) and growing dahlias literally from the ground up.

Growing Dahlias for Beginners via Year of Serendipity

I'm so pleased to say that it is now Dahlia season and I've had some marginal success growing these gorgeous blooms.  Mom grew them for the first time this year too, so we learned what to do (and what not to do) together.  AND now I'm here to share them with you.

Dahlia Lesson #1

Watering isn't necessary until the tubers decide to pop their little green sprouts above the surface of the soil.  If you overwater before they've popped, the tubers could rot.  I learned this the hard way.  I planted 18 tubers, and only 11 grew.  Once they start growing, water your heart out.

Growing Dahlias for Beginners via Year of Serendipity

Dahlia Lesson #2

Stakes are your BFFs.  As soon as the plants reach a foot or 2, tie them to a stake.  These seriously help them grow sky high.  I staked early, Mom a bit later.  Some of her plants got a little squirly at the base and didn't straighten out once they were staked.  Mine on the other hand?  Even though the tubers claimed 36"-48" tall, several of these guys are reaching well above the top of my 5'-6" head.

Growing Dahlias for Beginners via Year of Serendipity

Dahlia Lesson #3

Aside from liking stakes, the flowers like being cut.  The more blooms you cut, the more they produce.  How sweet is that?  It's like they're MADE to fill up vases throughout my house.  Keep 'em coming!

Growing Dahlias for Beginners via Year of Serendipity

Dahlia Lesson #4

Speaking of cutting them...  As tempting as it is to cut off a bloom as soon as it opens up, resist!  Older blooms will last much longer when cut.  Once you do cut them, though, place them directly into super hot water (not boiling) and then change the water every couple days to maximize their longevity.


I'm beyond the moon about how gorgeous these plants ended up this year!  My only challenge left will be to dig them up before the first frost and preserve the tubers to reuse next year.


What Dahlia growing tips would you add to this list??