Dahlia has an amazing number of varieties. Dahlia varieties range in size from small to the gigantic and aptly named "dinner plate" varieties. The plant blooms go from simple to almost psychedelic in color and form and from tiny pompon with tightly geometric flowers to cactus varieties with flower petals with long, spidery tentacles. 

This plant makes luxurious cut flowers and as perennials they are normally planted in the ground. However depending on the size of the variety, the plant can also play the role of a thriller or filler plant in a mixed container. Most dahlias varieties bloom from mid-summer through fall in most areas, just expect your container dahlias plants to be without color until bloom time. The plant foliage can also provide a nice architectural structure in a mixed planting in a large pot.

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How to grow Dahlias in Pots

This plant grows well in pots, but you really need to be very careful not to let them repeatedly dry out. The plant will also need to be regularly fertilized during the growing season, and many will need to be staked so they don't fall over. The taller varieties need to be put in heavy pots, so that a stiff wind doesn't blow them over.


Dahlia tubers can be purchase online or in nurseries and in some big box stores. This plant comes in a huge range of flower size as well as plant size. If you are actually looking for enormous flowers, just look for "dinner plate" dahlias. If you are also looking for shorter plants you can look for miniatures, or "low growing" dahlias.


How to plant dahlias in Pots

If you actually live in a colder climate and you really want your dahlias plant to bloom earlier, you can plant the dahlias indoors about six weeks before the last frost. If actually plant them inside, it will be a good idea to provide supplemental lighting once the dahlias plant breaks through to the surface of the soil. In the area of lighting you can either use shop lights fitted with one cool and one warm fluorescent bulb or special "grow lights."​

If you are starting the dahlias plant in pots outside, make sure you wait until all danger of frost has passed or make sure you are ready to move your pot inside if frost is predicted.

For most dahlias varieties, you will need a fairly large pot, although it doesn't need to be very deep. Many varieties of dahlias do well in a 12- to 14-inch diameter pot which is also at least twelve inches deep. Just make sure the pot has a good drainage because the dahlias tubers will rot if left to sit in water.

Make sure you choose a good all-purpose fast-draining potting mix and then stir in a slow-release fertilizer. Try and follow the label for directions on quantity. This plant tubers can be a bit unwieldy and large, unless you are going to separate them, you will really need to be very careful when planting them in containers. Try and make sure that the potting mix surrounds all the parts of the plant tuber without leaving any air pockets, also make sure that the top of the plant is pointing upward. You have to mound a few inches of potting soil on the bottom of the pot, forming a little bit of a hill and then balance the plant tuber on the mound. After that carefully fill the potting soil around the tuber, make sure you firm it around the tuber gently to avoid breaking them. Most people also recommend layering the soil and slowly filling up the pot as the plant grows.


Dahlias care and maintenance

This plant likes full sun, although they don't like to get searingly hot. If you actually live in a warm climate or your pot is located in a hot spot (the pot is in a corner or on concrete where the surface gets hot) just move the pot into a shady spot during the heat of the day. 

Make sure you keep the soil moist but not wet. Most dahlias varieties will have to be staked so that they don't fall over. Although depending on the depth of your pot, a single stake might not do the tricks of holding up the dahlias plant, particularly in a stiff breeze. You can create a teepee out of bamboo, or, for a fuller plant, just pinch back the plant's growth in other to keep it bushier. For more flowers you can deadhead the plant regularly. 

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