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Yard MD blog: Dahlia power

Fall-blooming giants offer striking color

Oct. 7, 2013
 
Dahlias bloom in many different forms and in every color of the rainbow. Enjoy their show this fall. ROB ZIMMER/Post-Crescent Media.
Dahlias bloom in many different forms and in every color of the rainbow. Enjoy their show this fall. ROB ZIMMER/Post-Crescent Media. / Rob Zimmer/ Post-Crescent Media

At the end of the season, it is the dahlias that put on a spectacular fall show, for gardeners who have the patience enough to grow them, that is. Because dahlias bloom so late in the season, many gardeners give up before they have had a chance to bloom, cleaning up their large, bushy foliage even before the plant has had a chance to put on its stunning display.

True dinnerplate dahlias, those with flowers that can reach 8-10” across or more, are now in bloom, towering on 4-5 foot stalks strong enough to support these massive flowers.

Dahlias come in a variety of flower forms, including sphere-shaped flowers, spidery “cactus” dahlias, water-lily dahlias that bloom in layers of color, and single flowers.

Dahlias come in every color of the rainbow, as well as in colorful blends of two or more colors. From near-black to snow white and every color in between, dahlias are among the most versatile garden flowers there are.

To help your dahlia produce the largest flowers possible, snip off side shoots and buds that appear along the main stem during late summer and fall. This will force the plant to focus on producing fewer, but larger flowers.

Once hit by heavy frost, the foliage will quickly brown and die back. If you are interested in saving your dahlia tubers for next year, dig them up within a few days of frost, allow to dry in the sun for a few weeks, then store in a cool, dry place such as a basement for the winter.

— Rob Zimmer: 920-993-1000, ext. 7154, yardmd@postcrescent.com; on Twitter @YardMD

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