To prolong the stunning blooms of your dahlias, it’s crucial to provide them with adequate care and attention. In this article, you’ll find valuable tips on how to keep your dahlias bursting with color throughout the entire season.

The allure of dahlias is not something that happens overnight. It may have started when a neighbor shared some tubers with you last spring, and you decided to plant them along the fence. Or perhaps you stumbled upon a captivating article about growing dahlias on a gardening website, and that inspired you to give them a try.

Once you witness the arrival of the blooming flowers and experience the excitement of these long-lasting, captivating garden stars, you’ll find yourself yearning for more. You’ll also want to sustain that thrill for as long as possible.

A flourishing and vibrant dahlia garden can easily make you the envy of anyone who visits your garden. Follow these steps for selecting, planting, maintaining, and storing dahlia plants, and you’ll likely enjoy a continuous display of beautiful blooms until the very end.


While purchasing dahlias directly from a grower may come at a slightly higher cost, it often guarantees the most exquisite flowers from one of the most visually appealing flowering plant varieties. Seek out reputable farms that specialize in dahlias and are known for providing healthy, disease-free stock. Engage in garden forums, read customer reviews, and gather recommendations for well-established dahlia cultivars that align with your space, height, and color preferences. Investing a little time in upfront research will significantly contribute to bringing your dahlia dreams to fruition.

Hamari gold

Giant Decorative bred by Ensum, UK (1984)

Avoid waiting until the snow melts to begin searching for delivery options. By then, it may already be too late. To ensure spring delivery and preserve the quality of your tubers, place your order before the holidays and store them in a cool, dry location until planting time. If your budget permits, consider purchasing established dahlia roots instead of seeds. They offer a more reliable starting point and increase your chances of success.

If your sudden fascination with dahlias has caught you off guard and spring has already arrived, there’s no need to worry. Look out for garden club plant sales and dahlia society events as they can provide good options for purchasing. Additionally, your local nursery is likely to carry a selection of dahlia varieties, either as roots or established plants. Big box stores also tend to offer a few options worth exploring. While the dahlias you find might not be as spectacular as those obtained from a grower, the prices will be more affordable. So, taking this route could be a gamble worth considering.


To ensure the health and vitality of your dahlias, it’s important to provide them with nutrient-rich, well-drained soil that has a slightly acidic pH. If you’re proactive, start preparing your dahlia beds in the autumn by incorporating ample amounts of compost and organic matter into the soil. You can use materials such as grass clippings, shredded newspaper, peat moss, and dead leaves to promote the presence of beneficial microorganisms and improve soil aeration. The goal is to create crumbly soil that drains efficiently, avoiding the formation of puddles.


In addition, it’s recommended to test the pH level of your soil if you haven’t done so already. Since dahlias thrive in slightly acidic soil, you may need to incorporate lime into the mix if your soil pH is low. On the other hand, if your soil has a more alkaline pH, adding a small amount of peat moss or sulfate can help adjust it accordingly. Testing and adjusting the soil pH will create an optimal environment for your dahlias to flourish.

Lastly, apply a layer of mulch, about 2-3 inches thick, to the soil surface. Be cautious not to pile the mulch around the stems of the dahlias. This protective layer of mulch serves two purposes: it insulates the ground, helping to regulate soil temperature, and it helps prevent surface moisture from evaporating too quickly. By applying mulch, you can create a favorable microclimate for your dahlias and promote soil moisture retention.

plan ahead

Careful planning is crucial when it comes to planting dahlias. While they thrive in sunny conditions, excessive sunlight can be detrimental. To ensure successful planting, it is essential to consider key factors such as the ideal location, timing, planting depth, and spacing requirements for each flower. Let’s examine each of these important aspects in detail to ensure careful and precise planting of your dahlias.


To ensure vibrant and abundant blooms, it is crucial not to plant dahlias when the roots are still frozen or the soil is mushy. Wait until all risk of frost has passed before planting them. Determine the average date of the last freezing temperatures in your region by checking your hardiness zone, and add a couple of weeks for safety. It’s important for the soil temperature to remain consistently around 15 degrees Celsius. Northern gardeners can typically plant tubers safely in late September or October, while those in Southern regions will need to exercise patience and wait until at least the end of November, or possibly longer, before planting their dahlias.

Everyone can however start their Dahlia’s inside in pots and move them out or into their garden beds when the weather warms up.


For dahlias to bloom splendidly, they require ample sunlight. Select a planting location that receives a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight each day, ensuring it is free from obstructions such as tree limbs or shadows. If you must choose between morning sun and afternoon sun, prioritize a spot that receives morning sunlight. Considering that dahlias can grow tall and become vulnerable to snapping in strong winds, it’s beneficial to position them on the North side of a fence or garage, which provides optimal protection.


Take careful note of your dahlia’s projected height and width, and dig a hole that is 6-8 inches deep. Place the tuber in the hole with its eyes facing upward. If the sprouts have already emerged and are taller than 6 inches, loosely fill the hole with soil until it reaches ground level. If the eyes have not sprouted yet, fill the hole loosely with 2-3 inches of soil, and as the new growth exceeds ground level, continue filling the hole gradually until it is completely filled. This method ensures proper planting depth for your dahlias.


