With planting out of the way, it's just a matter of staking when the stems threaten to fall over and the foliage is sprayed when blackfly becomes a nuisance. Even with such simple treatment a surprisingly good display can be obtained.
But it need not be an easy plant. For the enthusiast the growing of Dahlias is an exacting and absorbing hobby. There are soil mixtures and composts to prepare in winter, cuttings to raise from tubers, growing points to pinch out, fertilizer to apply, side shoots to remove, plants to disbud, roots to be kept moist and show blooms to stage.
There are many challenges for the enthusiast; there is the world record twenty one-inch bloom to beat, the elusive blue Dahlia to raise and a variety of show awards to win.
Dahlias are excellent for providing cut flowers and will bloom vigorously throughout the summer until the first frosts. Under the right conditions a single plant may produce up to one hundred blooms.
In colour Dahlias range from vibrant pinks and crimsons through rich hues of mauves and purples to the pastel shades of lilacs, pinks, and creams.
Dahlia Planting Material
Ground Tubers: are obtained from your own garden and dug up in previous autumn then stored over the winter. Every couple of years the tubers should be carefully divided. Make sure that each division has a piece of stem with swollen tubers attached.
Pot Tubers: are obtained from a garden shop or mail order nursery. Pot tubers are convenient and are an easy to handle planting material. It is more economical to use them to provide cuttings which are then rooted for planting out.
Rooted Cuttings: are obtained from a garden shop or mail order nursery. Home-grown tubers are planted in moist compost in March under glass to provide three inch shoots. These are severed and trimmed, then used as cuttings for potting up and then planting out.
Seeds: are obtained from a garden shop or mail order nursery. Sow in gentle heat (60 F.) in late March then plant out in late May. The flowering period is from late July to November.