is a flowering plant from Mexico. Genus of about 30, 000 species with some 20, 000 cultivars.
Plants come in a wide array of sizes/ forms from as low
as 12 inches to as tall as 6-8 feet with flowers ranging
from half-inch to giant sizes. The blooms are curvaceous, spiky
with single or double forms. Colours range from white to red, orange to yellow, pink to dark purple and shades thereof.
Dahlias last long as cut flowers.
Dahlias can be annuals which flower the first
year from seed or perennials which take longer to mature and flower. It is easy
to grow except in cold conditions or extreme hot dry weather.
Propagation and Planting
Dahlias can propagate or multiply from
seeds, root division or cuttings. Single-flowered dahlias produce lots of seed.
It is from seed that new varieties are produced. Seeds can be sown 1/2 inch deep
in a well drained medium in a container, indoors or outdoors (in warm regions)
usually during March/April. They need moist
soil and indirect light. The seeds will sprout in 7-21 days. When the sprouts have
two or more sets of true leaves (about five weeks) transplant them to three-inch pots and plant
To obtain a same variety of a particular dahlia, propagation should be done
by cuttings or tuberous roots. Perennial dahlias are generally purchased
as tuberous roots. Annuals, form tuberous roots the first year. These tuberous roots can be saved
for use next year. In March or April divide the
clumps of the tuberous roots with a sharp knife and take care that each division
has a part of the crown that has a bud. The tubers can
be planted horizontally with the eye upward (the new growth bud) 3 to 4 inches deep in light soil or sand and should be spaced 6 to 36 inches apart depending on the ultimate size of the
plant. For tall plants, once the plant attains sufficient height, it can be secured
loosely to a stake so that it stands steady.
Dahlias can be
propagated from cuttings to increase the number of plants. When the third or fourth set of leaves forms,
plant the cuttings in
clean, moist sand. In 2 or 3 weeks, the cuttings will root and you can replant
them in pots or in the garden.
A light loose
sandy soil with organic matter i.e., manure or peat moss or bone meal or by
refuse such as leaves etc is the ideal medium for planting Dahlias. Dahlias need full sun and appreciate steady moisture and regular feedings until the flowers start to appear.
Watering deeply once a week or everyday in hot weather should be ideal. A fertilizer
in the ratio 0-20-20 can be applied around the
hole where each tuber is planted. The plant may take 6 -to 8 weeks before any growth becomes visible above ground level.
Pruning and disbudding is necessary if good blooms are to be grown.
For a bushier plant, pinch out the growing shoot after plants have produced 4 to 6 pairs of good, strong leaves. A number of buds will appear at the top of the stems. To get maximum sized flowers, some of these buds should be pinched out. If only one bud is allowed to develop, the largest possible
flower will be produced.
It takes about 6 weeks from the time buds are removed until another series of buds is formed and about three weeks longer for the buds to open.