Proper spacing between dahlia tubers is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it allows each plant to have sufficient access to sunlight, air circulation, and nutrients from the soil. This prevents overcrowding, which can lead to stunted growth and increased susceptibility to diseases.

The specific spacing requirements depend on the cultivar and its growth habits. Smaller and dwarf varieties generally require spacing of about 1 to 2 feet, while larger or more vigorous varieties may need spacing of 2 to 3 feet or even more. It’s important to refer to the specific recommendations provided by the dahlia cultivar or consult gardening resources for guidance on the optimal spacing for your particular dahlias.

Adequate spacing also facilitates maintenance tasks such as watering, fertilizing, and inspecting the plants for pests or diseases. It enables you to access the plants easily and promotes good airflow, which helps to prevent the development of fungal diseases that thrive in damp, stagnant conditions.

By providing proper spacing between your dahlia tubers, you create an environment that encourages healthy growth, reduces the risk of diseases, and allows each plant to reach its full potential, resulting in a stunning and vibrant dahlia display in your garden.

plant support – stakes 

Unless you are planting the smallest dwarf varieties, it is essential to provide adequate support for dahlias to withstand wind, rain, and the weight of their blooms. At the time of planting, choose a cane or stake that matches the anticipated mature height of your dahlia variety. Drive the stake firmly into the ground, about 4 inches away from the root.


Regularly inspect your dahlias for new growth, which typically occurs from the top of the plant. Use garden ties or cloth strips to carefully secure the stems to the stake, ensuring they are not constricted or inhibited in their growth. It’s important to check on a regular basis to ensure that the ties are not becoming too tight or hindering the plant’s development. Adjust the ties as necessary to accommodate the growth of the dahlias.

Staking your dahlias provides vital support and prevents them from bending, breaking, or leaning excessively. By properly securing the stems to the stakes, you can help your dahlias grow upright and maintain their overall shape, ensuring a stunning and healthy display of blooms.

Staking is an important practice for many types of plants, including dahlias, to provide support and prevent damage caused by wind, rain, or the weight of the blooms. Here are some additional considerations and techniques for successful staking:

  1. Staking materials: Choose stakes or canes that are sturdy and durable. Bamboo stakes, metal rods, or wooden stakes are commonly used options. Ensure the stakes are long enough to match the mature height of the dahlia variety.

  2. Staking timing: It’s best to stake dahlias at the time of planting or shortly after. This allows for easier insertion of the stakes without disturbing the root system of the plants.

  3. Stake placement: Position the stake about 4 inches away from the base of the dahlia plant, driving it firmly into the ground. This helps anchor the stake securely and provides stability.

  4. Tying techniques: Use soft garden ties, such as twine or cloth strips, to secure the stems to the stakes. Avoid using materials that may cut or damage the plant, such as wire or plastic ties. Start tying the stems to the stake as soon as they are long enough, usually a few inches in height. Tie the stems loosely, allowing room for growth and movement.

  5. Regular monitoring: Regularly check the growth of your dahlias and adjust the ties as necessary. As the plants grow taller, you may need to reposition the ties or add additional ties along the stem to provide continuous support. Make sure the ties are not too tight, as they can constrict the stems and hinder growth.

  6. Hidden staking methods: If you prefer a more discreet look, you can use hidden staking methods. This involves placing stakes around the perimeter of the dahlia bed or using a cage-like structure to provide support. The plants grow through the openings in the stakes or cage, providing a natural-looking support system.

By staking your dahlias properly, you help maintain their upright form, protect them from damage, and showcase their blooms to their full potential. Regular monitoring and adjustments throughout the growing season will ensure that the stakes provide effective support while allowing the plants to grow and thrive.

How & Why to Pinch Your Dahlias

Pinching or “topping” young dahlias is a beneficial practice that results in stronger, bushier plants with an abundance of flowers. This technique applies to all types of dahlias, including border dahlias, decoratives, and dinnerplates.

Timing: The ideal time to pinch is when the plant reaches approximately 10″ in height and has at least 4 sets of leaves on the central stalk. This stage of rapid growth allows the plant to recover quickly from pinching.

Procedure: Locate the uppermost sprout on the main stem and carefully remove it with your fingers or scissors. Take care not to damage the stem or nearby leaves. Refer to the image on the left for visual guidance.

Benefits: By removing the terminal bud, the plant’s lateral buds, located lower on the stem, are stimulated to develop into new stems. Instead of one shoot, the plant will generate two shoots at the point where the sprout was removed.

Pinching temporarily redirects the plant’s energy toward producing stems and leaves rather than focusing on bud development. While it may delay flowering by an additional week or two, the results are well worth it. Your plants will grow stronger, fuller, and easier to manage. The increased number of growth points will yield a greater abundance of flowers, providing enjoyment well into October.

Additionally, during the summer and early fall when your dahlias are in full bloom, cutting flowers for bouquets has a similar beneficial effect as pinching. It promotes bushier growth and stimulates further bud production. Regularly removing spent flowers, or deadheading, serves the same purpose and helps maintain the plants’ aesthetic appearance.