Dahlias are my favourite flower and this year is the first year I’ve grown them. There’s named varieties from tubers, some started in containers in the greenhouse in February which are now in flower (the rest were planted in the ground in early May), and some from the seeds that Maureen sent to me. Whilst I’ve left a few of the plants to their own devices you have to be cruel to be kind to get the best out of these super plants. By pinching out the central stem, and others if you’re growing from tubers, a process known as “stopping”, this switches the plants energy from producing buds to concentrate on new growth from the leaf axils. Although you’ll need to wait longer for them you get twice as many!
So I now have the best of both worlds, a few early flowers to admire and some plants bulking up nicely for later in the season. With careful watering, mulching and staking I should have a cracking display through August and September. Fingers crossed.
This one is Babylon Bronze which is a lovely apricot colour and quite a large flower.
This one is labelled as Bristol Stripe and has a deep purple colour, although it doesn’t seem to match the photos of this variety on the net. I’ll wait for some more flowers to appear but it looks to be a different variety than the label.
Japenese variety, Atika, is my favourite so far.
The ones I’ve grown from seed are much smaller plants but have pretty little flowers in a variety of colours.
There’s another dozen or so varieties to come into flower and I’m looking forward to a great display of blooms over the next few weeks.