Growing Dahlias

Nuit D'ete Cactus DahliaNuit D'ete Cactus Dahlia
Nuit D'ete Cactus Dahlia

Growing Dahlias is easy. There are so many interesting and beautiful variations. They're almost addicting to grow, especially when you consider the ease of planting and the big return with months of spectacular blooms.

Native to Mexico, Dahlias are loved all over the world. We love to see them brightening up our summer gardens with a fiesta of color. Dahlias will add drama to any setting. Use them as a dramatic background for a perennial bed, or to fill in bare spots in a new garden bed.

Many people create a Dahlia garden to enjoy the splendor of flowers as they interact with each other, and to use for creating lovely cut flower bouquets. Follow our guide for simple planting and care instructions. Once you start growing them, it may be hard to stop! 

Tips For Planting Dahlias

Plant the Dahlia tubers in the spring when the danger of frost is past (soil should be 55-60 degrees).

Light: Grow Dahlias in full sun

Soil: Grow Dahlias in compost-enriched, well-drained soil. They are heavy feeders, so be sure to add both compost and an organic fertilizer. Some gardeners recommend a low nitrogen fertilizer (3-8-8 or similar). They also prefer a slightly acidic soil (around 6.5). A soil test can confirm if amending the soil ahead of planting may be a good idea.

TIP: Save your packaging when your Dahlias arrive so that you can easily label your Dahlia tubers when you dig them in the fall. (See After Season Care below.)

Cactus Dahlia and Swallowtail ButterflyCactus Dahlia and Swallowtail Butterfly
Cactus Dahlia and Swallowtail Butterfly

How To Plant Dahlias

  1. Once you’ve gotten your soil ready, working to a depth of 6-12 inches, the hard work is over.
  2. Following the recommendations for spacing on your packaging, dig holes for your tubers. For larger varieties, we recommend staking to support heavy flowers. See Staking Tips below.
  3. Plant 1-3 tubers per square foot minimum, just 1-2 inches deep. Lay Dahlia tubers on their side with the eyes facing up.
  4. If your soil is already moist, no need to water initially, otherwise, water the freshly planted tubers.
  5. It’s best to keep the tubers on the dry side until you see sprouts, then water deeply and regularly.

Staking Tips

Dahlias can be susceptible to wind, so keeping them somewhat protected is advised. Big Dahlias like ‘Parkland Glory’ need a wall or a couple of sturdy stakes to support them as they grow. The blooms are heavy and the stems can be somewhat delicate.

So plant two sturdy stakes when you plant your tubers. This way you can tie it to the stakes as it grows giving it plenty of support. The leaves of the plant will hide your stakes.

Growing Dahlias Flowers

As your plants grow they will produce many buds. If you want really big blooms, you could pinch lateral (side of the stem) buds off, letting the plant put its energy into fewer blooms. But, lots of flowers are fun, so no pinching is a fine way to go too. Fertilize monthly up until mid-August. When the blooms are spent, deadhead the plant to keep flowers coming.

Great as cut flowers, cut the stems long (12-18 inches) to stimulate new growth and of course, new flowers

Labyrinth Dinnerplate DahliaLabyrinth Dinnerplate Dahlia
Labyrinth Dinnerplate Dahlia

After Season Care For Dahlia Tubers

Over the years, the tubers will multiply, giving you more to plant and share with friends. 

Dahlias are hardy in zones 8-10, so no special care is needed for an easy-to-grow perennial plant in these warm zones.

In colder areas, zones 3-7, Dahlia tubers will not survive the winter. So, you'll need to dig or pull the roots, just before or after, the first frost. (Or, if digging and saving the tubers sounds like too much work, you can just treat them as annuals and plant fresh tubers every spring.)

Dahlia TubersDahlia Tubers
Dahlia Tubers

How To Dig & Store Dahlia Tubers

  1. Cut off the stems
  2. Dig wide around the plant to dig up the tubers.
  3. Clean the tubers, dry them, and store them in a paper bag with sawdust. Alternatively place clean, dry, healthy tubers in a cardboard box or bushel basket on a bed of vermiculite, cover with an inch or two, leaving the stem exposed.
  4. Be sure to label your tubers! Keeping a photo with the tubers will remind you what you are planting next spring. TIP: Save your packaging when your Dahlias arrive so that you can easily label your Dahlia tubers when you dig them in the fall.
  5. Store in a dark, cool, and dry place until spring planting time.

Shop Dahlias

  1. Penhill Dark Monarch Dinner Plate Dahlia, Pink Blooms

    ‘Penhill Dark Monarch’ Dahlia awakens the senses with luscious dusky plum petals. One of the most popular Dinnerplate Dahlias, it has ruffled petals in deep rose, raspberry, and ...

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    Penhill Dark Monarch Dinnerplate Dahlia Penhill Dark Monarch Dinnerplate Dahlia Dinnerplate Dahlia Penhill Dark Monarch
    Regular Price $17.99 Sale $16.19
    Per Bag of 3
    You save: 10%
    ‘Penhill Dark Monarch’ Dahlia awakens the senses with luscious dusky plum petals. One of the most popular Dinnerplate Dahlias, it has ruffled petals in deep rose, raspberry, and buttermilk that bloom well into fall - brightening the garden just when summer’s flowers begin to fade. Dramatic 10-12” flowers make beautiful cut flowers or a garden focal point. Place in the back of a border or in front of tall ornamental grasses for a dramatic effect.
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  2. Dahlia Fairway Spur, Fairway Spur Dahlia

    ‘Fairway Spur’ Dahlia knocks it out of the ballpark with rosy apricot petals that dance in the summer sun. These elegant “dinnerplate” blossoms up to 10” wide will make you...

