Dahlias are the most popular late season flowers but many people do not grow them due to the high maintenance requirements. Here are some interesting facts and horticultural advice on these wow factor plants!
Dahlias are tuberous perennials and come in every colour except true blue and black. They range in flower size from miniature to over 30cm across and can range in height from patio ones around 30cm to Dahlia imperialis the tree Dahlia which can get up to 10 metres tall!
Used to treat epilepsy by the Aztecs
Contains a natural fruit sugar originally given to diabetics and is still being tested today as are many plants in medicine.
Larvae of some butterflies and moths feed on them.
Petals are colourful and edible and as well as being an excellent cut flower can adorn salads or garnish deserts.
Tubers are edible and can be used in salads, stir fries and bakes and still today form part of Mexican cuisine!
Often grown and promoted as annual bedding plants because they are tender. If gown in certain parts of the country or in a sheltered part of the garden they will come back but need a good mulch of straw to see them through the winter.
Dahlia enthusiasts will take them into the greenhouse and go through the ordeal of digging them up after the frosts have blackened the leaves and store the tubers before potting them up and stimulating growth in the Spring.
I place them in large pots in the border and once they have been frosted take them into the greenhouse to store under staging.
My favourite is ‘After Eight’ but it is also with the slugs! We are finding success with home made garlic spray to alleviate this issue.
‘Raspberry Ripple’ was a surprise with dinner plate sized flowers.
I do lean towards the single ones so bees can gain access but they are so diverse there is a flower for every taste and situation.
Lots to learn?
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