Dahlias are the darlings of every cut-flower garden. The beautiful blossoms come in a variety of sizes and colors, and when cut they keep their good looks for a week or longer. Plus, their strong stems make them easy to arrange.
When choosing which dahlias to plant, look for versatile colors that work with your décor. And, though huge dinner-plate dahlias are fun in the garden, the best dahlias for bouquets have small- to medium-size blossoms.
Grow Dahlias for Long-lasting Bouquets:
- Plant dahlias when the weather is warm. Dig individual planting holes in a sunny spot 18” apart. Loosen soil 1’ deep. Mix in a 1” layer of compost and 1/2 cup bone meal or bulb fertilizer.
- Plant tubers horizontally, about 4” deep. If several small tubers are attached, spread them out in a circle. Cover with 4” of loose soil.
- Water lightly.
- Install a small, lightweight tomato cage or other support when green shoots appear. Dahlias grow into big, robust plants with plenty of foliage to hide the cage.
- Fertilize when plants are 12” tall with a bulb fertilizer.
- Prune dahlias for bouquets when the blossoms are at least halfway open. Place cut stems in 3” of very hot water and allow to cool before arranging your garden-grown dahlias.
Mulching is optional, especially in moist climates where mulches provide habitat for slugs, one of the few pests that bother dahlias.