Dear Dahlia, Until We Meet Again

I am sad to say that my dahlias are up and ready to be packed away for the winter. I hate to see them go but our traditionally wet weather in winter is not good for them. Many people leave them in the ground and have success. That may be okay in a dry protected area but mine were growing in an area that could be under water in winter. Considering each plant cost $5 to buy and I have 25 of them I would rather be cautious.

Dear Dahlia, Until We Meet Again

Each month the local South Delta Evergreen Garden club has a show and share table so I cut a few bouquets to take to the meeting. Above is Dahlia ‘Park Princess’ with its light pink blooms, Dahlia ‘Ferncliff Duo’ in the purple and white and an unknown red dahlia in behind.
Dear Dahlia, Until We Meet Again

I love the Dahlia ‘Ferncliff Duo’. It thrived in its new home so much it grew taller than any stakes could hold. It reached about 6.5 feet high and was prone to breaking during a wind storm. It  recovered from the storm and continued to bloom all season.

Dear Dahlia, Until We Meet Again

This large red Dahlia is one I bought at an online garage sale. I love surprises! I knew it would be red but this is really red and the blooms are large. It will definitely get a prominent spot in next years garden.

Dear dahlia, Until We Meet Again

The orange beauty is Dahlia ‘Mango Sunset’, one of the most prolific bloomers.  The yellow dahlia in back is a very large-flowered dahlia called ‘Yellow Passion’.

Dear dahlia, Until We Meet Again

This is a closeup of Dahlia ‘Mango Sunset’ and its petals. I like the cactus dahlias with their rolled petals. Have you seen bees on this type? They crawl inside each petal tunnel to get at pollen deep inside.

Dear Dahlia, Until We Meet Again

When I bought this at the online garage sale it was listed as a red pom-pom dahlia. Its more of a deep reddish-purple than a true red. It has small 2″ flowers with few flowers but I think that will change. It was a very tiny tuber when I got it and when I took it out of the ground it was huge. Often a new dahlia just needs time to grow bigger.  Thanks to the great soil and full sun of this garden, every plant thrived.

Dear Dahlia, Until We Meet Again

I packed way too many plants in this space but as you can see I still had lots of flowers last week. It was so full I couldn’t get in to weed and when I pulled the dahlias up, no weeds were seen. I guess shading out the ground with so many plants helped. I saw one piece of horsetail that couldn’t get any taller than a foot high. I have been told the trick with horsetail is to use plants that are taller than it. Shading it out is a good thing.

Dear Dahlia, Until We Meet Again

Next year I will plant the dahlias here again. The collarette dahlias like this ‘Alpen Cherub’ attracted the bees and that helped with pollination in the nearby vegetable garden.

Dear Dahlia, Until We Meet Again

With a mix of rainy and sunny days I decided to lift the Dahlias so they could dry off properly. I have them labeled and on plant trays in the mini greenhouse during rainy days and sitting in the sun on nice days. It’s so important to remove as much soil as you can before storage. You want to be sure you aren’t bringing any pests or disease in with the tubers. As they dry I work out the soil between the tubers using my fingers.

Dear Dahlia, Until We Meet Again

I used leftover plant labels, a one hole punch and a sharpie to label each tuber. I have to confess I have five new Dahlias arriving next spring. I think I need to enlarge the dahlia garden, don’t you? Since this area of the property is quite wet in the winter its great for annual flowers and dahlias, maybe even a lily or two.

For information on how to store your dahlias, check out post below. Going forward I will be trying out new ways to store my Dahlias. Using peat moss has worked for years but it’s not sustainable. I may try using shredded paper or the shavings used in guinea pig cages. Even our horse shavings may work, The idea is to keep them moist but not wet as you don’t want the tubers to shrivel up. It’s good to check on the dahlia tubers every four to six weeks to make sure they are storing well.

Putting the Dahlias Away for Winter

Remember those dahlias I grew from seed in the spring. You can read about how to collect seed below.

How to Collect Dahlia Seed

Well, they produced a small tuber this year. Yea, more plants! This was only a 12″ high plant this year but it should become full size next year.  I will definitely have to share some of these in the spring since I have so many of this kind. I had hoped to cross the Dahlia ‘Alpen Cherub’ with another collarette type but life got too busy. Maybe next year.

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