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    Fairway Spur Dinnerplate Dahlia Fairway Spur Dinnerplate Dahlia Dinnerplate Dahlia Fairway Spur
    Regular Price $17.99 Sale $16.19
    Per Bag of 3
    You save: 10%
    ‘Fairway Spur’ Dahlia knocks it out of the ballpark with rosy apricot petals that dance in the summer sun. These elegant “dinnerplate” blossoms up to 10” wide will make your summer garden glow, and enhance any garden color scheme, all the way to fall. Plentiful blooms make great cut flowers, so be sure to plant plenty for irresistible bouquets!
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  3. Cactus Dahlia Nuit D'ete, Nuit D'ete Cactus Dahlia

    ‘Nuit D’Ete’ Cactus Dahlia packs a punch with dramatic scarlet flowers, cartwheeling like fireworks through the garden. Wake up your flower bed with these prolific flowers – ...

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    Nuit D'ete Cactus Dahlia Nuit D'ete Cactus Dahlia Cactus Dahlia Nuit D'ete
    Regular Price $17.99 Sale $16.19
    Per Bag of 3
    You save: 10%
    ‘Nuit D’Ete’ Cactus Dahlia packs a punch with dramatic scarlet flowers, cartwheeling like fireworks through the garden. Wake up your flower bed with these prolific flowers – the 5” blooms are just as elegant in your garden as they are in your vase. Good news: the more you cut them, the more blossoms you will have, so be sure to plant plenty for beautiful bouquets. Pollinator and bee-friendly and excellent for cut flowers.
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  4. Dahlia Rip City, Rip City Dahlia

    ‘Rip City’ Dahlia sports sultry burgundy blossoms that deepen to an almost black center, setting off the summer garden with dramatic flair. The bold reds of the velvety 4-6" flow...

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    Rip City Dahlia Rip City Dahlia Dahlia Rip City
    Regular Price $17.99 Sale $16.19
    Per Bag of 3
    You save: 10%
    ‘Rip City’ Dahlia sports sultry burgundy blossoms that deepen to an almost black center, setting off the summer garden with dramatic flair. The bold reds of the velvety 4-6" flowers glow against its deep green foliage. An exceptional bloomer and pollinator favorite, ‘Rip City’ will bloom from mid-summer to frost keeping your garden and vase full of luscious flowers.
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  5. Myrtle’s Folly Dahlia

    Myrtle’s Folly Dahlia knocks it out of the park with stunning shades of peach, apricot and raspberry. Like a summer sunset, Myrtle’s Folly is a unique and beautiful addition to a...

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    Myrtle's Folly Dahlia Myrtle's Folly Dahlia Dahlia Myrtle's Folly
    Regular Price $17.99 Sale $16.19
    Per Bag of 3
    You save: 10%
    Myrtle’s Folly Dahlia knocks it out of the park with stunning shades of peach, apricot and raspberry. Like a summer sunset, Myrtle’s Folly is a unique and beautiful addition to a summer garden, blooming from mid-summer to first frost.
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  6. Stars of the Garden Dahlia Collection

    With three cactus-type Dahlias, our collection will make you smile with delight as the spikey, fringy, swirly petals create a kaleidoscope of color. Plant them together or sprinkle t...

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    Stars of the Garden Dahlia Collection Stars of the Garden Dahlia Collection
    Regular Price $49.97 Sale $47.47
    Per Collection of 9
    You save: 5%
    With three cactus-type Dahlias, our collection will make you smile with delight as the spikey, fringy, swirly petals create a kaleidoscope of color. Plant them together or sprinkle them throughout the garden, they keep you happy all summer long. Includes 3 bulbs each of Tahiti Sunrise Semi Cactus Dahlia (6” flowers, 30” tall), Hollyhill Spider Woman Cactus Dahlia (6" flowers, 36” tall and Karma Corona Semi Cactus Dahlia (8” flowers, 36-40” tall). Total of 9 Dahlia bulbs. Dahlias like full sun and compost enriched, well-drained soil. Plant them together or apart, our collection is a great way to get started with Dahlias or to freshen up an existing collection. Total of 9 bulbs."
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  7. White Wedding Flower Collection, White Calla, Cafe Au Lait Dahlia, Tuberose

    You don’t need a wedding to plant the White Wedding Flower Collection, a sumptuous sampler of our most beautiful light-toned flowers: ‘Café Au Lait’ Dinnerplate Dahlia, Calla ...

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    White Wedding Flower Bulb Collection White Wedding Flower Collection
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    You don’t need a wedding to plant the White Wedding Flower Collection, a sumptuous sampler of our most beautiful light-toned flowers: ‘Café Au Lait’ Dinnerplate Dahlia, Calla Lily Albomaculata, and Double Tuberose (The Pearl). Each one is a star on its own in the garden, and in combination as cut flowers, they make sensational fragrant arrangements. You’ll get 3 bulbs of each of these three selections, which are easy-care beauties that will light up the summer garden with their stately presence.
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  8. Tried & True Dinnerplate Dahlia Collection

    Tried & True Dinnerplate Dahlia Collection is composed of three favorite Dahlias with dinner-plate sized blooms that just shout out big color. Thomas Edison, Kelvin Floodlight and Ba...

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    Tried & True Dinnerplate Dahlia Collection Tried & True Dinnerplate Dahlia Collection
    Regular Price $48.97 Sale $46.52
    Per Collection of 9
    You save: 5%
    Tried & True Dinnerplate Dahlia Collection is composed of three favorite Dahlias with dinner-plate sized blooms that just shout out big color. Thomas Edison, Kelvin Floodlight and Babylon Red Dahlias are all are classic favorites and will provide abundant 6-10" flowers. Blooming from mid-summer to frost, they will provide bright, beautiful cut flowers and light up the garden. Collection of three varieties, 9 bulbs (tubers) total.
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