I’ve always dabbled a little in dahlias, but last year I treated myself to a few named ones from Swan Island Dahlias. Last year they did great, this year even better!
I did lose a couple (my overwintering technique is sloppy at best) but I like to think of it as natural selection. Eventually I’ll be left with only the dahlias that can tolerate my abuse! Right now if I can only keep them watered and possibly fertilized once more they should put on a great show until frost cuts them down.
I consider dahlias to be as easy to grow as a cabbage. Maybe that’s why some people look down on them, they grow so lush and showy that there’s little room for subtlety and finesse…. which is just fine with me. I grow them best amongst the vegetables where they can be fussed over and freely cut for the house, and they relish the easy life amongst the tomatoes and beans.
I love all kinds of dahlias, but seem to be stuck on the quilled ‘cactus’ types. A six inch wide cactus bloom and a height of about four feet seem just right for my taste, but a look through any dahlia offering will show plants from a half a foot to six with blooms from one inch to twelve…. and daisies, pom poms, dinnerplates, waterlilies, collarettes and more and more in the way of bloom types.
Water, rich soil, and full sun are all these ask of me. They should be staked, but I’m the sort who waits until a storm knocks them all down before I do anything….. I should really reconsider that plan, especially since I just picked up some suitable wood at the DIY store (no excuses!)
I’ve been through dahlia phases before and usually after a couple seasons of digging and replanting I either get bored or end up losing them all to bad winter storage. We’ll see. This latest phase is still burning hot and fierce, and I’m tempted to turn over the entire vegetable patch and fill it with dahlias!
So we’ll see what happens. Dahlia season is just starting and there are more to come, but opinions may change when the temperatures drop. Digging soggy dahlia roots on a cold windy October weekend can really kill a plant lust and I’m far too frugal to just buy new tubers each spring.
Do you bother with dahlias?