Name: Dahlia varieties.
Type of Plant: An annual that grows from tubers. A heat-lover from Mexico. There are many varieties from short to medium and tall.
Why I love this plant: The clear colors of a dahlia flower are beautiful no matter what type or size of flower you’re growing. Plant a single tuber in late-May and you’ll have dozens of flowers to cut from August until hard frost.
These are a must-grow plant for anyone who likes cut flowers and bouquets. They are perfect for bunches of flowers that you give away to friends, family or total strangers.
A Word to the Wise: In some areas dahlia foliage is a gourmet meal for earwigs. If you have earwigs in your garden, the way to deal with this is to dust with diatomaceous earth as soon as the dahlias come up, or when you plant potted plants that are already leafed out. Don’t dust right before a rain as the water makes the DE ineffective. But aside from that, I’ve found that one dusting early on is sufficient to control the earwigs while the dahlias get up and running. Once they are larger, leaner and meaner, they aren’t as vulnerable to this otherwise beneficial insect.
Plant dahlias at the same time you’d plant tomatoes or peppers – once the nighttime temperatures are reliably above 50 degrees. I scatter a mix of an organic fertilizer such as Plant-tone with a time release such as Osmocote – equal parts, over the area after the hole for the tuber has been dug. Some of this mix gets into the hole and the rest on the surface of the soil around where the plant will grow. Plant a tuber four to six inches down. Put a stake in for supporting taller varieties either just before you put the tuber in place or right afterwards when you still are sure that stake won’t be going into the tuber itself.