Featured Plant

Dahlia

The National Garden Bureau has named 2019 the Year of the Dahlia! Native dahlias are found in the mountains of Mexico and Guatemala and the dahlia is a national flower of Mexico. The dahlia is a genus of plants that are members of the Asteraceae family, which also includes the sunflower, daisy, chrysanthemum, and zinnia. This beautiful flower comes in a wide variety of colours that can brighten up any home garden!

Dahlias are relatively simple to grow in home gardens. Dahlias can typically be purchased as pre-potted plants, or as bare root tubers. The root looks similar to a sweet potato, and tubers that appear wrinkled or rotten should be avoided. 

Dahlia tubers should be planted in a location with full sun, and some protection from the wind. Dahlias will struggle in cold soil, so don’t plant until any risk of spring frost has passed. When planting, spread the tubers nine to 12 inches apart, and dig the planting hole slightly larger than the root of the plant, about six to eight inches deep. The tubers should be placed into the hole with the eyes facing up, and cover with two to three inches of soil. Typically, dahlias should start to bloom about eight weeks after planting. 

Gardeners should be careful to not over water dahlia tubers, as this can cause rot. Unless rainfall is less than one inch per week, resist watering until the first shoots appear, then once established, provide a deep watering two to three times a week. Dahlias will benefit from regular fertilization throughout the early and middle season. 

At the end of the season, dahlias are beautiful as cut flowers, or they can be stored over winter. To save your dahlias, gently dig up the tubers and allow them to air dry for a few days while protected from rain and frost. Trim back the stems to one inch and gently place them into pots or bins filled with sand. Store the containers in a cool, dark place and check regularly to make sure they’re not getting too wet or dry. 

Find dahlias in the English Garden at Assiniboine Park!

Sources: National Garden Bureau | The Old Farmer's Almanac | Longfield Gardens 
 
dahlia interior