Dahlias - my learnings and thoughts

I really love dahlias, but I’m new to them. I've been doing some research on how and when to dig them up and propagate them. I thought I’d share my thoughts and plans.

Last year, I had a range of dahlias growing in the veggie patch. They did well, but they didn’t like the western sun. I’m going to move them and the best thing about dahlias, apart from the flowers, is they can be easily propagated. I really like how amazing they look en masse and would like to keep a selection growing in a dedicated spot. Im yet to work out where yet. I’ve got a little while to work that out and then prepare garden beds. I will propagate some others and scatter them and use as fillers on the garden beds with salvia, sedum, agastache and roses. 

The veggie patch soil is fairly well draining, so I won’t dig up and divide until Spring.

In the areas that are heavier clay, I’ll dig the dahlias up in winter and divide them and store them until they start getting shoots. Then I will plant in their new spots. 

Key learnings

What dahlias like:

    • Morning sun and afternoon shade
    • Lots of water (this is why I had them in the veggie patch)
    • To be watered at ground level. The sprinkler spoils their developing blooms. This year I’m going to set them up with brown irrigation line
    • Well drained soil.
    • Liquid fertilizer - I use seasol

Managing the ones in Heavy soil

    • Once they die off, dig up with a pitch fork and divide. I’ll this in winter. They might rot in the heavy, soggy soil.
    • Store away from mice etc. 
    • Label the ones I know the names of!

Managing the ones in well draining soil

    • Dig up and divide in spring, once they develop some growth. Replant directly into their new spot in the garden. 

Preparing garden bed

I’ll turn over some soil, then add compost and manure. Top with some Lucerne mulch and leave for a few months to breakdown before planting.

Favourite varieties 

  • Cafe au lait
  • 'Clara Thora'
  • 'Earl'
  • 'Burgundy Ball'
  • 'Anne's Delight'
  • 'Joy Burkitt'
  • 'Candy'

Instagram accounts worth following

- Floret Flower

Tilla Winston Flowers

- Come by Chance Flower Co

- Dahlia Society of Victoria 

Where to buy

  • Diggers
  • Garden Express
  • Tresselar