Red Hot Dahlias

‘Fiery’ hardly does justice to this cactus Dahlia.

Often seen as the preserve of competition growers Dahlias are hot and sexy again. I have just restarted the tubers I lifted last Autumn. I use large tubs in a frost free area until the danger of frost has passed. I can take cuttings from new growth and will get flowers in summer and new tubers.

Many suppliers and thus varieties are available at stockists.  Sarah Raven the gardening commentator is keen to promote the flowers for their intense, hot colours that they can bring to the garden. She is not far wrong and I increase the number of Dahlias I grow each year.

Sarah Raven Selection

  • Red Velvet a waterlily shaped flower in scarlet with a splash of yellow growing to about 3 feet.
  • Kenora Sunset 4’6″ of red orange flowers tipped with yellow as bright and guady as they come.
  • Arabian Night with dark crimson velvety petals from a heritage variety.
  • Alsregruss smaller than many at 2feet but a clear bright orange flower.
  • Rip City ands Autumn Luster are also recommended if you see the tubers.

Harewood Dahlia
Single deep red Dahlias often have dark reddish leaves which add attraction. Track down the various Bishops series.

Cut Flowers
Some Dahlias will not last beyond a day whilst other last a week. The selection above should be OK plus the pink Kathleen Alliance.
Sear the ends of dahlias in boiling water and do not use oasis.
Try using single blooms with short stems in coloured glasses or vases. You can also group the glasses together.
One bloom floating in a bowl like a waterlily can be a good center piece.

You may have guessed that I am keen on Dahlias for late summer colour. They will go on until the first couple of frosts when your favourite tubers can be lifted and dried off for winter. Those left in the ground may survive but I find they are later to come into full flower next year even if they avoid frost slugs and other pests.

Other Resources

Royal Horticultural Society RHS ‘Gardening for All’
National Council for Conservation of Plants and Gardens ‘Conservation through Cultivation.’
Garden Organic National Charity for Organic Gardening.
BBC Gardening
DAHLIA lynne


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