||Gardenetta Passion Fruit
Photo - Courtesy of Ball Horticultural Company
To be honest, I have lived in a world of big and tall dahlias for almost 40 years. Several years ago we moved to a condominium with a long balcony. I bought some planters in which to grow lettuce and peas. I soon was squeezing in some low-growing dahlia plants with full flowers that I had seen online. Then I began to add some of Keith Hammet's dwarf dahlias with dark foliage. Both types of plants bloomed for almost five months with minimal care except for removing the spent blooms. I soon found that I was in the midst of a trend.
In the Washington DC area, developers were building bigger homes on smaller lots. This was also happening in other cities and even in their suburbs. Land has become increasingly valuable, and the buyers want minimal upkeep. Plants are for decoration rather than gardening.
Potted and low-growing dahlias are complementary with these trends - great color, interesting form, and a long bloom period. They are sold and treated as annuals, although the tubers can be dug, divided and stored over the winter.
I still grow more than 50 tall dahlias in my son's backyard. Old habits die hard. But I also enjoy my low-growing container dahlia plants growing just outside the kitchen door. My wife, Grace has some very small vases, and container blooms find their way to the kitchen table.
Hints for growing container dahlias:
- Plant after the risk of frost ends
- Water about once a week when it does not rain
- Sprinkle a time-release fertilizer
- Trim the spent blooms
Everyone has room for a container dahlia or three! They are available from the major garden suppliers like Burpee, or from good garden centers.
With dahlias on my mind,