Dahlia: One of the best flowering ornamental plant – How to grow and care tips

Dahlia: One of the best flowering ornamental plant – How to grow and care tips
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Photo by Jerald Garner on Unsplash (Image Cropped)

They are a group of bushy herbaceous plants. They grow from small tubers planted in the spring. The flowers are large and have different colors. Their related species include chrysanthemum, zinnia sunflower, and daisy. They are outdoor ornamental plants

Quick Details of Dahlia

Other Common NamesDahlia
TypeFlowering ornamental plant.
MaintenanceLow
FloweringSummer/fall
LightBright direct light
WaterRegular watering. Over watering can damage the plant roots.
TemperatureModerate to warm climate
SoilAny well-drained potting soil
FertilizerAny house plant fertilizer
HabitatNorth America
ToxicityMildly toxic, can cause skin irritation
Common DiseasesPowdery mildew, aphids, snails, etc
Scientific nameDahlia spp

Dahlia Buying Instructions

  • Pant comes in different varieties based on flower colors, pick plant of your choice.
  • Pick plant with lots of flower buds.
  • You can plant two three varieties of plants in same pot to make the pot more attractive.
  • Buy healthy and bushy plant.

Overview of Dahlia

Dahlia is a genus of perennial bushy, tuberous, herbaceous plants, found in Mexico and Central America. A member of the family Asteraceae, there are around 42 species of dahlia, with hybrids commonly grown in the garden. The shape of the flowers is variable, with one head per stem; these can be as small as 5 cm (2 in) in diameter or as big as 30 cm (1 ft). The stems are leafy and range from a height as low as 30 cm (12 in.) to more than 1.8–2.4 m (6–8 ft ). The flowers are not scented so they do not attract insects through the scent. They are multicolored except for blue.

Special feature:

The result of the great variety in the flowers of dahlias is because the plants are octoploids and they have eight sets of homologous chromosomes, whereas most plants have only two. Additionally, dahlias also contain many transposons which genetic pieces that move from place to place on an allele which contributes to their great diversity.

Usage and Advantage of Dahlia

  • They are outdoor ornamental plants.

General Care for Dahlia

Soil: Dahlias thrive in abundant, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5-7.0, which is slightly acidic. In the case of clay soil, apply sand, peat moss or aged manure to make the soil texture lighter and looser for better drainage.

Light: To thrive, Dahlia needs a sunny spot. One region that receives direct sunlight for at least 8 hours is best. Less sun equates to larger plants and fewer blooms. It requires morning sunshine, afternoon shade, except for the hot climates.

Watering: Until the dahlia plants appear there is no need to water the soil; in fact, over-watering can cause tubers to rot. Once dahlias have been established, provide 2 to 3 times a week deep watering with a sprinkler (and more in dry, hot climates) for at least 30 minutes.

Pruning: Pinch out 3-4 inches of the growing center branch when plants are about 1 foot tall to encourage bushier plants and increase stem count and stem length. For bigger flowers, the de-budding (removing the 2 smaller buds in the flower cluster next to the central one) helps. This allows the plant to transfer all its energy into less, but slightly larger, flowers. Bedding dahlias need neither staking nor disbudding; just pinch the growing point to encourage bushiness, and the deadhead as the flowers fade.

Fertilizers: Dahlias benefit from a liquid fertilizer that is low in nitrogen (similar to what you would use for vegetables), such as a 5-10-10 or 10-20-20. Fertilize from midsummer until early autumn, after sprouting and then every 3 to 4 weeks.Over fertilizing can lead to small / no blooms, poor tubers, or rot.

Pests and other problems for Dahlia

One of the commonly caused diseases is powdery mildew. This causes the formation of a white powdery residue on the leaves causing defoliation. It can be treated by using any fungicide. Other than this, the plant is also attacked by slugs and snails, mites, earwigs and cucumber beetles, aphids, etc. spraying soap water or neem oil can prevent the attack of most of the pests.

Propagation of Dahlia

Garden Dahlias are propagated by splitting the tubers or taking sprout cuttings. Bedding dahlias grow readily from seed. They can be grown after winter when the soils become warm and can take a minimum of 4 to 8 weeks to grow.

The most common method of propagation is the splitting of dahlia tubers. Each of the tubers selected should contain an eye.

Sprout cutting: It is possible to get as many as six plants from a single tuber while using sprout cuttings as a propagation technique. Place a tuber in a warm, moist potting soil cup, so that the eye on the narrow end is just above the soil and the rest of the tuber is just below it. The tuber will begin to sprout after two or three weeks in a warm spot. Clip them off near the tuber when they are around 3 inches tall and plant them in a 3-or 4-inch plant filled with potting soil, so the lower leaves are just above the surface of the soil.

Bedding dahlias: Bedding dahlias are grown as annuals and are started from seed. Sow them in the garden directly about two weeks before the last expected frost, covering them with a light soil dusting.

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