American Dahlia Society

News from ADS!


You may have a garden (or garden section) of just dahlias, or perhaps you have a  necklace of dahlias around the perimeter of your garden. On the other hand, the "sprinkle approach" tends to take place in public gardens, where the horticulturist has multiple interests and audiences.

Even when grown in containers, you may have a solitary plant or dahlias may belong to the corps de ballet. I have never been a casual dahlia grower, but lately I have come to appreciate how the dahlia fits in a bed (or container) with other plants and shrubs. A number of the photos in illustrate this approach.

If you opt for solitary plants in containers you can re-position the containers periodically on your deck or patio - or even in the garden or landscaping - putting beauty and color just where it is needed as the season progresses.  Is there a boring spot where the spring perennial is long gone? A pot of blooming dahlias can come to the rescue!  Just don't forget to water your containers if they are in the garden or landscaping.

Wherever your dahlias are growing this June they should be "topped" to increase the size of the plant and the number of blooms. A bush of blooms is striking, even if the individual blooms are smaller than a solitary one.

If one of your goals is to use dahlias as cutting flowers it is necessary to have stems long enough to fit in a vase. Pick out the side shoots that grow at the leaf axes of the lateral stalks [where the stem of the foliage meets the stalk of the lateral stalk].  Leave the leaves. (See the grooming article below if this terminology is confusing.)

Many dahlias grow tall in most areas. They will not remain upright without stakes and ties. Remember, put the tie loosely around the plant stalk and tightly around the stake. You do not want the cord to strangle the stalk. In the Northwest, dahlias tend to be shorter and may need less support. Most container or border dahlias can stand on their own.

Visit these links for more information and detailed instructions:

Good gardening,
Harry Rissetto
American Dahlia Society |