Learn to look after dahlia varieties with extravagant blooms and colours
The dahlia can be teased with breeding into the most extraordinary forms. There are the the decorative and cactus dahlias with spiky double flowers, the near perfect spheres of the ball and pompom dahlias and the collerettes with their elaborate ruffs of petals. Then there are the dahlias that simply can't be classified.
Some petals have rolled in on themselves, creating tubes. 'Juul's Allstarr' is one, with yellow and pink petals, or pure red 'Marie Schnugg'.
Of the dahlias with unusual colour variations, 'Twyning's Smartie' is striking, with pink and white petals on the same flower.
Caring for Dahlias
- Dahlias grow in most soils and are happy in containers too.
- Make sure the soil has plenty of organic matter.
- They prefer a sunny spot but need to be kept at the roots throughout the growing season.
- Feed monthly and weekly when flower buds appear.
- Deadhead flowers regularly to ensure flowering continues into autumn.
- After the first frosts have wilted the foliage lift the tubers and invert somewhere dry for a couple of weeks. Store in just-damp compost somewhere cool but frost-free in the winter.