Dahlias are a wonderful addition to your cutting garden. Because of their easy maintenance and prolific blooms, they will provide wonderful cuttings to enjoy inside your home when many other flowers are past their peak blooming season. Their rising popularity is due to that ease and the fact that they occur in many colours and sizes from dwarf to the spectacular giant varieties.
dahlia Italiano: Dalia Deutsch: Dahlien (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dahlias will grow almost anywhere but require at least eight hours of sunshine and good drainage to do their best. Wind protection is important also because the stems of larger plants are brittle and blow over easily. Putting in stakes while planting larger flowers may be a good idea. This avoids staking plants as they grow and disturbing the roots.
Unidentified dahlias, Volunteer Park Dahlia Garden, Volunteer Park, Seattle, Washington. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Good soil preparation is particularly important to produce healthy plants, and dahlias must be planted after the danger of frost has passed. Spade the soil to a depth of 20 to 25 centimetres and plant at a depth of 10-15cm. This is also a good time to work in your Fish, Blood & Bone, peat moss and sand or whatever combination works best for your garden. Liquid food with a high potash content every two weeks will keep them healthy and blooming. Average height plants should be placed at least 75cm apart, but you may place miniatures closer together.
Dahlia (Photo credit: . SantiMB .)
Remember to plant larger varieties toward the back of the flowerbed. To increase flowering, pinch off the tip of the main shoot at about 40cm and remove all but five of the shoots in the giant varieties. This produces bushy, stronger plants with more flowers.
A little preliminary work preparing the flower bed and you will have a wonderful cutting garden that will last through the season.